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in both of these cases you would be far better off using scripting and math in order to accomplish these goals - doing it on the timeline would be next to impossible.
to move items in a circle - create a single block with the registration point in relation to the radius of the circle (same with the smaller blocks) then use script as in: block_mc._rotation = x; to move the block. it will take some math and a few algorithms to determine the 'movement' of the blocks, and when blocks are in contact, and so on. but this would be far more dynamic and much simpler than using the timeline.
the other item you mention (3D) is called a 'carousel' and there are many tutorials on how to construct one - search here and google it. it is not done using the timeline - it's achieved with scripting.
but both 3D circle motion and 2D circle motion, i looked into the fla file, they all use frame by frame to do it, it looks like it's not impossible to do and the motion is really great - take a look at the time line
I am sure my friend finish the motion frames in 1 - 2 days, that's acceptable i guess.
My guess would be it depends on who's paying for those days to get it done. And if another object had to be added at some point, then each piece/frame would have to be repositioned manually.
Chances are a mathematical approach would take some fraction of the time and the motion could be even smoother, but the only way to know for sure is to try it and see. The mathematical approach would also provide a learning experience that would benefit the creator's skill set.
1) math approch - if never need to be change, code can re-used
2) frame by frame approch - need change everything from start if things/scene need to be change
is that true?
are there chance people is using 3rd party software to do the animation? I heard swift3D can do 3D stuff then export to flash frame by frame automatically
also take a look at the animation of the circle (make from 7 square, each square move in circle perfectly) is there any third party tool people using and then export to flash (is it very possible?)
otherwise, it would be too hard to do it frame by frame using hand isn't it? (if you take a look at the Timeline) everything of the 7 box is do my hand!