Click image to view the final project.



The Tutorial
Animated Objects
Image Sequences
Time-Independent Animations
Object States/Rollovers

Tools Used
Adobe LiveMotion
Adobe Photoshop
Strata 3D




LiveMotion Tip 1
Object Opacity and Layer Opacity are not the same. In simple rollovers involving regular, non-time-independent animations, the Layer opacity can change between object states. The Object Opacity cannot.



Creative Mac

Complex Animation in Adobe LiveMotion

Working with time-independent motion and multiple states within a looping composition

by David Nagel
Executive Producer
[email protected]

First a little definition. This tutorial is called "Complex Animation in Adobe LiveMotion." By "complex," I don't mean that the project is necessarily difficult to do. I just mean that the end result involves numerous objects operating in various states—relating to mouse position or triggers from other objects. It also involves a looping composition, meaning that the entire animation plays over and over. Within this looping composition are objects that do not loop. For example, our project involves a 24-second animation. At the beginning of the animation, several titles fade in. But you wouldn't want them fading in every 24 seconds, would you? Nope. So, while the composition loops, certain elements do not: The title fades in at the beginning and stays in throughout the animation. Finally, we also have elements that only start animating once a certain trigger occurs. This involves making objects in the timeline "Time-Independent." We'll get to this a bit later.

So we'll look at all of these elements and how to make them work together. Let's get started, shall we?

Getting started
First off, before you embark upon a project like this, make sure you have it all planned out in the beginning. Know which elements you want to use and what you want them to do. I went back and forth several times on this project trying to figure out what I liked and what I didn't, and it cost me a lot of time and frustration. Time because I needed to get this thing written this year; frustration because making changes in the timeline in LiveMotion can cause a lot of unforeseen problems. In some cases, swapping out objects in the middle of a project will cause errors when you try to export to the Flash format. In other cases, you just have to go through the laborious process of recreating all of the object states you lost by deleting an object, as well as redirecting all of your links.

Lesson No. 1: Plan first.

Next lesson? Save often. Actually, let me modify that: "Save As"often. At each new stage of your project, save your file under a different name. This will help keep your code clean and reduce your file size. By the end of this project, my LiveMotion file was above 100 MB, and my RAM allocation was barely enough at 200 MB. That doesn't leave a lot of room for jumping back and forth between LiveMotion and other programs. Using Save As will actually decrease your file size because it will cause LiveMotion to rewrite your file without referencing all of your undos and deleted objects.

Finally, above all else, remember that each time you preview your file or open your file, your timeline will default to the end. Do you know what happens when you place an object when your timeline is at the end? The object only appears in the last frame of the animation. And stretching your object's timeline back to the beginning just causes other problems. So always check to make sure your timeline is set at Frame Zero (00s) before placing any new objects.

The setup
For the purpose of this tutorial, I've set up a fictitious travel company called "Celestial Travel, a Division of Nagelgruppe Heavy Chemical GmbH." This travel company books passages on spaceships and provides tours of planets in our solar system. They hired me to create a Flash-animated Web site to promote their services—like one of those useless brochure sites you see all over the Web, but with a little interactivity.


Post a message in the Creative Mac user forum or the Adobe LiveMotion user forum.

More TutorialsNewsHome

Visit Our New Sections!