I have a big project to do right now. And my final delay is... now. It's a ~35-second animation I have to do in Adobe Flash Professional CS6. Anyone having ever animated on this software knows that problems always arise, and I'm really scared that I won't be on time, following a lot of time loss.

So on top of cutting every single non-essential bit from my scenario, I'm looking for every single trick I can use to speed up and be on time.

So here. I have three characters who need to walk. They were all designed in Adobe Illustrator, and are all made roughly the same way, from the same model, with articulations and such. And they'll all walk in a very similar way. My teacher said it's impossible, but I don't consider my teacher very competent in Flash, since even though I suck at it, the last few times he told me something was impossible, I found how to do it after a bit of fiddling.

So I wanted to ask you guys. Is there a way to set up a walking animation with one character, then have the others move according to it, in the same way? A bit like setting up a "skeleton", and then pasting different characters on it to make them walk.

Because the only way to make a walking pattern that he taught us was to do image-per-image animation (and if you ask me, whenever you have to do image-per-image animation, there's probably something you're doing wrong, because the software is supposed to animate, not just display successive images), by taking the character, putting it over a video and making it mimic it. But that requires me to do the job twice for 3/4 angle walks, and twice for walks toward the camera. A lot of time there.

Since the characters are basically the same, almost like skins I could put on a stickman, I really hope there's a way to only do the walking pattern once per angle.


1 Answer 1


This can be done using Movie Clips inside of Flash. I would start with your first character and create a movie clip for each part of the body that you wish to animate(ie. 1 for each arm, 1 for each leg, 1 for the torso, 1 for the head, etc.). Animate each of the movie clips doing the walk cycle until you are satisfied with how it looks. Then all you have to do is put that animation inside of a bigger movie clip so you can then move the character around on stage without affecting the walk cycle movie clips. All you have to do now is duplicate the entire movie clip for each of your characters and swap out the body parts. The important part of this process is to make sure all of the characters joints match up correctly.

  • Darn. They mostly do fit, but I adjusted one of them some. Like, the boy has slightly wider shoulders and narrower hips. It won't do for him, I guess? Also, when I import my Illustrator files, will there be Clip objects for each layer, or do I have to import each of them separately? My layers are organised like this (sorry about the French): i.imgur.com/n5nBw.png
    – Ariane
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 3:33
  • It will still work even though your characters are wider/taller than other ones. You will just need to adjust those movie clips individually so that the joints still match up correctly. As far as importing the character, I would have each body part on its own layer(1 layer for each arm, 1 layer for the torso, 1 for each leg, and so on). Another alternative way to import your character would be to make each body part its own .png file with transparency. If you have to keep your .swf under a certain K size, I would NOT recommend this way though. The file size will be heavy because of the .PNGs.
    – user9427
    Commented Jan 17, 2013 at 21:48
  • Well, yeah. Putting images in a vector animation is pretty silly. But uhm, does a setup like I showed work? With sub-layers.
    – Ariane
    Commented Jan 18, 2013 at 1:18

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