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Create an Animation

Create an Animation

Animations are where the power of Flash content shines from InDesign. You can animate almost anything in InDesign that plays in the published SWF file. Each spread in the document can also contain a host of animations that can be played together or in a specific order. Those animations can also be exported as FLA native animations that can be edited in Adobe Flash using the Motion Editor.

In this part of the article, I want to step you through the main process for creating animations:

  1. In your document, place an image or draw some other content on the page. Select the object(s) and group them together if they are separate objects.
  2. Open the Animation panel by choosing Window > Interactive > Animation.
  3. With the object(s) selected, change the name in the Name field if you want. This can make it easier later to reference the animation in another panel.
  4. Choose an animation preset from the Preset menu. There are a lot of presets from which to choose. It might take some trial and error to see which one works best for the animation you are trying to create (see Figure 4).
  5. Figure 4 Choose an animation preset.

    Once you choose a Preset, you can set the main properties for the animation.

  6. Choose the event (when the animation takes place) from the Event(s) menu (see Figure 5). The default animation is On Page Load, which means that the animation happens when the page appears in the animation. To learn more about the separate properties you can set for animations, check out InDesign Help (Help > InDesign Help) and search for “motion preset options”.
  7. Figure 5 Choose the animation event.

    Notice that after the animation is applied to the object, an animation icon appears in the lower–right corner of the object in Normal Screen Mode and with frame edges showing (View > Extras > Show Frame Edges). Also notice that if you chose an animation preset that moves the object (like Fly In from Bottom, etc.), that a green line appears connected to the object. That is called the motion path, and it indicates the direction, duration, and timing of the animation. The green arrowhead at one end of the line indicates direction; the dots on the motion path indicate the duration and speed. Next, you will edit the motion path (see Figure 6).

    Figure 6 A motion path.

  8. With the animated object selected, position the pointer over the green motion path, and click to edit the path. With the Selection or Direct Selection tools, you can edit the length and direction of the path. If you want to change the curve of the path, you can also add, subtract, or edit control handles of the points on the path using any of the drawing tools, like the Pen tool (see Figure 7).
  9. Figure 7 Edit the motion path.

  10. To test the animation, either click the Preview Spread button in the lower–left corner of the Animation panel or press Cmd+Opt+Shift+Enter or Return (Mac OS) or Ctrl+Alt+Shift+Enter or Return (Windows) to preview the document. This will open the Preview panel and will preview the animation for the spread.
  11. Create another object and apply an animation preset to it on the same spread. This step is important for the next section of the article, where you will learn how to change the timing of the animations (when they happen).
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