Flash Professional CS5: Animation Projects
Illustration by John Hersey

Animating along a path


From:

Flash Professional CS5: Animation Projects

with Paul Trani

Video: Animating along a path

One of the things that I like most about using the motion tween is the motion path that you're given. The great thing about this motion path is that it can be edited. And that's what I want to do with this fish here. This is the fish animation movie clip, so I'm going to double-click on it, and inside there, you'll see this motion path. And currently this fish just travels at a straight line. Not very appealing and not very natural either, so what I want to do is just add a curve to this line.

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Watch the Online Video Course Flash Professional CS5: Animation Projects
2h 31m Intermediate Sep 15, 2010

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In Flash Professional CS5: Animation Projects, Paul Trani shows how to create dynamic and visually rich animations in Flash Professional CS5. This course demonstrates how to create and import assets, and then take those assets and bring them to life with dynamic motion. It also shows how to create more unique and natural movement by adding special effects, 3D, masks, and even bones to animate characters. Exercise files accompany the course.

Topics include:
  • Creating graphics and reusable assets
  • Importing graphics
  • Making an object move
  • Animating a mask
  • Using and customizing motion presets
  • Morphing shapes
  • Animating in 3D
  • Adding bones to a character
  • Controlling the Timeline with ActionScript
  • Randomizing content
Subject:
3D + Animation
Software:
Flash Professional Illustrator
Author:
Paul Trani

Animating along a path

One of the things that I like most about using the motion tween is the motion path that you're given. The great thing about this motion path is that it can be edited. And that's what I want to do with this fish here. This is the fish animation movie clip, so I'm going to double-click on it, and inside there, you'll see this motion path. And currently this fish just travels at a straight line. Not very appealing and not very natural either, so what I want to do is just add a curve to this line.

First thing I'm going to do, just to make the line easier to see, is I can double-click on the color here, which represents the color of that motion path, and in Layer Properties, I can just change this to something easier to see, such as a blue. Select OK and now we can see that dark blue line. So again, I'm just going to select my Selection tool. I'm going to make sure that line isn't currently selected, because all I need to do is just roll over it, and then I'm given this icon that's this curve the line.

And that allows me to take and curve out that line, so I can curve this motion path any way I want. In fact, let's have the fish kind of dip down like that. Pretty dramatic dip. But in general, I can hit the Enter key, and we can watch that fish follow that path. Pretty nice and pretty easy to do. In fact, what I can do is I can use the Subselection tool and select either end point. And as I select an end point, I'm given these Bezier points.

So I can manipulate those Bezier points if I want that sort of control. And this might be more of what I'm after, which is this fish kind of traveling at this sort of angle like a wave. So again, I'll just hit the Enter key, and we can watch it follow that path. You might want to actually just start from scratch and draw your own motion path. Well, you can do that. And that's what I'm going to do now. I'm going to create a new layer. And using the Pen tool, I'm going to go ahead and draw a line.

So the Pen tool is selected. I'm just going to draw a black line, kind of like that, pretty unique, these sort of low, and then this really high points, but roughly I've just drawn out this wave with my Pen tool. And even from there, I can still use my Subselection tool to manipulate it, but the point is is I can draw any sort of path I want, that I want to use for this animated fish.

So let's go ahead and create a line, something kind of like that. I'd say that looks pretty good. What I'm going to do now is with my Selection tool, I'm going to select that line, and I'm going to go to Edit, and I want to cut it. And since I don't need this layer anymore, I'm going to delete that layer, because I want to go to this layer, where that motion tween exists, and then all I need to do is do an Edit > Paste in Place.

When I do that, it overrides that previous motion path, and it gives me that line that I created my Pen tool. So now you can see that fish follow that path. And still it's editable, so I can still use my Subselection tool, and it manipulate any one of those points just as easily. So that was just a quick example of how you can manipulate any sort of motion path to simulate sort of more organic natural motion.

Now, let's keep in mind that I was inside of this fish animation movie clip, so if I go to scene 1, you'll notice that there are actually other fish here. So I'm going to go do a test movie, just to see our results. And sure enough, we can see all of our fish sort of following that wave motion that I've created. But again, a quick example of editing motion paths to really stimulate a nice, organic, sort of natural feel, that can be fully customized.

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