Hello! Once, i worked on a project in Adobe Flash a long time ago, back when I was in high school. I created a dragon, a simple one, with some animations. However, the dragon lacked grace, bones, and such. Does this program still support manual animation drawings? Like, I want to create many monsters, people, and such with custom animations, each individually hand drawn like a flip book, to create a smooth transition with realistic movements. I don't think Character Animator or After Effects can help me achieve this (correct me if I'm wrong), as Character Animator deals with simple shapes and bones, while after effects requires professional understanding of the program.
Also, if I were to start a project in Animate, and Flash Player is deceased at this point, in the future, this program were to disappear/become depricated, what would happen to all of my work? Would it become unusable? I don't plan on exporting the animations as flash, but instead, as gifs with individual frames to be used in animation programs as massive fully-rendered images (that work kind of like sprites.)
I'll give some background of the game in question. It's a game based on an old Facebook Game called Dragonville. You are a dragon tamer, and you catch and train dragons in the wild. You battle dragons and monsters along the way.
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Yes, the type of animation which you describe is called "frame by frame" animation, instead of cut-out animation (which uses segmented characters). Frame by frame animation is very well supported in Animate.
It is also possible to combine frame by frame with a bit of cut-out animation to great effect, which may save you time depending on what you intend to achieve. If you do, I would suggest the Flanimate tools plugin, because Animate's native cut-out animation tools are buggy and half-heartedly implemented at best. https://flash-powertools.com/
Don't worry about the Flash player being deprecated in 2020: if your intention is to animate and output the animation as game assets, the Flash player is completely irrelevent for your work. That said, you can still export your frames as SWF and use a tool like TexturePacker to generate high quality spritesheets which are then imported in your game engine of choice.
This workflow doesn't work with all 2d game engines, though (for example, Construct will create its own spritesheets, which is a bother at times). But Godot or Unity work fine, for example.
By the way, depending on your game engine, AVOID GIF! Gif is a very limited format, and only supports up to 256 colours and only 1 bit transparency (either on or off: no semi-transparency!). It often results in sub-par sprite quality, in particular if you want nice looking anti-aliased looking edges. Instead, use a sprite sheet or use the game engine's built-in sprite animation tools to import the individual sprite frames to create the animations.
Looking at DragonVille, they definitely did NOT make use of Gif animations, but PNG or similar assets with full transparency support.
Ok, thanks for letting me know all that. And yes, I knew the GIF issue, I just forgot to state otherwise. However, is SWF lossless? Isn't there another codec out there that is lossless and compatible with most engines?
SWF is vector-based, which means that it can be rasterised at any resolution and the alpha channel generated for the sprites will have 8-bits of information, i.e. full grayscale. This in turn means antialiased assets and all kinds of possibilities to control effects and blending modes.
"Is SWF lossless?" is a nonsense question. SWF isn't a codec, like WAV or MPEG. It's more like an EXE file, compiled for execution by the Flash Player.
What you should export your frames as is PNG, which is lossless, and supports full 32-bit RGBA.
Ok, so, it's not really a nonsense question. I've seen lots of .swf files, and downloaded some myself back in the day. And now that I think about it, your right, I have download a container for games and flash stuff using swf. So, I guess it has nothing to do with filesize and quality. However, it, like wav, png, and exe files, is an extension, which I guess is where the confusion came in. In addition to that, when you click "File > Export", it appears in the "Movie" export choice, which is also probably why I thought it would be lossy or lossless.
Actually, you are not completely wrong in your thinking: even though SWF is more of a compiled container file, some game engines have always supported SWF files for direct import as game assets. GameMaker Studio, for example, allows for SWF-based sprites to be imported.
And tools like TexturePacker import SWF sprites and allow for automatic animated spritesheet packing with custom final resolution (because SWF is vector based). SWF has had a role in game asset generation for quite a long time, and depending on your toolchain, is still a viable choice as an intermediate file.
Although I would personally at this point no longer rely on the SWF format, because Adobe is removing SWF support from all of its software. I would not be surprised if in a year Animate CC will no longer support SWF export. Better to rely on PNG (sequences or spritesheets) and import those in your game engine.
Out of curiosity, which game engine(s) are you considering to create your game?