All spelling mistakes are copyrighted by meeeee, okay they aren't.. flash by macromedia and all respective companies and websites are named are owned by themselves. Yay. If you look for anything specific, hold control and F, or command and F on a Mac I believe, and look for the keyword there.
So let the headache begin ^^:
How to get Flash:
There are 4 ways:
A)Buy it at macromedia.com, the official way. it's expensive tough.
B)Go to shareware websites, like www.download.com, and get the trial version, so you can try for a month. You probably give up on flash after that time anyway.
C)Finding a bootleg version, which is illegal, so i won't discuss it to save me from trouble
D)finding a person who owns Flash, and can send it to you with msn/aim, but the file is huge mind you. And this is also illegal I think.. O_o;
This tutorial is based for Flash mx, the other versions might have their tools in a diffrent place, so you have to look for them then X__X
Unless you want to make sprite movies, you need to draw stuff to make a movie. And for some reason, the default drawing settings are programmed by a retarded paperclip brain, so you better start changing a few settings:
In case you don't even have a toolbar, go to windows, and select tools. There are the drawing tools.
You also need the actions tab, to program buttons if you want, properties to adjust transparency or the thickness of the pencil, colour swatches for a default collection of colours, and colour mixer to get custom made colours, and some special colour effects, like having yellow slowly turn to orange or something. Experiment with it yourself.
Now, select the pencil, and see a "pencil mode" in the toolbar. Click on it, and turn straighten into smooth, if you don't want all your drawings to automatically turn into squares (don't ask me why this option is useful, or even default @_@
if you click on properties, you can make the pencil thickness a bit bigger, i usually use a 2 or 3 pixel thickness.
Now select the paint bucket tool (when confused, hover your mouse over the tools will reveal teh tool's name) select the weird circle icon down the toolbar and turn "close small gaps" into "close medium gasps". This will make colouring a lot easier (colouring can sometimes be a nightmare in flash, flash seems to have strange glitches sometimes. If a drawing goes mad, select the entire drawing and right click on it, and select "smooth” a few times. This should fix problems.
Right, now your drawing tools are fixed, you should be able to draw now ^^. It should be very similar to paint or most other drawing programs.
forgot to say, but only the white square in the middle of the screen is what you see in the final version, the grey stuff is your work field.
Timeline and tweening:
Those 2 are the difference between a drawing, and an animation. oh, and layers. Quick explanation:
Layers = this makes you able to have a drawing made up from separate parts, so that backgrounds, characters and body parts can move separately from each other.
Timeline = this baby is the one responsible that there is not one drawing, but many drawings , or rearrangements from objects, that give the illusion of movement.
A timeline is made up by frames, every frame is a separate drawing.
Tweening = the actual animating. Some of the frames are key frames, meaning that those frames create a key moment in a movement. So if a character will punch, there are 4 key moments:
arm in normal position, arm pulled back to power up strength, arm forward, when it directly hits the opponent, and the 4th one is the arm back into it's original pose.
If you made a seperate arm drawing, selected, picked the create motion tween (in the insert window) you'll notice the layer with the drawing will become blue. Now, if say, you have 20 frames in the timeline, on frame 20 you pick up the arm, and move it to a different position, Flash will calculate how much the arm moved in every frame between 1 and 20, so it's one fluent movement.
So draw a background on a layer, make a new layer right click on the timeline, select insert new layer) and make sure you selected the new layer, you can draw, let's say, a pie.
Now select create motion tween, and then have to pie on the right side of the screen on frame 1, and on the right side of the screen on frame 20. now press enter, and wheee, there he goes.
Now make more frames, select frame 40 or so, right click the drawing, and select rotate. White symbols will appear around the pie, move your mouse close to one of the corner symbols till your mouse looks like a cornered arrow, and rotate the pie so it's on it's side. now press enter, and now the pie slides trough the background, and then circles on it's side. Hooray.
You can also make the pie bigger or smaller by selecting the scale option.
If you can do this, congratulations! You can make any animation I did pretty much, this is all you need to know, you only need the skills to foresee how all body parts of a character move to make it to a specific move and all. But that's common sense and stuff, can't teach that here. So next chapter:
Yes, very easy actually. go to file, import, then select your audio file on the harddisc, and file throws it into it's library.
