Flash has come a long way since its early web-based vector days, and the new CS4 version boasts some pretty impressive extra features, such as the ability to create 3D layers 'postcard' style. It's already the 2D animation package of choice for most of the major animation studios in London (Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon to name but two), but with CS4 expanding into the realms of 3D, there's never been a better time to get to grips with the program if you're an aspiring animator.
In this project, I run you through the basics of the new features. The following steps reveal how to animate 3D layers by creating a movie clip of a simple magician character converting a 2D box into 3D, which we animate with keyframes. The process takes advantage of the improved synergy between Flash CS4 and Photoshop CS4 - importing elements from the latter to add visual flair - and will result in a character that's ready to export into After Effects.
You will find a finished working version of the FLA file in the support download in case you get lost at any stage, plus a movie clip showing how it should end up looking.