Animating a Zoom Effect in Flash

A zoom effect is created when a camera moves forward or backward to encompass more or less of a scene. While Flash doesn't technically have a camera, you can simulate the effect using animation.

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You can actually do this one of two ways: using shape tweens, or using motion tweens. Shape tweens only work when you have simple vector art drawn in Flash, so for the sake of consistency, we'll do this using a motion tween. That means if you've decided to create a zoom effect on Flash artwork, you'll need to turn it into a symbol. The same with any images you've chosen to import.

We've started with a basic rectangle with a bitmap file and used the Free Transform Tool to make it smaller than my stage. For the demonstration, we're going to zoom in until it fills the entire stage.

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Copy Frames

On your timeline, right-click on the layer and keyframe containing the image you want to zoom. Select Copy Frames to make a duplicate of that frame on your clipboard.

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Choose the Number of Frames for Your Zoom

Decide how many frames your zoom effect should span based on your frame rate and the number of seconds you want it to last. We want a five-second zoom at standard web 12fps, so we're going to create a 60-frame animation.

On frame 60 (or whatever your corresponding frame is), right-click and choose Paste Frames to insert the copied keyframe and create a stretch of static frames.

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Select Your Symbol

On the last frame of your animation, select your symbol. Use the Free Transform Tool to enlarge or shrink the image depending on if you want to zoom in or zoom out (shrink it to zoom out, enlarge it to zoom in). We've enlarged mine, zooming in on the pattern.

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Create Motion Tween

Select any frame in between your first and last frames in the zoom animation. Right-click and select Create Motion Tween. This will use motion tweening to interpolate the frames between the largest and smallest version of the image, making it appear to shrink or expand. With the stage acting as the camera's view area, when embedded in a web page the animation will appear to zoom in or out.

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End Product

This (admittedly grainy) GIF example demonstrates the basic effect. You can use it to greater effect zooming in or out on animated characters, scenes, and objects to enhance your animation cinematography.