The title of my movie is “The Trampoline.” I wanted to tell a simple story with a humorous twist and bright, cartoony drawings. Browsing the internet, I’ve found that this general concept (simple and funny) is a successful formula for Flash animations. The key characters in my animation are the jumping man, the bird, and the trampoline. Each of these are reusable symbols, as are various stick figure body parts, the bird’s wing, two trampoline graphics, the trees in the background, and the grass in the background. The man, bird, and trampoline are all reusable movie symbols composed of reusable graphic symbols.
Throughout the animating process, I incorporated a few things that we didn’t cover in class. For instance, I learned and implemented techniques regarding how best to import and manipulate Adobe Illustrator drawings in Flash. For this, I referenced Adobe’s official “Using Flash Professional CS5” site (specifically the “Using Adobe Illustrator Files” page). No individual author is listed. Among other things, this page taught me how to convert the drawings and individual strokes from Illustrator into one single layer, multiple layers, and/or individual keyframes. It is hard to estimate how long it took me to learn how to do this, as I referred back to the Adobe site throughout the entire process, but I learned the essentials after about 45 minutes. I also wanted to stop the animation after the bird flew away, leaving viewers with a silent image of the abandoned trampoline rather than looping back to the beginning (which is apparently the default). To do this I Googled “stop Flash animation” and clicked through a few of the results. The first result, HTMLForum.com, had a thread called “Flash Intro – How to stop animation looping?” that contained the answer I was looking for. Using the information provided by users Famousb and Pappi, I added a stop script to the final keyframe’s Actions panel. The process of researching this issue and adding the script probably took 30 minutes.
The items listed above were the two primary “problems” that I encountered, particularly learning how to make a seamless transition from Illustrator to Flash. Beyond that, everything went relatively smoothly. I spent well over 5 hours on the movie, but that was mainly due to constant tweaking and adjusting rather than any notable roadblocks. The only other frustration that I recall was the need to stop one of my sound clips. To do this I added a keyframe at the spot that I needed the sound to stop on the timeline, added another sound clip, and changed the “Event” menu in properties to “Stop.” I didn’t end up keeping this in my animation because of adjustments I made to the story, but I found the information from an About.com article called “Flash Animation 15: Stopping and Starting Sound Effects” by Adrien-Luc Sanders, a freelance writer, animator, web designer, and graphic designer.
I created all of the artwork in my animation on Adobe Illustrator. The sounds I used in the movie are a playful “boing” sound for the trampoline and a rather unpleasant bird noise for when the bird approaches the jumping man. Adding the sound was an intuitive process, I didn’t use any outside help, but it was nice to have practiced importing sounds during our button exercise in class. I found the sounds on YouTube, then used a YouTube-MP3 converter website to turn them into usable files and import them and drop them on the timeline. This took me about 45 minutes to complete. If I could do this over again, I would have started with a better-defined story idea before working in Illustrator and Flash. A clearer sense of the story I was telling would have eliminated a lot of the time I spent tweaking and adjusting various aspects of the animation.