Creating Smooth Animations in Flash

Shawn Escott - October 14, 2009

Have you ever wondered how some Flash sites have slick, smooth animations? When it comes to creating smooth animation in Flash, there are some things to keep in mind.

A common mistake for Flash beginners is to use Flash’s preset frame rate which is 12 frames per second (fps). This will invariably cause animation with a choppy, stuttering look. What we really want is a smooth, crisp animation similar to video and film. To do this, we must increase our frame rate.

The frame rate of a motion picture is 24 frames per second. Television uses 30 frames per second. These frame rates are what’s required to create convincing movement of still images.

Flash gives you the option to choose a frame rate between .01 and 120 fps. Chances are, you will never need to go as high as 120 fps or as low as .01 fps. Somewhere in-between is the magic number.

To get a better idea of how frames per second works take a look at the chart below. You can see visually how frame rate can make a big difference between choppy and smooth animation.


I’ve found through many years of animating in flash that a good round number is 30 fps. You can get a good smooth animated punch with this frame rate. I’ve even used up to 60 fps which can have a great snap and crispness to it. Be careful, however, when using a rate this high, as some people may have slower computers and cannot process the information being streamed over the internet.

Next time we’ll discuss the principles of animation and how to utilize them for maximum effect.

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