flash « Labs @ Jam3 – Toronto Web Development Reseach Blog

By: Labs @ Jam3 Toronto Web Development Reseach Blog  09-12-2011

Firstly, if the animator is animating something for actual use in a site, you make sure that they limit the amount extra animations. If the animator is making an animation guide then they are free to incorporate all parts of the site for proofing. However, normally the animator is trying to provide the developers with a specific effect for a specific graphic.

It’s important that the animator organize the .fla properly. This means they should try to limit the amount of clip nesting. The animator should be instructed to only nest clips when absolutely necessary. This makes it easy for the developer to control animations (e.g. the speed of the animation or start timings) and to remove parts that may no longer be needed. Also, there should be a discussion with the animator about how things should be named in the library.

Next, it’s very important that the animator is consistent with registration point placement. Ideally the placement will be dictated by the developer but if that’s not possible it’s important that the animator chooses one placement and sticks with it. Top-left or centered is fine as long as its consistent throughout the file.

Another useful tool an animator/producer/developer can use to help organise animations are frame labels. They are very useful in identifying frames and states such as “up”, “over”, “animate in”, etc… Since these are case sensitive it is important that they are consistent. Either all uppercase, or all lowercase. camelCasing or Proper Casing are possibilities as well, assuming their use is consistent.

The biggest takeaway when working with an animator is that they understand how important it is to be consistent. The developer shouldn’t have to constantly check how a clip is placed or what case a frame label is in. It cannot be assumed that the animator understands why this is necessary and, frankly, it is not their responsibility to know these kinds of things without being told. It is up to you (i.e. developers/producers/designers) to make sure that the animator knows how you want the clip.

If animators are given proper instructions, development time can be saved or put to better use. There is nothing more frustrating than to have to redo something because proper communication wasn’t present at the beginning of the project.

When everybody is on the same page, it is a magical time when projects take that extra leap from good to great.

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