Custom drawn motion paths

The Motion Tween method of animating in Adobe Flash has always created you a motion path which can be edited. Motion paths show you how your symbol (artwork/text) moves over time, such as in the image below. But sometimes the editing of the motion path can be a little bit tricky. In this post, I will show you how you can draw a motion path and then get your symbol to follow it – great for detailed movement. Just to let you know, if you are lucky enough to have Adobe Flash Professional CC you can now animate and publish as HTML 5 too, so it will be compatible with those lovely mobile devices.

To start with, I have created a very simple animation of a balloon moving from left to right (see above). You can see from the blue dotted motion path that the movement of the balloon is linear, not very balloon like, it needs to a bit more floaty and chaotic. So lets draw the path we want the balloon to follow.

First we need to create a new layer to draw our new path, as Flash won’t allow us to draw on our already animated layer. Click on the New Layer icon in the Timeline panel (highlight in red below) to create a new layer.

We don’t need to worry about naming this layer as we will delete it soon.

Next ensured you have the new layer selected and draw the path you wanted the balloon to follow. I used the Pen Tool to draw the path (See above, shown in black), but you can use any tool you like that will allow you to draw a continuous curve. Select the path you have drawn with the Selection Tool (press the V key to select it) – you may have to double-click on it to select the entire curve. With the path selected, press Command X (Mac) or Control X (Windows) to cut the path.

Now choose the layer that contains your animation. Using the Selection Tool click on the linear motion path to select it. Press Command V (Mac) or Control V (Windows) to paste and replace the existing motion path with the one you drew – excellent, more realistic balloon-like motion.

To finish up, we just need to delete the layer that we originally drew the path on.

If you  fancy a few days away from the office, having fun learning Flash, just get in touch with Academy Class on: 0800 114 3228

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