Flash CS5.5 Self-Paced Course I

Introduction to Animation

Some Important Concepts

Traditional cartoon animation is done frame by frame.

If you want to make a figure move, you draw the same scene over and over again, with the figure slightly different in each picture.
If you have ever made a "flick" animation by drawing on the corner of a book and "thumbing " the pages apart you have made a frame by frame animation.
For more about frame by frame animation, visit the Cartoonster site.

Because traditional animation involved re-drawing a scene over and over with only minor changes, it was very time-consuming. Then some clever person thought of separating the art work into layers drawn on clear film. This meant that a background that stayed the same for many frames was drawn only once, and the figures or items that moved were placed on their own set of clear films so that only the figure or item had to be redrawn. The films were then placed one on top of the other as in the diagram below. Layer 1 is on the bottom. This saved a lot of time.

Understanding frames and layers is fundamental to learning to use Flash as a basic animation tool.