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Lesson 9. Creating GIF Animations > Using Animation Symbols

Using Animation Symbols

If you want control over every object in each frame of your animation, you must create your animation using the frame-by-frame animation method as you did in the first exercise. If you need to make an object move only across the canvas, you can create an animation symbol that makes the task much easier. An animation symbol adds a bounding box and a motion path to the symbol that indicates the direction that the symbol moves. You can change a variety of features, from the animation speed to the opacity and rotation. In this exercise, you will create an animation in which an object fades in.

Create a new layer and name it Pie.

Make sure that this layer is above the other layers.


Select the top layer before adding the new layer. This way, your new layer is added at the top and you don’t have to move it.

Click the Options pop-up menu at the top right of the Frames panel, and then choose Add Frames.

You need another frame to add more to the animation. Choose At the End in the Add Frames dialog box and add one frame at the end of your animation. Click OK.

Select frame 13 on the Frames panel.

The frame contains only the objects on the shared layer.

Import the Strawberry_pie.png image from the Media folder in the Lesson09 folder and place it to the right of the canvas. With the Text tool, type Fresh Strawberry Pie, $9.95 and place the text to the left of the pie.

Change the font and size of the text so it fits on the page. You can use the red color for the text or choose your own color.

Turn on onion skinning to see the previous frame and place the text below the right of the last circle in the animation.

With the text block and the pie image selected, choose Modify > Animation > Animate Selection. In the Animate dialog box, change the number of frames to 12, set Move to 0, and change the opacity to 0 in the first Opacity settings box. Click OK.

In the dialog box that opens, you are warned that the number of new frames extends beyond the last frame in this document.

Click OK.

You want to add those extra frames.

You should now see the text block and the image surrounded by a dotted square, indicating that it is a symbol. The dotted square should have a red dot in the middle, indicating that it is an animation symbol.

Save your file and then click Play/Stop at the bottom of the document window to preview the animation.

The circles animate from left to right, and then the pie image and text fade in.


The red dot in the middle of the animation symbol can be used to move the object on the canvas. You drag the red dot away from the symbol. The animation line that appears indicates the path of the animation. In this example, you want the image to remain in place, changing the opacity from 0 to 100 percent instead of moving the object.


You can change the number of frames, scaling, rotation, or opacity of the animation symbol as it moves along the motion path. Select the symbol and then modify the settings in the Property inspector.



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