6 Replies Latest reply on Apr 28, 2009 11:57 PM by SiamJai

    Can't reverse states or reverse animations

      I have a page where individual letters drop into the page to form a word.


      To get the letters to create a well formed word, I reversed the animation, starting at the word (the final target) and moving the letters away and off the page (to the starting point). I thought that when finished, I could simply reverse the states with the animations, the letters would drop into the page as intended.


      For some reason, I can't get the states to reverse (commands>document>reverse states) when choosing the range (i.e. state 9 to 20). The first and last states will swap, but that's it. Moving them manually won't work either.


      The word has 10 characters, so each state contains 10 instantces (on one layer) and the background bitmap.


      Each letter is a Symbol (making it's a mystery as to how to edit an animated symbol --  seems the best way is to delete it and start over.)



      Any and all ideas are appreciated!




        • 1. Re: Can't reverse states or reverse animations
          SiamJai Level 2

          Hi again, Pat!


          No good news this time, I'm afraid. Reverse States and other state-manipulating commands don't work with animated symbols. The likely reason is that the symbol is not actually present in states other than the beginning one (where you first defined the symbol). All of the symbol's instances in subsequent states are "ghost" objects; there is no actual object to be manipulated in those states. (You can verify this when you look at the Layers panel on various states.)


          I guess that Fireworks' state-manipulating commands were meant for "traditional" animations, like GIFs, where each state has real objects in its layers.


          So in theory, you could reverse the states if each instance of your animated symbol could be released to its respective state as a real object. I'm still trying to figure a way to do that. I'll let you know here when (if) I figured it out - or someone else might help you out in the meantime.


          Good luck!





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          • 2. Re: Can't reverse states or reverse animations
            Level 1

            Dear SiamJai,


            Thanks for the information. That's interesting to learn about animated

            symbols. It will be very difficult to animate the parts in reverse. I hope

            there is some type of work-around.


            Thank you so much for your help and your valuable time spent to help with

            this problem.



            • 3. Re: Can't reverse states or reverse animations
              Level 1

              Dear SiamJai:


              Here is what I tried.


              I took the word, converted it to paths and tried manually moving the letters

              on succeeding stages. That causes the letters loose all shape if rotated by

              even one pixel. So, that didn't work for me. Then I turned each letter into

              a graphic symbol and "tweened" them. I can't get the effect I wanted, but

              it's all I could come up with.





              • 4. Re: Can't reverse states or reverse animations
                SiamJai Level 2

                Hi Pat,


                I played around with the problem yesterday, but I couldn't find a way to release the symbol's instances to objects in each state. However, I found the solution in a simpler approach that might just work. 


                I hope that you still have the animated-symbol versions of the letters. We can manually switch each symbol's beginning and end points around, so the letter's animation will start off-stage and it will stop on the exact place on canvas where the word will be formed. We don't need to worry about the in-between states; the symbol will automatically re-adjust those states during runtime (since there are no actual images in those states: the cause of our original problem).



                Here is how it works:


                1. Select the first letter in the first frame. You will see a number of dots that show the motion path of the symbol. For us, the important ones are the first and last dots. We'll switch these around.

                2. We need to mark the location of the very first dot that originates at the symbol. We could use the guides to do this. Make sure that the Ruler and Guides are visible (Ctrl+Alt+R for rulers, Ctrl+; to toggle the guides).

                3. Drag one horiontal and one vertical guide out from the rulers and release them at the position of the first motion path dot of the symbol (forming a crosshair on it).

                4. Now that the position is marked, we can freely move the letter symbol offstage. First, turn the motion path direction somewhere opposite to its current direction, and then drag the symbol to the spot where you'd like it to start from.

                5. Once the symbol is in its new place, carefully align the last dot of the motion path to the guide-crosshairs we made earlier.

                6. Play the animation and watch the letter move towards its final position in the word.

                7. Repeat for the rest of the letters. (Make sure you do this on the same state where the symbol starts, otherwise it won't work.) To reduce the clutter, you can re-use the same guides we used for the first symbol.



                I hope that'll help. If you have any questions, please let me know.


                Thanks for bringing this problem up. It would be certainly be easier to have a more automatic solution. For now I'll add a caveat to the online Fireworks manual about animation commands not working with animated symbols, and perhaps log a request or two.


                Best luck!






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                • 5. Re: Can't reverse states or reverse animations
                  Level 1

                  Hi, SiamJai!


                  Thanks so much for spending your time on this problem. I like your technique

                  better than tweening, but it still won't do what the ability to reverse an

                  animation should do. Your method and tweening behave almost the same way.


                  Your method, as with tweening, does not allow altering the rotation of the

                  symbol (or in this case, the letter). I tried it with both techniques. With

                  Tweening, the graphic symbol (or text character) disintegrates if the

                  rotation is altered. Using your method, if I rotate the letter at the start

                  of the animation (which is now the end that has been pulled to the page

                  edge), the end of the animation will also be rotated. So, that doesn't work.


                  I don't seem to remember this problem in earlier versions written by

                  Macromedia. Somewhere along the line, something must have changed. It seems

                  that the ability to reverse an animation would be a standard feature for any

                  animation program. Maybe gif animation wasn't on their radar since Adobe is

                  concentrating on enhancing their other objectives. Unfortunately, 20% of

                  viewers for these ads do not have Flash installed on their corporate

                  computers, so I was asked to make gif animations.


                  It would be terrific if they would put back in the ability to reverse an

                  animation, but I'm skeptical that they would think it was worth their time.

                  I would be happy I you asked for this correction.


                  SiamJai, you have been a big help. I really appreciate that you have taken

                  the time to help out.


                  My sincerest regards,



                  • 6. Re: Can't reverse states or reverse animations
                    SiamJai Level 2

                    Hi Pat,


                    Yeah, this won't work with rotations - I assumed that the animation had only movement. Sorry about that.

                    There is one more thing that could be worth a try. You could finish the entire animation as it is (in reverse). When you're done, export an animated GIF, open the exported GIF in Fireworks, and try the Reverse States command again. Since the GIF has an actual object in each state, it should reverse the states properly.


                    I hope that this will do the job. :-)


                    (By the way, I totally agree with your assessment about GIF vs. Flash. The plugin-dependence of the swf format can exclude a significant number of potential viewers, depending on the target audience. In theory, one could use the Flash authoring tool to export GIF animations too, but the quality of that GIF does not compare to FW-gifs well.)


                    Best luck,






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