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What does a Flash&Reg; Animator do?

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  • Written By: G. Wiesen
  • Edited By: Heather Bailey
  • Last Modified Date: 09 November 2016
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A Flash® animator creates interactive multimedia and animated works through the use of a computer program called Flash®. Flash® is a program that allows an animator to create self-contained animated pieces that can simply be viewed or can involve interaction with a viewer. These types of animations are often popular on websites and most work done by a Flash® animator will be found on the Internet, though a few television and feature length programs have been created through Flash®.

Originally developed in the mid-1990s, the program was first called Future Splash and was designed to compete with Shockwave® for use in web-based animations and Internet advertising. The program was purchased by Macromedia®, who had developed Shockwave®, and renamed Flash®. Over the years Flash® has received numerous upgrades and advances in programming and capability. Though it has changed names and owners, Flash® is still principally used for web-based animations and advertisements by graphic designers and webpage designers.

Released more recently as Adobe® Flash®, the program allows a Flash® animator to create content for websites and other uses rather easily and with a fairly impressive array of tools to utilize. Many Internet websites incorporate Flash® animations for advertisements or for video and game hosting. Even some television advertisements have been created using Flash® animation for large corporations looking to create a signature look for their commercials. A Flash® animator creates these images and videos by using the various tools found in the Adobe® Flash® program.

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This can include traditional frame-by-frame animation meant to capture the look and feel of classic hand drawn animated features and shorts, or animation that is closer to the work done using three-dimensional (3-D) animation programs. With these sorts of tools an animator can position a character in certain key frames and the program will then fill in the motion between those frames. While fine tuning and the addition of more key frames is often required to complete the sequence and make motion seem more fluid or lifelike, this process is still usually more streamlined than creating hundreds or thousands of individually drawn frames.

The Flash® animator will then typically render out the video or animation as a Shockwave Flash® (.swf) file for play on websites and Flash® players, or as a Flash® Video (.flv) file for use with other players. A Flash® video in these file types can be played through a variety of different video players or embedded into websites for viewing or interaction. The work done by a Flash® animator can even create immersive animated features that are as interactive as any video game.

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Chmander
Post 4

@Viranty - Well, it's no easy task, that's for sure. In case you didn't know, one episode of Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends can take up to six months to complete. It's always made me wonder how they're able to crank out so many episodes, but I'm assuming that they work on multiple episodes at a time. That must be quite a task!

Viranty
Post 3

Does anyone know how hard it is to animate characters in flash? I'm thinking about going to animation school one day, and I want to know what it takes to become an animator. Any suggestions or solutions?

Chmander
Post 2

@RoyalSpyder - Yep, I've noticed how common flash animation is nowadays. However, that's not to say all flash is lazy and cheap. Do you remember a show called Fosters Home For Imaginary Friends? It's about the misadventures of imaginary friends who live in a "foster home" of sorts, for imaginary friends. The show wasn't my favorite, but unlike a lot of the shows in this day and age, it used flash animation very well. There's a lot of "squash and stretch", and the movements are comical and fluid. On the other hand, compare that to a show like The Buzz of Maggie, where the characters are 2D and stiff. They lack dimension, and fit the stereotype of traditional flash.

RoyalSpyder
Post 1

Has anyone noticed that in this day and age, a lot of TV shows tend to use flash animation? I'm not saying that it's inherently a bad thing, but it feels and looks really cheap. Does anyone else feel the same way? This is just opinion, but maybe it's easier to animate TV shows that way. After all, they're on a budget, and they can't spend forever on one episode.

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