How to Create Movie Clip Symbols in Adobe Animate

Movie clip symbols have different attributes than graphic symbols. The animation for a graphic symbol can be specified to occur at specific frames, whereas movie clip symbols have self-contained animation that always loops. In addition, movie clips can be coded with ActionScript.

  1. To make a symbol from a graphic, right-click on it and choose Convert to Symbol. The default Type is set to Movie Clip. Give the symbol a name and click OK.
    Convert to Symbol
  2. You can even create nested movie clips. Here I've created two shapes on the stage, and converted both to movie clip symbols that I want to animate together on a loop. Also shown are the Timeline and Library.
    Wave Shapes
  3. With both symbols selected, they can be turned into a movie clip group by right-clicking and choosing Convert to Symbol. Leaving the Type set to Movie Clip, I've named the symbol group wave-animation.
    Convert to Symbol
  4. Next I want to edit the symbol. First, I've deleted the two original wave layers in the Timeline. Then I created a new layer and added my new nested movie clip group to the stage. To edit the symbol go to the stage, right-click on the symbol and choose Edit in Place.
    Edit in Place
  5. When editing the symbol group in isolation mode, the two shapes can be selected and modified separately on both the stage and the Timeline. Edits to the Timeline apply only to the symbol, independently of the project's Timeline. I want to create a tween, so first I need to separate the movie clip instance into different layers. An easy way to do that is right-click on the instance on the stage and choose Distribute to Layers.
  6. In the Timeline, the two different shapes have been added as layers. I'll start with the bottom layer, right-clicking on frames 24 and then 48 to choose Insert Keyframe.
    Insert Keyframe
  7. To change the position of the wave, I click on the middle keyframe, then go to stage and move the shape. Then I'll go back to the Timeline, right-click on frame 12 (middle of the opening keyframe) and choose Create Classic Tween. I'll do the same on frame 36 (middle of closing keyframe).
    Create Classic Tween
  8. Steps 6 and 7 need to be repeated for each layer in the movie clip group.
  9. Exit isolation mode by clicking the arrow at the left of the Edit Bar.
Author: Kate Cahill

Kate Cahill is a graphic designer, writer, and creative director who has developed content for print and web. As creative director, she has produced award-winning work for agencies focused on the pharmaceutical and health and beauty aid industries. She has also served as production manager, with responsibility for the successful fulfillment of long-run print contracts. Kate has been delivering training for Webucator clients since 2010. Her enthusiasm for cutting-edge technology, combined with hands-on practical experience, brings an added benefit to her classes. Kate teaches real-world techniques and integration of Adobe software, as well as Microsoft PowerPoint, to produce a fully developed and cohesive brand identity.

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