alt-Flash: Motion Graphics Alternatives #29
Chapter 4, Animation
• We used an animation that looks good at various speeds (kind of a lop-
ing, jumping walk). In the real world, the gait for walking is different
from the gait for jogging or running, so we used an imaginary gait that
looks good at both speeds. You couldn’t do that with a realistic horse
animation, since walking, trotting, cantering, and galloping all have dis-
With all this optimization, only 10–20 frames are needed for the full 3D
walk cycle. Nothing bandwidth-heavy here!
Although the ideas behind this hack are obvious as soon as you have read
this, you don’t see them used often in Flash web animation. The same tech-
niques can be used in any cyclical animation, such as a bird flying.
You don’t always need smooth animation, and, in many cases, fewer frames
give a bigger sense of motion and personality. Of course, the positive effects
on workload and download time are also beneficial!
You can follow the development of my collaboration with Adam Phillips in
a forthcoming book from O’Reilly (working title Mastering Flash Animation
and User Interface Design) in which readers will learn animation from Adam
and the associated scripting from me, as we slowly build up Scribble’s
For those curious to see Scribble in action, look at one of our early works in
progress, scribbleWalk.fla, downloadable from this book’s web site. Also
worth looking at is the associated code on frame 1 of the actions layer of the
downloadable FLA. A few other approximations will become apparent when
you look at the code, but we’ll leave you to search them out!
alt-Flash: Motion Graphics Alternatives Hack #29
As much as we love Flash, it isn’t the only game in town. Create motion
graphics with some of the alternatives to Flash.
Flash is the number one motion graphics and multimedia delivery platform
for the Web, but it is not the only one available. Putting aside the main-
stream applications, such as Toonboom (http://www.toonboom.com) and
Macromedia Director (http:///www.macromedia.com/software/director), and
specialized applications, such as text effect generators and Swift 3D (http://
www.swift3d.com), there are a few notable stand-outs. Processing (http://
www.processing.org) is interesting because it is geared toward scripted ani-
mation without the historical baggage of Flash’s timeline-based approach.