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Animation/2d digital animation in Adobe flash and more


Hello Mr. Calabrese

I'm Bobby Geter and I plan to have a career in animation and graphic design. I've always had a fascination for animation and the class I'm taking now giving me a rare opportunity to explore adobe flash. As much as I want to do a keyframe/traditional animation, I am no where near that expertise in drawing to keep details consistent without having to gag at my results. I came across another method called tweeing which involved just moving a body part and adjusting the frames and it'll eventually animate by itself. I've decided to use this method in my project, However I ended up producing more questions in my mind. Tweening is nice and all but it doesnt fix the fact that 2d is 2d. As is I'd have to redraw a character's head going horizontal and vertically. With my minimal knowledge of the program I was able find a method to recreate the head from each angle using a grid. (Long process for a novice like me I'll say.)

This all comes down to my main issue, Is there a way to replace body parts such as the body, hands, and head with similar shapes to simulate twisting and turning for a more lively animation using the bone tool to keep everything together. If this sounds like nonsense or just flat out confusing I can illustrate the issue in about a day and provide examples.

As for secondary questions, I plan to pratice animation for the future and get a head start for college and hopefully a job. Since adobe flash is only available to me from school borrowed laptops, I wont able to pratice using it in the future until I finally get my first job. Is there a free/cheaper alternative to flash? Like how inkscape is to illustrator or gimp is to photoshop?

Again I'll gladly clarify anything that needs to be. I am eager to
learn more about animation. Thank you for taking the time to read my possibly completely dumb questions.

Hello Bobby,

You need to take your time and learn the basics.
What you're asking for is a way to do animation without really learning animation or the program you are using to do do the job.

The tweening in  flash does not create the type of in-between you are looking for. Do the tutorials and it will become clearer.

Practice with the tutorials that come with the program to learn how to use the program properly. Read up on hoe to really animate. it took me years to learn how to be a real animator, not just a guy who makes things move around on the screen. Animation takes study and patience. The program is just a tool the same way a pencil is a tool. My first drawings and animation were pretty awful. I didn't just sit down and make a film.

If you like the concept of replacing parts and heads you should try stop motion animation like the way "Nightmare Before Christmas" was done.

Flip Books: The free cheap way to do animation is paper and pencil. You then can flip the pages to see if your animation is what you want.

Helpful books:

Be patient. Study. Practice.

Hope this helps.



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Russell Calabrese


Technical questions about hand drawn and computer animation techniques and production. Historical questions about cartoons and animation.


30+ years as an Animator, Director and Producer of Television, Feature, Commercial and Independent Animation.

Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (Senior Governorof the Animation Peer Group) Executive Board Member of The Animation Guild ASIFA Hollywood

SVA, Rutgers University

Awards and Honors
Emmy Award winning Director 2007 "Where's Lazlo?: Camp Lazlo"
Emmy Award winning Director 1999 for "Steven Spielberg Presents Pinky and the Brain"

Past/Present Clients
Warner Brothers, Disney, Cartoon Network

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