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SEE IT! LIKE IT! BUY IT!Flash Animation 101: A behind the scenes look at what's involved in creating an effective web site animation

Animation is more involved than what appears in the final product.There are many aspects of animation that go unnoticed, such aspaying attention to, and complimenting the message, legibility andlimiti...

Animation is more involved than what appears in the final product.
There are many aspects of animation that go unnoticed, such as
paying attention to, and complimenting the message, legibility and
limiting motion and breaking up the monotony. Let me explain how I
planned and animated the flash banner at

It is important to ensure that your copy is legible. It goes without
saying that if you can't read the message, then you've failed already.
I use white copy on a medium blue background in the opening scene. The copy
is legible and is isolated in the corner so that the eye is drawn to it.
If I were to have multiple simultaneous animation on the banner in that
scene, then the important message of, "Get Incredible Cruise Bargains"
would suffer. Too much motion at once is distracting. Let your viewers
have a chance to absorb your message before you start flying more copy
in their faces.

Finding a way to break the monotony is very important. If you maintain a
consistent standard for introducing your copy and it does not vary at all,
then nothing important sticks out. Notice that I use an anchor to pull up
the copy, "All Ports Worldwide!" This scene is effective, as the rest of
the images have been "dissolved" and the simple animation of the anchor
introduces the new copy without distracting from the message.

Nearing the final scenes, the copy "We'll find what you want for less!"
is animated to jump out at you the viewer. The "For Less" copy is enlarged
and centered so that it becomes the main focus. When it becomes smaller,
it changes color so that it is still the primary focus. Still images are
cycling underneath to give the viewer indications of the diversity that
is possible with one of these fabulous cruises. We want them to see this,
but it is more important for them to see the message above. Take great
care in ensuring that your message is primary and the images are a

Finally, I use another "dissolve" in the end scene to take away the old
images and reintroduce the image used in the first scene. "Dissolves"
and "straight cuts" are a few of the best "transitions" to use. You will
often find them in film and television, we just never pay attention to
those little details. This is when one object, scene, clip or animation
fades away, while the other fades in. In digital video, one clip slightly
overlaps the other clip and a "transition" is between them. I use dissolves
and straight cuts in the final animation because the objects in the final
scene are positioned so that your eye is drawn to them automatically
without the need for further animation.

When you begin your animation, make sure you have a plan. Sketch out a
timeline and know what you want to accomplish before hand to avoid a
chaotic and disorganized animation. Vary the style of animation to
create diversity and maintain interest. This is a rule that can be
applied to many things. If you bold all of your copy, then nothing
sticks out. If you fade in all your text, then nothing will stick out
in your animation either. Pay close attention to the most important
messages in your animation and use motion to draw the eye to it.
Remember, not everything needs to be animated. If you doScience Articles, then you
will have an animation that looks like objects thrown into a dust storm.
You will lose the power of the animation and subsequently
reduce the power of your marketing message.

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Cris Anderson, PhotoShop Guru, is a member of the Worldprofit Design Team.
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