Animated Object Howto

Moving things around in a userpic is a difficult task. The most accessible tools (PSP and Animation Shop) don't really support it, treating every animation like a slide show. That's a lot of manual work. Hemlock may enjoy that kind of tedium, but most folks don't. So, here's a little starting point using the two programs that really support object animation, Imageready and Fireworks. Imageready treats everything like a layer, and only works with bitmaps so you can't put in easy rotations and special effects like Fireworks can handle.


  1. Start with a blank image, transparent background.
  2. If you have a star in one of your brush collections, use it. Or, use any other object or image you want to play with. Place it in the upper-left corner of the first frame (should be only frame right now).
  3. Duplicate frame.
  4. In the second frame, drag the layer you just created down and right until it is in a good location.
  5. Go back to the first frame and select the "tween" button on the filmstrip. Make sure position is selected, as well as opacity if you changed that. Select the number of frames you want, and ok.
  6. Now all that's left is tweaking timing. Good luck.

Here's an example, with two layers "tweened" simultaneously.


  1. Start with a blank image, transparent background.
  2. Add a polygon or star shape in the upper left corner.
  3. Right-click and convert to symbol (graphic type).
  4. Now, you can open the Symbol Library palette and drag the symbol you just made out of it to the lower right corner.
  5. Select both symbols in the image (shift-click).
  6. Right-click and select Symbols-Tween Instances.
  7. Select the number of frames you want to use and check "distribute to frames" and you're done.

Here's an example from Fireworks, with several instances of tweening added, including built-in scaling and rotating.