3D Animation in Flash

  • Posted on: 3 April 2008
  • By: Jacob

Want to do 3D in Flash? There are 3 basic ways to get 3D animation in Flash.

Methods:

  1. You can export video (or a series of images) from your 3D program, and import it into Flash. These would be basically a series of raster images (i.e. bitmaps) in Flash, that look like 3D.
  2. You can use some type of export from a 3D program that renders directly as a vector object in Flash. This would be similar to method 1, except that it would be in a Vector format instead of raster.
  3. You can use a real time Flash rendering engine. This is the newest way and has the most power for user control at run time, but the results don't look quite as good as they could using method 1. On the plus side, you don’t even need a 3D program for this!

Method 1 should be pretty self explanatory. You just export images or video from your 3D program of choice, and use them in Flash like you would any other video or series of images for an animation. The benefit of this method is that you can get a lot of detail. The down side is file size.

For method 2, there are a few different commercial options out there, but if you’re looking for a free version, there is Blender (www.blender.org) with sFlender (http://www3.sympatico.ca/emilio.aguirre/s2flender.html). This exports a native SWF file, which is entirely vector based (no Bitmaps in it), but it only works with an old version of Blender (2.36). These files can often be smaller than bitmap based files for method 1.

If you’re going for method 3, there are several rendering engines, such as PaperVision 3D, Sandy 3D, and Away 3D. These engines render the 3D in real time inside the Flash player. Getting your 3D objects into Flash can be a bit challenging, but luckily (if you’re using Blender) there is an export script for Blender, that can export directly to any of the 3 rendering engines mentioned! You can find this blender script here:
http://rozengain.com/?postid=54

If you want to spend some money, a very good option is Swift 3D. Swift 3D can export to any of the render engines mentioned, but can also export directly as vector in Flash (method 2 above).
Swift 3D is a commercial app, but the others mentioned are open source, and free.

If you own a different 3D app, (such as Maya or 3DsMax) here is a tutorial about how to get your stuff into PaperVision (this tutorial is good for Blender too, but doesn’t use the special export script mentioned above):
http://www.computerarts.co.uk/tutorials/3d__and__animation/introduction_...

That wraps up our quick article about methods for 3D in Flash! Hope you found it informative. :)

Comments

I am learning Flash and HTML thanks a lot for the tips i am gonna use them straight away . thanks a ton . 

Very nice tips , it was very clear and so easy to understand for a learner like me thanks a lot .

3D is really getting main aspect of flash and multimedia . its a very good thing to learn

The methodology is pretty nice and the way it has been explained as well. At present, I am learning HTML and Flash. I suppose I need more info on that. 

3D Animation in Flash hits the top of current trend. It is wide spread and ranks no1 in the mind of designers. 3D animated pages are more attractive and keep visitors repetitive. Do remember that flash is primarily a 2D environment so typically there is a need for a library to display and manage the 3D graphics.

I was searching for information, how to create a 3D animation. Your post really helped me a lot. Thanks for sharing information here. I wish to learn 3D animation, using these tools. The question is, which software is the best? Open source softwares or the paid ones? If, you clarigy, it would be of great help. Thanks

I wish to learn 3D animation, using these tools. The question is, which software is the best? Open source softwares or the paid ones? If, you clarigy, it would be of great help. Thanks

Thanks a lot , i am learning web designing and this was some greatly needed information i really thank you .

I've been a swift 3D user since the day it was released and I have to say it's the best stand alone software for making 3D models and animation for Flash projects. I use it for everything in 3D that I need. From making backgrounds for clients to flyers, the possibilities are limitless.

No doubts Jacob, It is really informative and crisp. I know 3d in flash is rocking but need some details regarding the rendering engines. To be focused, I just wanted to know the major functionality difference in using open source rendering engines and commercial application like Swift3d.

3D Animation in Flash seems to be complicate but worth. This technology is the bottom line to the current designers. Also thanks Jacob for some useful links incorporated in the article.

Swift 3D is the most versatile tool for creating web-ready 3D animations for use with Macromedia Flash. I use it for everything in 3D that I need. From making backgrounds for clients to flyers, the possibilities are limitless. Till date I am happy with it. Nice technology!

Learning 3D Animation is for people who want to work in the 3D animation, 3D modelling, digital design, and video effects in film and television industries, which would be great experience in 3d world
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David

The demand for 3D Flash projects has been so great that third-party applications have been written to pre-render 3D objects from 3D modeling applications. However, these applications merely create the illusion of 3D by generating key frames for each position of the 3D object. Amazing Stuff! 

Swift 3D is the most versatile tool for creating web-ready 3D animations for use with Macromedia Flash. I always had some oscillations in my mind in choosing a correct rendering engine for 3d in flash and finally decided that Swift 3D is the best. I can recommend it as I have nice experience in using it.

To my knowledge, JigLibFlash is a physics engine for 3D flash libraries, such as papervision, away and sandy, ported from an open source c++ library jiglib. It doesn’t create a 3D environment in flash by itself.

Flash is vector animation software, originally designed to create animations for display on web pages. Vector graphics are ideal for the web because they are so lightweight, so I always prefer them. 

There is 2D and 3D text with loads of text effects and transitions including motion blur. Yeah Flash creation programs are becoming more and more common nowadays.

Your blog is really very informative as it gives us step by step instructions to get 3d animation in flash. Thanking you a lot it is very helpful to HTML learner.

This information on 3D Animation in Flash helps the people to break into the 3D marketplace.It helps to learn from the experiences of working professionals as shared through insightful interviews and progressing step-by-step through modelling, texturing,lighting and animation.

From a user perspective (so I guess, also from a Flash developer's perspective), I'd have to recommend method 3, for its speed. The importance of speed versus quality in internet applications for me is always tipped in favour of the speed side. If I have to wait for a Flash engine to load to use construction software or other net applications (especially if my internet plan happens to be a bit slower than what all the developers are currently on), the annoyance of having to sit there while a little circle of dashes fades in and out far outweighs any pleasure I get from seeing a quality end product. Considering it often just distracts me from what I really want to read on the page anyway … !

If a picture or a graphic that tells thousand stories, Multimedia can tell the same in numerous ways. Multimedia is a powerful media that delivers immersive visual experience to touch your senses. And yeah 3d animation in flash gives you really a handy environment. 

i never thinking of that before read this. Thanks man, now i have an idea how to do it