Flash Tip – Motion Tweening Enhanced: Rotation

In the first Flash lesson, we approached criss-cross motion as a basic “point A to point B” process, moving a circle from one corner of our scene to the other. However, interlacing doesn’t just cover linear motion; You can also rotate your symbols as they move or rotate them in place.

Create a tween motion

To do this, you need to create a “motion tween” in the same way as in the first lesson, by creating a symbol and then copying your key from the first frame to the last before selecting “motion tween” in the property bar or by Right-click on the timeline and select Insert Tween Motionor by going to Insert->Create Tween Motion. (You can move your icon if you want, depending on whether you want your shape to slide and rotate or just rotate).

Now if you look at the property bar, you’ll see an option in the bottom half that says “Rotate” and a drop-down menu with the default setting “Auto”. “Auto” usually means it doesn’t rotate at all, or only rotates based on other settings; “None” means it doesn’t rotate, period; The other two options are “CW” and “CCW” or “ClockWise” and “CounterClockWise”. “Clockwise” rotates to the right; Counterclockwise rotates to the left.

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Select either one, then in the box on the right set the number of full 360 degree rotations you want your icon to perform. (In the image displayed in this article, I have defined 1 rotation). As you can see, you can combine linear motion and rotary motion in one interval. Remember that the icon rotates around its central pivot, and you can click and drag on that pivot to move it to another location and change the way it rotates.

Possible problems with tweening

Tweening is an effective way to create fast animations, but it certainly has its limitations. One of the problems with Flash (now Adobe Animate) is that it’s difficult to get away from that “Flash-y” look. You know the right ones, bold outlines and solid fills. It’s a very distinct style that can easily overpower whatever you’re working on by saying “HEY I WAS MADE IN FLASH!” Tweens can also have the same effect.

We try to avoid tweening as much as possible, both in Flash and in After Effects. We think it gives your work a much more organic and human quality when you can avoid using tweens and animate things by hand instead of relying on the computer to do the animation for you. Avoiding tweens is also a great way to avoid that “IT” look, which in turn can overwhelm any unique work you do.

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Although it’s a very handy tool, try to use it sparingly for character animation. Tweens feel more comfortable working with motion graphics or animated kinetic typography. When you use tweens to animate a character walking or doing something, you can easily throw your work down a weird trough and potentially lose viewers. With all the work you put into your animations, you definitely don’t want that, so be careful how often you use tweens.