Flash Animation Workshop For Teachers


This is a one-day workshop for K-12 teachers interested in bringing animation into their classrooms.


  1. Teachers will be able to navigate the Flash workspace
  2. Teachers will be able to explain the basics of frame-by-frame animation
  3. Teachers will be able to explain the object-class symbol system at use in Flash
  4. Each teacher will have completed at least one transformation of one image to another


  • The collection at ICA Boston
  • Flash
  • Web browser and access to the internet
  • Photoshop or other digital image editing software (optional)

Web Resources

  • Over-the-shoulder view of Glen Keane sketching frame-by-frame:

  • Examples of past student work, see "Day 1":


10:00 - 10:15am

Arrival and introductions. Brief stop in Digital Studio to leave your belongings.

10:15 – 11:30am.

Gallery Walk. We’ll look at the work of artists Cornelia Parker, Paul Chan and Julian Opie

11:40am – 12:15 pm


12:00 - 12:20

As teachers enter the Digital Studio, they read "Use the brush tool and only one color to draw a face" written on the projector. As teachers are drawing their faces, the instructor and assistant circulate to iron out any technical issues.

After a few minutes, we each save our files to ensure that everyone is able to save their work successfully to disk.

Next, the instructor demonstrates how to create a symbol from a drawing and discusses the role of the Symbol Library in creating Flash animations. We briefly explore the concept of the "Stage" before clearing it off.

At this point, teachers will have…

  • Drawn a face
  • Saved their project
  • Created a symbol from the face
  • Cleared their main stage

12:20 - 12:30

We watch a few moments of Keane's video on screen to recall the traditional frame-by-frame animation technique.

Returning attention to our project, we double-click our face to open the symbol. The instructor calls attention to the timeline and explains each frame as a single sheet of paper from Keane's video. What is a keyframe?

Everyone creates a several new empty keyframes and the instructor demonstrates the onion-skinning feature. The teachers set their preferred skinning and select the first empty keyframe. They trace their face changing but one feature.

The instructor demonstrates previewing a looping animation and stepping back and forth through frames with the keyboard shortcuts.

12:30 - 12:40

Teachers are now encouraged to create a frame-by-frame animation in which their face changes its expression. They may make as many or as few frames as they wish.

12:40 - 12:45

Everyone sets their animation to loop and gets up to walk around the room for a few minutes, stretch legs, get a drink of water, and see what other people have been doing.

12:45 - 12:50

Check in. What's confusing? Should we review anything?

Introduce the main project for today: the transformation of one image into another. (Is there a student project to illustrate this?)

12:50 - 1:00

Brainstorming and locating reference images using Google Image Search. Teachers save them to their local disks.

The instructor will demonstrate copying the images into Flash and introduce the difference between vector and raster images.

1:00 - 1:20

The instructor will demonstrate two approaches to creating vector traces of raster images. Teachers will then make vector traces of their images.

By this point, each teacher will have a symbol library with animated face, and two vector traces.

1:20 - 1:30

Return to original Scene. Drag vector trace and create a second symbol. Next, open the new symbol, create an empty keyframe, and drag in the second trace.

Next the instructor creates filled keyframes and demonstrates techniques for modifying the existing image.

Discuss modification v. re-drawing strategies.

1:30 - 1:50

Teachers will work on making their transformation as the instructor and assistant circulate through the classroom.

1:50 - 2:00

Take another short break and walk around to check out each other's work.

At this point, teachers should have ...

  • An animated face
  • Two still vector traces
  • One vector blend

2:00 - 2:15

What worked? What didnt?

Introduce tween functionality. Motion versus Shape tweening. Limitations to tweening. Timing your tweens.

2:15 - 2:45

Return to consider the main stage. Instructor will demonstrate blending animations on multiple timelines and multiple layers. Everyone will also define the size of their final stage and their frames per sec.

Note the limitations of the stage preview and demonstrate more real-world previews.

Share more student work and review video of Paul Chan.

2:45 - 3:15pm

Time to work on projects with instructor and assistant circulating to address individual questions.

3:15 – 4:15pm

Presentations in Digital Studio

4:15 – 4:30pm

Fill out evaluations, wrap-up

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