How to Make Stick Figure Animations With Flash


Adobe Flash is ideal for creating stick figure animations because it offers a simple drawing interface and a complete timeline editing system. Like most Adobe programs, Flash can be used for highly complex tasks, but someone with relatively little experience can also create animation right out of the box. All you need is some understanding of layers and timelines.

Things You'll Need

  • Computer
  • Adobe Flash
  • Open a new Flash file. If you know what size you want your animation to be, put that in the properties field. Otherwise, 800 x 600 is a good middle ground between a small file size and a high resolution.

  • Draw your first stick figure character on the drawing area or “stage.” This creates the first frame in your timeline.

  • Create a new layer in your timeline by clicking on the "New layer" button. When you create an animation for the layer, it affects only the elements in that layer even though other layers will remain visible. And, you can hide the layers if you wish.

  • Draw your second stick figure on the stage. You will see both figures on the stage, because you are still in the first frame.

  • Repeat this step for each figure or element that you wish to animate. For background elements that you won’t animate, use a separate layer. Name all of your layers to avoid confusion.

  • Select the layer for a figure you wish to animate. Go to a point in your timeline where the animation occurs. If you are using a frame rate of 24 frames per second and you wish your animation to be 1 second, go to the 24th frame. Right-click on your selected frame and click on “Insert keyframe.” This recreates your first frame.

  • Edit this keyframe into what you wish it to be. Keep your animations simple—for each movement, you need to have a separate layer, so move only one limb at a time. If you wish to have more complex motion, create separate layers for each limb.

  • Right-click in the layer between the two keyframes. Click on “Create classic tween.” If you have a pre-CS4 version of Flash, the command reads “Create motion tween.”

  • Repeat these steps for every movement that your stick figures will make. The layers keep your characters separate, but the timeline plays the animations together like a movie.

  • Go to the “Control” menu and test it by clicking on “Test movie.” You will need to troubleshoot your animation if the movements aren't synchronized perfectly. Check to see where each keyframe starts and ends.

  • Go to the “File” menu and click on “Export Movie.” Save your stick figure animation as a .swf file.

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  • Photo Credit Ciaran Griffin/Lifesize/Getty Images
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