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So let's say we wanted to copy this animation and have multiple arms. You are already familiar with graphic symbols so your first thought may be to just nest these in graphic symbols. And actually that's an excellent way to accomplish this task. To do that, you might expect to right- click your animation in the Timeline and choose some setting. But notice there isn't a setting to copy frames or anything. So what you need to do is actually right-click your bones on the Stage. So when I right-click the bones, there is an option to Convert to Symbol.
I am going to choose that option, I am going to choose a Graphic symbol for the Type and I will call this ArmAnimation. Then I will click OK. Now if I scrub the playhead I can see the animation as one frame as a graphic symbol on the main Timeline. Now all I have to do is copy and paste this instance and I have multiple arms. So I am going to copy it and I will create a new layer and paste. I will call this new layer arm2. I will create one more layer called arm3 that I will paste there as well.
Note that I am using Paste in Place and not the regular Paste command. So let's lock arm3 and that will be the top layer. Then I am going to lock arm and make sure all the other layers are locked as well. I am going to pull out arm2 a little bit. So I'll move arm2 out and then if I want to I can scale it in a little bit. So I can select it and with a Free Transform tool I can move the transformation point, scale it in just a little bit, and then move it a little bit more. Now I will go to the back arm, which is the layer that's just called arm.
Now I'll move that one over. I will do the same process where I shrink it so I will move the transformation point, scale it in. I am holding the Shift key by the way. That way I can constrain the proportions of my object and then I will move everything down. I am going to move the arm2 layer down just a little bit more and that looks good. So let's preview this animation in the Flash Player. Remember that's Ctrl+Enter on the PC and Command+Return on the Mac. Okay, so I have my animation of three arms, but this will look a lot better if I staggered the animation of the arms.
Remember that with graphic symbols you can do that. So all I have to do is select one of the arms, arm3 for example, and then go in the Properties panel and set the Looping property. So I will change the first frame to frame 20 for this one and then I will select the middle arm and change the first frame to frame 40. Now let's preview this animation in the Flash Player. So now we have a staggered animation of the arms moving.
So if you ever want to convert an armature to a symbol, make sure you right-click the bones on the Stage and choose Convert to Symbol. And once you have multiple animations, you can always stagger them in the Properties panel using the Looping settings.
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