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Flash Motion Editor and Presets

One of the more advanced new features in Adobe FlashR CS4 is the Motion Editor. This new feature gives the Flash animator an amazing amount of control when creating an animation. Although the Motion Editor panel may seem complex at first glance, it is really built to be an intuitive tool for controlling all of the attributes for your animation individually. In this panel, you can fine-turn every attribute such as rotation, color, filters, scaling, position and more using the graphic or hot text controls. Some of you who use After EffectsR, may notice a similarity between the Flash Motion Editor and the Keyframe Editor in After Effects.

In our example, I have created a simple tween animation using the new Object-based animation technique that we discussed in the previous article. The animation moves a square from left to right in a curving motion. At the same time, the square changes colors from red to green and grows in size. As you can see, it looks to be a simple animation when viewed in the Timeline. Let's switch to the Motion Editor and see what it looks like there. We have quite a few more controls for the attributes of this animation including X and Y position, rotation, X and Y Skew and Scale, Alpha Color Effect, Filters and Eases. Flash has given us both a numeric and graphic control for each of the attributes for this particular animation and the ability to apply changes, including easing, to each attribute individually. It is the easing that can make or break the realism of an animation.

Another new feature in CS4 is the Motion Presets panel that contains several built-in animations that you can apply to your own movie clips. You have quite a list to choose from including the most popular animations such as bounce, flying in and out, smoke, pulse, swoosh, wave and zoom. All the Flash designer needs to do is choose a preset from the Motion Presets panel, view the preview in the top of the panel and then click Apply. You now have your animation. Flash has applied the prebuild motion path and other aspects of the animation for you. Of course, you can create, save and share your own preset animations from one project to another. Once you have a stockpile of presets, you do not need to build every animation from scratch. You can use these presets as is or adjust them to your needs. Also, if you like another Flash designer's animation, you can add that to your stockpile, assuming that he or she has a generous nature.

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