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Lesson 9. Creating Animations and Movies > Joining a Blend to a Path

Joining a Blend to a Path

To create animations in FreeHand as you’ve learned, you create a blend and then release the blend to layers. You can also group objects and then release the objects to layers to create an animation. For example, you could draw several objects in the order you want them to animate, group them, and then release them to layers. If you want objects in a blend to follow a path as they animate, you can join the blend to a path. In this task, you will draw a path and then create a blend that follows the path as it animates.

Create a new file and save it as blend_animation.fh11 in your Projects folder. Change the document page size to Web.

The end result of this page is a SWF animation, so you want the page size to fit the final size of the animation.

Draw a rectangle 450 pixels wide and 300 pixels tall. On the Object panel, type 25 for the corner radius of the rectangle. Press Enter (Windows) or Return (Mac OS) to apply your settings.

The rounded rectangle is the path for your animation.

On the Align panel, select Align to Page and then double-click the center of the preview pane.

Your rectangle is centered on the page.

Draw a small circle and fill it with a bright color, such as red or blue. Place the circle at the top left of the page. Use the Alt-drag or Option-drag method to make a copy of your circle and move the copy to the top right of the page.

The placement of the circles is not important; you just want to space the circles apart. In the next step, you will create a blend from one circle to the other.

Select both circles and choose Modify > Combine > Blend.

This command is another way to create a blend. You could also choose Xtras > Create > Blend as you did previously. The resulting blend is the same. FreeHand creates 25 steps for the blend. Leave that number of steps set for now.


Don’t be concerned if you get fewer than 25 steps in your blend. If objects are close together, FreeHand creates fewer steps for the blend.

Select both the blend and the rectangle. Choose Modify > Combine > Join Blend to Path.

The circles follow the path of the rectangle.


You can modify the number of steps in the blend on the Object panel even though the blend is joined to the path.

Choose Xtras > Animate > Release to Layers. Select Build from the Animate pop-up menu, deselect Reverse Direction, and click OK.

The Build option places each circle in the blend on a new layer. In addition, all of the circles from the previous layers are added to the new layer. For example, the first layer contains the first circle in the blend. Layer 2 contains the second circle and the first circle. Layer 3 contains the third circle plus the first and second circles, and so on.

If you had selected Sequence from the Animate pop-up menu, each circle in the blend would be placed on a separate layer.

Press Ctrl+Enter (Windows) or Command+Return (Macintosh) to test your movie. Click Play in the movie controls to play the animation.


The movie settings should be set correctly from the last task. If your animation doesn’t work, close the movie window and check the settings by choosing Window > Movie > Settings. Make sure that layers are set to animate. Then test your animation again.

The first circle of the blend appears on the page before you begin the animation. If you want the screen blank before the animation begins, you need to add a layer containing an empty object. You will add a new empty layer in the next step.

Close the animation window and press Tab to deselect any objects. Choose New (Windows) or New Layer (Mac OS) from the Layers panel Options menu. Drag the new layer below the Foreground layer.

The layer is added at the top of the layers list. You want this layer to be the first layer of the animation so it needs to be below the Foreground layer. The Foreground layer contains the first circle of the animation.

On the new layer, draw a circle, with no stroke or fill.

You need to put an invisible object on the layer. You can’t just leave a layer blank.

Test your animation.

The animation window should be blank until you click the Play control.



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