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Creating Nested Animations

Often, an object that is animated on the Stage will have its own animation. For example, a butterfly moving across the Stage will have an animation of its wings flapping as it moves. Or the alien that you swapped with the rocket ship could be waving his arms. These kinds of animations are called nested animations, because they are contained inside the movie clip symbols. Movie clip symbols have their own Timeline that is independent of the main Timeline.

In this example, you’ll make the alien wave his arms inside the movie clip symbol, so he’ll be waving as he moves across the Stage.

Creating animations inside movie clip symbols

  1. In the Library panel, double-click the alien movie clip symbol icon.

    You are now in symbol-editing mode for the alien movie clip symbol. The alien appears in the middle of the Stage. In the Timeline, the parts of the alien are separated in layers.

    04fig64.jpg
  2. Choose the Selection tool.
  3. Right-click/Ctrl-click the alien’s left arm and choose Create Motion Tween.

    Flash converts the current layer to a Tween layer and inserts 1 second’s worth of frames so you can begin to animate the instance.

  4. Choose the Free Transform tool.
  5. Drag the corner rotation control point near the hand to rotate the arm upward to the alien’s shoulder height.

    Flash inserts a keyframe at the end of the motion tween. The left arm rotates smoothly from the resting position to the outstretched position.

    04fig67.jpg
  6. Move the red playhead back to frame 1.
  7. Now create a motion tween for the alien’s other arm. Right-click/Ctrl-click his right arm and choose Create Motion Tween.

    Flash converts the current layer to a Tween layer and inserts 1 second’s worth of frames so you can begin to animate the instance.

  8. Choose the Free Transform tool.
  9. Drag the corner rotation control point near the hand to rotate the arm upward to the alien’s shoulder height.

    Flash inserts a keyframe at the end of the motion tween. The arm rotates smoothly from the resting position to the outstretched position.

    04fig68.jpg
  10. Select the last frame in all the other layers and insert frames (F5) so that the head, body, and feet all remain on the Stage for the same amount of time as the moving arms.

  11. Click the Scene 1 button in the Edit bar at the top of the Stage to exit symbol-editing mode.

    Your animation of the alien raising his arms is complete. Wherever you use the movie clip symbol, the alien’s nested animation will continue to play.

  12. Preview the animation by choosing Control > Test.

    Flash opens a window showing the exported animation. The alien moves along the motion path while the nested animation of his arms moving plays and loops.

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