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Planning Your Flash Animations

by Ron Kurtus (revised 12 January 2002)

Before you start developing a Flash animation, it is a good practice to write out a plan of action. The reason is that any type of software development can be complex. Good planning helps to avoid mistakes that may be difficult to find and fix.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Basic steps

The plan consists of the following basic steps:

  1. Describe animation
  2. Write out how you plan to do it.
  3. Add notes as you go along

Detailed steps

The detailed steps are as follows:

1. Describe animation

When you get an assignment to develop a Flash movie or you come up with an idea of something you want to put together, you should write it out and explain the animation in words. Examples of this are:

These descriptions or explanations are short and sweet, but they convey the image of what you want to do.

2. Write out how you plan to do it

Next, you write out the steps or details of how you plan to design this animation or Flash movie.

Examples are:

Demonstrate electrons moving

  1. Draw a model of a wire, about 80 pixels wide on the stage.
  2. Add a number of colored circles to simulate the atoms in the wire.
  3. On a new layer, animate an electron (smaller and different color than atom) as it goes in a zigzag path from one end of the wire to the other.
  4. Add several other layers with other electrons zigzagging through the wire. Perhaps copy original and modify path.

See sample of animation below.

Kicking soccer ball

  1. Draw background of soccer field.
  2. On a new layer, animate a cartoon character kicking.
  3. On a new layer, animate a ball being kicked, then exploding.
  4. Add sound to explosion.

Moving gears

  1. Draw background.
  2. On a new layer, animate a gear rotating.
  3. On a new layer, animate another gear meshing and rotating

3. Add notes as you go along

It is a good idea to make notes of problems you encountered and solutions, as well as how long it took you to complete your project. For example, in the demonstrating electrons moving through a wire project, it was found that an additional layer was needed for effectively adding the atoms. this could be noted.


Below is the demonstration of electrons moving through the wire:


It is a good idea to write out what you plan to do and how you plan to achieve that goal when developing Flash animations.

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