What are symbols used for?

I’ve been using Animate Pro for about a month now, and I just realized there are these things called symbols.

What do they do?
What are they good for?
Why do they exist?

They are containing.

They were put in to make people coming from Flash happy.

I advise against using them since you can do things easily without them :slight_smile:

Symbols are basically re-usable clips of animation, that you can use in multiple places or export for collaboration. There are video tutorials on their use, did you watch any of them?

Adam Philips shows how they are used in this video series (especially parts 5 & 6):


I’ve watched the tutorials, but I’m still not getting the point guys. What do symbols do? What are they used for? Why should I use them? What situations are they ideal, and which are less than ideal?

Reusability is the main idea behind using symbols. You can create a library of symbols that contain, say, a set of mouths for lip synch, multiple positions of a body, etc. A symbol has its own internal Timeline also.

Did you see the video of using symbols to make the wheels of a skateboard?

You make a symbol and create a single wheel, then you have all 4 wheels be an instance of that symbol.

If you had a client who then suddenly says, hey, I want the wheels to be different, different color, I want them to be day glow green and translucent what would you do?

All you would have to do is go into that original symbol of the wheel and make your changes and all of the wheels on the skateboard would update.

You can do that with normal drawings too :slight_smile:

Justin, my two cents is that you’re better off just avoiding them. When I started learning the software I’d just come off learning Flash and was trying to wrestle AnimatePro into doing what Flash does. What Flash does is symbols - ToonBoom has it’s own way of doing things and symbols often just throw a wrench into the system. I feel like I remember reading about certain little things you can only do with symbols but, once I figured out things didn’t need to be in symbol form to work, I haven’t used them once since. They became such a headache in my first project but I’d gotten far enough along with them that it was too late to take them out - I still probably should have. If you do use symbols just keep in mind that you should never ever ever nest a symbol in a symbol (exactly what you’re supposed to do in Flash) - that really freaks AP out! I totally agree with Raider that they’re mostly there to make a Flash user feel comfortable because they see something they recognize.

I agree with chrispurdin! I never use symbols, I believe that drawings are much more flexible to work with :slight_smile:

Okay, thank you. I was just a little confused why they were there. Since I have been using AnimatePro2, I’ve just been saving anything I needed to reuse as a template in my library and dragging it over (mouth lip syncs, backgrounds, body positions, walk cycles, etc.) Thank you for all of your input ! I wish they made a really thick manual for everything in this program. I’ve watched all 20-something hours of the tutorials and the majority of the user-made ones, but still feel like there is a lot of missing area. Also, anyone know where I can get a description (and instruction manual) of all the effects? I don’t even know what half of them are supposed to do.

Animate Pro comes with a number of .pdf guides, including an extensive user manual. You can access them by clicking on Help in the menu bar. Check the User Guide beginning on p.743 to see full descriptions of all the effects in Animate Pro and how to use them.

I agree with most of the guys here that I don’t really ever use symbols. But I did do a tip of the week on Symbols so that you can see my real answer why.