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Onion Skinning

Onion skinning is a useful technique when youre working with Flash documents that contain lots of frames (rather than numerous layers and not many frames). When onion skinning is turned on, Flash dims frames that surround the current frame and displays their contents on the Stage. The purpose of this is to enable you to align the frame contents more precisely.

Step 1
Some fairly complex animations have minimal frames, and so are not subject to onion skinning. See the illustration below.

Because there is only one keyframe, enabling onion skinning here produces no visible effect on the animation


Step 2
Other animations have numerous frames, and onion-skinning really comes into its own. In the animation below, two balls are about collide. Frame 38 has been selected.

This snapshot of the animation gives no indication of how the balls are moving


Step 3
Click the Onion Skin button at the base of the Timeline: See the illustration below for the results.

Onion skinning allows you to see where your animation is goingliterally


Step 4
Notice the onion skin markers in the Timeline. These delineate the frames being onionskinned. You can change the start and end of the onion skinning by dragging either of the markers with the mouse. Tip:
Onion skinning doesnt apply to locked or hidden layers. Therefore, hide or lock layers to keep them from making the results of onion-skinning too confusing.

Step 5

Click the Onion Skin button again to turn off onion skinning.

Start marker

End marker


Step 6
With more complex animations, it can be more useful to display onion skin outlines instead. Click this icon on the right of the Onion Skin icon:


Frame Rates
Flash creates the illusion of animation by displaying frames at a fast rate. This is expressed as a fps (frames per second) value and you can set it when you create an animation. Its important to get the fps right. If its too slow, anyone watching the animation will be able to make out the individual frames and the result will be jerky. If its too high, the animation will be blurred (and there might be performance difficulties on slow computers). Tip:
If in doubt, stick with the default of 12 fpsit works well in a variety of situations.

Step 1
In the Timeline, double-click the fps field.

A fps setting in the range 8-12 is often about right. However, this is the Timeline from the animation used to illustrate onion skinning. Here, 12 fps would have resulted in the balls moving far too slowly to be convincing


Step 2
Enter a new value in the Frame rate field. Click OK.

You can enter fps settings to one decimal place but there is rarely any need to be this precise