Adobe Flash currently deemed as the best 2D animating tool by many artists. Flash is a great program to publish Flash animations, games, and websites because Flash saves its works as a vector (vector graphics). It can produce clean-cut works while maintaining a very minimal amount of file size. The use of flash for banners and websites has become popular in part from the small file size and also because it offers excellent interactivity for its browsers, making it much more appealing, especially to children.

Currently, Adobe offers Flash CS3 (aka Flash 9) as its latest release from the Flash lineup. Flash CS3 offers everything Flash Pro 8 does, such as Filters, which easily lets you add blur, glow or other effects. Aside from this, Flash CS3 supports the new ActionScript 3.0.

Concepts of Flash Animation

Flash offers two main ways of animating: Frame-By-Frame (FBF) and Tweening.

Frame-By-Frame

As the term implies, Frame-By-Frame (FBF) animation is a basic but painstaking way of creating animated Flash. This involves having to draw a different image for each individual frame, similar to traditional animation, therefore making the drawing look alive. The main problem of this type of animation is that it it's very time-consuming and tasking for the animator. The animator will have to animate carefully or the flash animation will look choppy. However, the best part of FBF animation is that you can actually make things look exactly the way you want it, contrary to Tweening, where the user is only limited to 2D animation.

Tweening

This is the advanced way of animating in Flash, which requires some practice before it becomes second nature. Basically, tweening animation is an automated way of animating; the user will just draw on two different keyframes and Flash will draw all of the frames in between. The biggest advantage of this is that it it's a lot less time-consuming and generally in can offer much smoother animations compared to FBF animation, depending on the frames per second (fps) rate vice versa to FBF. The flaw with tweening is that the user will be stuck to 2D animation and pseudo-3D animation.

The most basic form of tweening is single-layered motion tweening. Basically it just moves one object to another desired position and tween it. Taking motion tweening further, one can produce a multi-layered motion tween which can look as good as FBF. This involves having to split up the object into separate moving parts and individually animating them. This is an example of multi-layered motion tween.

The other form for tweening is shape tweening, which involves transforming one graphic into another. Though a lot less popular, shape tweening still has a lot of functions that motion tweening simply can't do, like wagging tails.

Example of shape tweening

It has it flaws, despite its uses. For instance, it's difficult to get the shape tweening the way the user wants it. Another problem is that it is extremely tasking to the CPU.

Criticism

There were quite number of criticisms that Flash has had to face. First of all, the ActionScript engine still has some gaping holes in it. Sometimes when the user tries the command "gotoandplay scene2" (where scene2 is a scene), Flash will not jump to the actual scene. In fact, it does nothing at all. A quick remedy to this is by referring to frame labels instead of scene names. Because Flash relies a lot more to vector graphics, it chews up a lot of CPU performance. some websites, particularly those which are heavy-laden with Flash, can freeze or crash computers (especially low-end computers), which can result in a potential loss of data.

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