When exported as in .sfw (Shock Wave Format), animations made in Flash maintain their vector graphic qualities. This means that their lines remain sharp when projected onto a large screen (such as for conferences and exhibitions).

However, I also need to distribute animations in ways that make them easy for scientists and others to use them. The move file format is standard for including in Powerpoint presentations and uploading to Utube and Vimeo.

For ages I’ve had problems exporting simple line animations from Flash to video format. When I ‘export’ to .avi or .move (in Windows or Mac), the quality is poor and oftentimes visual ‘artifacts’ appear between the lines.

Finally I find out how to create decent quality .avi files from line drawn Flash animations.
Here are notes that I made about how I made this one:

1. Create animation, with sound, in a single scene within Flash in a Mac or Windows system.

2. Save the edited sound file separately as an .mp3.

3. Export movie from Flash as a sequence of .jpg files (typically 720×576, 25 frames per second).

4. Copy the jpgs into a folder in Linux.

5. Right click in the folder and select “Open in terminal”.

6. Use mencoder to:

A. Make an .avi from the .jpg images exported from Flash. To do this, type od cut and paste:

mencoder “mf://*.jpg” -o movie.avi -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg

(“mf://*.jpg” does not need to be renamed. This will handle .jpg files numbered sequentially.)

(“-o”= output file. Can change “move.avi” to “krillsex.avi” for example)

(Default frame rate is 25 fps – frames per second.)


NB To define frame rate:

coded with

mencoder “mf://*.jpg” -o movie.avi -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg

gives 25 frames per second

for 15fps
mencoder “mf://*.jpg” -o movie.avi -mf fps=15 -ovc lavc -lavcopts vcodec=mjpeg


B. Make sure the sound file is in the same folder as the jpgs. Add the sound file to the .avi file just created. Type or copy and paste:

mencoder input.avi -o output.avi -ovc copy -oac copy -audiofile soundtrack.mp3

(Rename “input.avi” to “krillsex.avi”, for example)
(Rename “soundtrack.mp3” to name of audio file edited to synchronise with the animation.)

Another problem that I am working on now is to conform my animations (set at 720×576 aspect ratio) to the present video standard size of 720×1080. The black bands at either side of my animation, ‘How do krill grow’, above and at, reveal this problem. It seems I may need to resize all my animations and realign each component in them! There has to be a simpler way. At least now I know to start new animations in the new size.

I would be grateful to hear from other people who have come up with other, perhaps better, solutions to my problems!