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Creating Animation

In this section, we'll take you through the process of creating three simple types of animations: frame by frame, motion tweened, and shape tweened. The techniques you'll learn here can be used to create animations on a graphic or movie-clip symbol's timeline as well as your movie's main timeline.

Planning Your Project

Processor Considerations

Hollywood has a way of distorting reality. Just as teenage girls drooled at the thought of being trapped on a sinking Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio, anyone who regularly uses a computer has surely salivated over the speed at which they run in the movies. In Hollywood's vision of the world, every home computer is connected to the Net; you never have to boot your machine; and that desktop box contains enough power to coordinate a shuttle mission, find a cure for cancer, and crunch out the graphics for Jurassic Park—all at the same time!

Well, here's the cruel reality: Processor speed—which today can range from 200 MHz to faster than 1 GHz—is a major determinant of computer power. And this means that what takes 1 second to show up on the 1-GHz machine could take 10 seconds or longer on a slower machine (Figure 10.27). As you can imagine, this is a major factor in animation. On slow computers, your animated movie will probably end up playing fairly choppy. And you can forget about those cool motion effects. All is not lost, however: Even though you can't anticipate every possibility in creating your movie, you can take some steps to minimize the effect slower machines will have on your movie's playback. For starters, you can pay attention to the following guidelines:

Figure 10.27. The speed at which your presentation will play varies depending on the processor speed of a viewer's machine.

  • Avoid animating too many things at once. By too many, we mean primarily large objects that require a lot of screen space to move. Although it's tempting to animate everything at once, all you need to do is play your movie on a slow computer to realize that a little self-control is in order—that is, if you can stay awake long enough to watch your movie play!

  • Animate in the smallest area possible. Not surprisingly, it takes less processing power to animate something small than it does to animate something large. You can usually animate several small things simultaneously without too much trouble. So, instead of making that monster movie element rotate, make it smaller and do something else creative with it. And if you do decide to animate a large movie element, avoid animating anything else on the screen at the same time. This way, you free up additional resources to handle the large object.

  • Avoid tweening too many objects at once. Although tweening can be a real time-saver in developing your Flash project, it eats up a lot of resources. Use tweening all you can; just be sure not to use a bunch of it at once.

By following these guidelines, you can avoid overstressing a slow processor.



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