Now click on a key frame on the moment the sound has to play (if the import option is unable to be selected, also click on a key frame to make it appear) now go to properties.
See a sound tab? Select it, and there should be a list of all imported sounds. Select one and voila.
If Flash can't import your file, you need to rework it. My favourite technique is by going to your windows sound and volume management
( go to start, all programs, blah blah, entertainment, and select sound recorder. then go to edit, sound properties, volume of recording sound. Now select something like "stereo” or mono"or something that looks like it, and go back to sound recorder)
now the pc will record everything your speakers play. So just play the song you want, while recording in sound recorder, and voila. Flash can import Wav files, and mp3, and a lot more.
Don't forget to put the recording management thing back on microphone if you want to voice acting again
for sound effects, try www.findsounds.com , my favourite place.
Owkay, final thing about sound, you can sound roughly in 2 ways in flash, event and stream. Event is default, and as you could guess, wrong. It's only used for interactions, so if you make a website or so. Stream is for animations. So for the first time you use a sound, in properties, turn event into stream. Now it's default from now on, so don't worry about this anymore. Okay, notice that:
A) soon a keyframe interrupts the sound in the timeline, the sound immediately stops. So make sure you have a few separate audio layers.
B)If a sound file is to loud, the final swf file will turn the loud sound file into an annoying scratching sound, which you might notice sometimes in my movies. To fix it, select the keyframe with the sound file, properties, now select edit, and drag both the square thingies you see a little bit lower. now the volume is decreased (in this menu, you can also have music fade in/out and change volume if the music is louder then the voices and stuff)
okay, final chapter: finishing touch.
first, on the timeline, see "12 fps" there? Double click on it, and you see the properties of teh flashfile, teh fps is the frames per second, how smooth the movie is (better select your fps before animating, or your timing is of.)
you can also select a different colour background, and how the many pixels your work field is. I often increase the height with 30 pixels after I’m done animating, to get extra room for the subtitles (yeah i do these after animating, most flash artists do these immediately when animating but I'm strange and stuff)
for mouth sync, first a useful trick, animating within a graphic. If you draw a closed mouth, and select it, create motion tween, you can double click on it to get inside a new timeline. Now, make more empty frames, on the 4th frame, new keyframe, remove the inside of the mouth. Frame by frame time, select the 2 tiny squares left under the timeline, called onion skin, so future and past frames are transparent.
Now press f6 a few times to ahve the empty mouth in 5 or so key frames, and in every keyframe, draw the teeth moving up a bit more then the previous frame, until the teeth are gone. Colour the just drawn keyframes, and copy paste them again in reverse order after your final keyframe. Now the teeth go up and down. Double click outside the teeth twice, to return to the normal timeline.
The mouth opening and closing animation will repeat endlessly 9this trick is mighty useful for looping animations, like walking and stuff)
When a character talks, put the mouth on the characters face, and check the sound wave on the timeline, you'll see when the voice line’s volume goes up, the wave gets bigger, when the sound file is quiet, the wave goes down. So if you animate the mouth on the face that it's stretched when the volume goes up, and thin when the volume goes down, the mouth should move with the rhythm of the voice line, resulting in the mouth sync you know from my animations. Whee.
Now finally the preloader, you can make one yourself, but the easiest to do is go to www.newgrounds.com, submit, submit flash, and then look for a preloader you can download from them. Just select the third frames' keyframes, where no instructions are, and paste those on your first frame of the flash. Done.
now go to export movie, make sure it's SWF, change other options if you like (instead of mp3 sound compression, i often use ADPCM, that's because with mp3, for some reason, the timing goes off when the movie's getting larger. That's no trouble with ADPCM.
Well, that's the whole basic in flash, i think. With this, you can make any movie i made.
I'm probably a lousy teacher and only gave you a headache, but otherwise, have fun in flash
Credits for teaching me Flash:
Flash 4's excellent INTERACTIVE tutorial, what Macromedia for some stupid reason removed from later versions
Luc van den Mortel for being better then me :S
Mark, my sister's former fiancée who recommended me to use flash, HOORAY!