In this instructable I will be teaching you how to animate movement in the program Adobe Flash Professional CS6 by using animating a bouncing ball. Using a bouncing ball will get rid of the worries of character design or complicated drawings and will still teach you the key points in animating movement just fine.

What to expect:

You will learn three key points in animating movement.

  • Animating in arcs.
  • Timing and spacing and how the spacing in your drawing creates pacing.
  • Squash and stretch.

Step 1: Arcs

Here is a picture of every frame of the bouncing ball I animated with an arc through it (See picture one). Animating with arcs will give your animations readability making it nice to look at. You know you have messed it up when you cant predict where the ball is going to go next and you can not pin point where the arc is (See picture two). Now this arc doesn't work with the bouncing ball however this is acceptable in other animations if you have the correct timing, like this piece of paper flying in the wind I animated it has a figure eight looking arc but with correct timing and spacing I can get an effect of it flying around smoothly (See picture three/four) which leads me to the next step.

Step 2: Timing and Spacing

Here is the arc of the bouncing ball but this time I have added little notches that almost land in the center of the ball on each frame (See picture one). This represents the spacing and timing. I have removed the bouncing ball and just kept the arc, now you will notice that at the top and at the bottom of the arc I added more frames creating the illusion of the ball going slower and its quickest in the middle of the arc leaving a clean transition of the ball going slow, then fast, back to slow again at the bottom of the arc (See picture two). You will know when you messed this up if you see a laggy and jerky animation. If you have drawings bunched together, then farther apart, then bunched together again without a smooth transition it will cause this laggy effect and wont look as good (See picture three/four).

It doesn't matter what your arc

Step 3: Squash and Stretch

Squash and stretch is is exactly as it sounds. With the bouncing ball you can see this technique being used when the ball hits the ground whilst gravity takes into affect stretching and squashing the ball (See picture one). Another way of looking at this is dividing your objects into pieces, when force is applied to one side of the ball it will squash once kicked and when the ball leaves the foot it will stretch then catch back up with itself going back into its normal state (See picture two).

You didn't show anything in this, I'd probably start showing how to use Actionscript in this to allow a virtual gravity and friction, so that it could be applied anywhere instead of just playing that one animation

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More by AdamJohnson:Flash Animation: Movement Flash Animation: Basics 
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