How to Draw Perfect Stick Figs, 3D Weapons, Impact Frames and More in Flash / Animate CC

Here are 7 Flash/Animate tutorials with totally unique techniques. If you complete 2 or more then I’ll feature your tutorial drawings at the end of this post: just ping me @HeartOfTheStorm on Discord!

The Perfect Stickfigure

How do you find your perfect stickfig style? That depends whether you want a more refined or cartoonish look.

For the clean and pro look, base your proportions on the human body. Proportions are just the relative lengths of body parts; so use a human reference and your stickfigs will automatically look better.

Proportions of human and stickfigure.

Human images by Jazza, available here.

You can make your stickfigs fancier by adding feet, hands, hips, and/or shoulders. The more human features, the more you’ll understand the real body. It’s hardcore but I recommend it, especially if you want to do fullbody later.

^ Lines get thinner based on distance!

After you’ve grasped human proportions you can choose to exaggerate them. Unsure of what to exaggerate? Use cartoons as reference, and emphasize the extremes of a character. What features are important? What features can you shrink to make the important features seem bigger?

^ Refs and advice by @Stickly

Make sure to balance proportions so that when you make one thing larger, make something else smaller. Knowing realistic proportions is a huge help when you’re making cartoon proportions, because you’ll know if it looks believable (which is different from realistic).

How to Draw 3D Weapons

1. Draw a side view of the weapon using the brush or line tool, clean lines are better:

How to draw 3D Weapons in Flash and Animate CC - Sword - Step 1

2. Squash and/or skew it, duplicate it:

Step 2

3. Move the sharp bits into the center, join the edges, clean it up!

Step 3

If you want a front view, just lead your lines down. Draw straight by holding Shift with the Brush or Line tool:

Step 4
Extra Example Sword

Sometimes you only need to do steps 1 and 2:

How to Draw Impact Frames

Impact Frames are frames which make an impact more convincing through flashing colors and lines. It’s fine if they’re subtle or even overdone!

How to draw impact frames in Flash and Animate CC - example

For simplest impact frame: draw a white rectangle over your stage, select it, then press F8 to make it a MovieClip. Click it again and then use Blending to invert the colors of your anim for a few frames.

If it lasts more than a few frames it implies time stops!

I use many different Blending options. Choose one, then press the up/down arrow keys to rapidly find one you like. The Color Effects properties are also crucial since they can change the tint and transparency of your rectangle.

To upgrade your impact frames: draw random lines, sparkles, and add radial gradients. Everything radiates from the source of impact.

For traditional impact frames: print out your frame in a light color then ink the lines with a brush pen. Next scan it and add some filters/gradients in Photoshop. Optionally paint glow around the ink.

How to Draw Cones

How to draw cones in Flash and Animate CC

Glow Without Lag

The Glow and Blur MovieClip filters are easy to use but laggy.

For the simplest alternative glow you can use linear and radial gradients with the alpha turned down:

A different alternative which makes glow surround a shape is Soften Fill Edges.

  • 1. Copy the original shape, change it to the color of glow you want. Don’t convert it to a symbol:
  • 2. With it selected, at the top click Modify>Shape>Soften Fill Edges:
  • 3. Ctrl-Shift-V to paste the original in place:

The drawback is that it screws up complicated objects, so if it’s screwing up then take the original shape and Modify>Shape>Optimize by 1% or so. It’s finnicky, so mess around with it and test its limitations.

How to Draw Gears

How to draw gears in Flash and Animate CC

How to Draw Chains

1. Start with a guide: draw a crappy chain or a curved line to follow.

How to draw chains in Flash and Animate CC - Step 1

2. Use a reference to draw a chain link in any style (use mirroring for nice symmetry), then draw a couple rotations of it. You only need 2 angles of the chain link (front and side), but I wanted 4 for variety.

Step 2 - chain links

3. Select each chain link and press Ctrl-g on one at a time so they won’t conflict with each other, then copy-paste and place them. Right-click>Arrange helps overlap.

Step 3

4. If you’ve got ugly overlap: select every-other chain link (the sideways ones you’ll erase stuff from). Cut and paste them to a higher layer.

Step 4

5. With them selected, Ctrl-b to break them into basic shapes, temporarily make them a different color if you want them to stand out from the ones below. Erase any parts that should be hidden by the chain links below.

Step 5

You’re dunzo kid

Step 6 final version

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You absolute madman, wish you could’ve gone back in time and written this back when I started out! Great work, HOTS.


I’m really going to need this eventually <3