Learn to Tell the Difference Between Motion and Classic Tweens

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Before Flash CS4 there were motion tweens and shape tweens—but CS4 introduces classic tweens. A shape tween is a transformation tween, while motion tweens and classic tweens affect position and rotation.

Tweens, Defined

A motion tween animates symbols moving in space; when you create a motion tween, click on any frame in the tween, move the symbol on that frame, and watch Flash automatically build a motion path animating the frames between that frame and the next keyframe. Any frame where you've manually moved the tweened symbol becomes a keyframe.

Shape tweens, on the other hand, perform distortions on non-symbol shapes and vector graphics. If you create one shape on one keyframe and another shape on another keyframe, connect those two shapes with a shape tween. The tween will perform whatever calculations and morphs needed to transform the first shape into the second.

A classic tween works the way motion tweens used to, in versions CS3 and earlier. In this kind of motion tween, you'd have to manually create all your keyframes and connect all of them with motion tweens that followed point A to point B.

In Adobe Animate, motion tweens superseded classic tweens; classic tweens persisted for backward compatibility and were renamed. In essence, the motion tweens of CS3 became the classic tweens of CS4, with CS4 introducing several substantial modifications to how this type of animation functions.

Adobe has discontinued Flash, with final end-of-life scheduled for December 2020. Read Adobe's blog post for additional guidance about mitigating Flash dependencies.