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Chapter 1. Building Complexity

The key to creating complex animations in Flash is building them from simpler parts. Just as the movement of a runner is essentially a collection of rotating limbs, you should think of your Flash project as being a collection of simpler motions. Isolating individual components of a much larger, complicated motion allows you to treat each component with the most appropriate technique, simplifies the tweening, and gives you better control with more refined results.

To animate a head that’s turning quickly to face the camera, for example, you would first consider how to simplify the animation into separate motions. Animating the entire sequence at the same time would be difficult, if not impossible, because the many elements making up the head change in different ways as they move. The outline of the head could be a frame-by-frame animation to show the transformation from a profile to a frontal pose. Some of the features of the face could be symbol instances that you squash and stretch in a motion tween to match the turn of the head. And the hair could be a shape tween that lets you show its flow, swing, and slight bounce-back effect when the head stops.


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