Learn Flash as an Animation Tool

In 2006, making animation with Flash Cut outs was all the rage. It's how this website came into being. Over a decade later, the world of animation has moved on.

I'm keeping this part of the site for the Flash enthusiasts that still use older versions, and, frankly, for sentimental reasons. 

Adobe has eventually realized that Flash as a website builder was over, and they re-created the software under a more appropriate name: Adobe Animate.

In My work I now use a combination of After Effects, Animate, Illustrator and Photoshop, in the Cloud version (CC).

There is a  new software from Adobe called Character Animator. The Late Show With Stephen Colbert are doing amazing things with it, and it's worth checking out.

What you'll find in this section of The Flying Animator is the original material I wrote for Flash, all those years ago.
Please note that I no longer update it.

Enjoy the nostalgia :-)

Flash cut out animation of a girl

Start with these free Flash tutorials:

What is a Flash Symbol?
Understand the logic behind it, and learn to use it as an Animator:
Read Part 1
and Part 2

7 simple exercises for understanding the Flash Symbol:
the Flash Symbol 101 series

Animating with Flash

Flash was not created as an animation software.
It's primarily a web tool, meant to build light-weight and interactive graphics.
It does that great.
Animators adopted it because it's so fast and easy to use.

Learning Flash's power tools can fly you to the next festival in Annecy, with nothing but your home PC.
It makes a single animator a film-maker.
You can use it to create an entire cartoon by yourself in a short time and shorter budget.

It also lends itself to team work in a wonderful way.
Several animators can divide a large project between them, then seamlessly recombine their work again when it's done.

Best way to learn Flash?
Start animating!
Push all the buttons and see what happens.
If you are already an animator, many things in Flash will be intuitive for you. Key frames are just that – key frames.
Hook up you Wacom pen, and draw classic animation.

Still learning to draw?
Animate other peoples designs, imported from various sources.

Are you a good programmer?
You can animate with action script directly (– but I can only help you with good animation tips…)

Above all – go with the software, not against it.
The Symbol and the Library are such powerful tools.
Learn to use them - They will make you fly!

This is all about learning Flash from an animator's point of view.

Programmers reading some of these articles might frown.
For example, animators working for a TV production might be much better off using Graphic Symbols instead of Movie Clips.

There are several good reasons for this, for example,
MCs don't render an image sequence –
they only export the first frame!! MAYDAY, MAYDAY, MAYDAY!

I will do my best to put up tutorials for animators that need to work with programmers, AND the other way round – help programmers learn Flash thru an animator's eye.

Hopefully, these articles will help different kinds of Flash users to understand each others' needs, and work happily together.

Getting Started:

What is a Flash Symbol?
Part 1 and Part 2

Here are 7 simple exercises for working with the Flash Symbol:
the Flash Symbol 101 Series

Learn to Make a Flash Mask
and Find out why the animation jumps if you move the Pivot

When you get a hang of the basics, try making these animations:

Butterfly Animation Tutorial:
Part 1, Part 2, Part 3

Rabbit Animations Tutorial

And don't miss these:

How to draw in Flash - Drawing a cat
Part 1 - body
Part 2 - face

Flash Animation FAQ