While there are many new outstanding features in Flash CS4 that are cool and flashy (e.g. Object-based animation model, 3D transformations, Inverse kinematics with the Bones tool, Adobe Media Encoder with H.264 support, and much more) don’t overlook a very simple feature that will save you a significant amount of time during the animation process: the Motion Presets panel.
The Motion Presets panel allows you to save as a preset your animation and apply it to an object on the Stage. Additionally, we’ve provided a library of prebuilt animations that you can preview before applying.
You can easily define a motion preset by simply right-clicking on any object that has a tween applied to it, and choose Save As Motion Preset. To use a motion preset, simply select any symbol on the stage, choose a preset from the Motion Presets panel, and click Apply.
I like to create complex Flash animations that involve numerous layers and staggered timelines. Having the ability in Flash CS4 to quickly apply a motion preset to multiple layers increases my productivity significantly.
Here are the steps I use when applying a motion preset to multiple layers:
Step One: Select the layer that has the motion that you’d like to create a preset from
(View image) and from the Motion Presets panel (Window>Motion Presets) click the Save selection as preset icon (View image). Name your preset.
Step Two: Select the layers that you’d like to apply a preset to (View image) (Shift-Click to select a range of layers, Control/Command-click to cherry-pick a non-contiguous selection of layers). Select the preset and click the Apply button (View image).
Here’s what the final step should look like: (View image).
Next week I’ll discuss distributing motion presets and creating a preview for a custom preset.