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Flash CS4: Animation Workflow Warning

Posted October 17, 2008 by senocular

This is something I had meant to post for a while now, but didn't, and after FlashCamp this past weekend, I regret having waited since I know a lot of people had problems with this...

I don't know about you (and I know a lot of people are different), but every time I create a motion tween in Flash, I have a specific workflow. That workflow is, creating a symbol, adding a keyframe in the timeline at the end point of the tween (using F6), modifying the symbol at that location, then right-clicking in the generated span and selection "Create Motion Tween". Tah-dah! a motion tween! Of course now, whenever I do that in CS4, the end result is a stagnant timeline that screams "You fail at life!"
This is all due to the fact that Flash CS4 overhauled their motion tween interface. By "interface" I mean virtually (if not) everything motion tween related: the interaction with the tween on the stage (now with dynamic, adjustable guides), the use of "smart" tween spans on the timeline, the fact that tweens can be saved as reusable presets, and even the inclusion of a brand new, and pleasantly complicated After Effects-like motion editor.

About this timeline thing. It's these blasted new motion tween spans (I referred to as being "smart"). Don't get me wrong; they're great. Really, they are. Tweens are now completely encapsulated in spans which allow you to easily adjust timing of all keyframes just by resizing the span on the timeline, and even lets you rename the instance being animated for all keyframes by changing the instance name once! (Can sometimes be a big time saver.) But this totally blows away my workflow since you don't create these spans between keyframes, you create them from a single keyframe span because all keyframes need to be enclosed in this consolidated motion tween span rather than having a span between two existing, separate keyframes.

So now, my workflow has changed (when I remember to use it) to, creating a symbol, right-clicking in the generated span and selection "Create Motion Tween" (this automatically creates a tween span 1 second long), then modifying the symbol to define my additional keyframes.

Though this new approach to tweening is superior, you still have the option of using the old approach which is now called a "Classic Tween".

For more information about Flash CS4, be sure not to miss jen deHaan's blog, flashthusiast.com.