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Flash animation

A Flash animation or Flash cartoon is an animated film which is distributed in the .swf file format of Adobe Flash animation software. It can be created in Flash or with other programs capable of writing .swf files. The term Flash animation not only refers to the file format but to a certain kind of movement and visual style which, in many circles, is seen as simplistic or unpolished. However, with dozens of Flash animated television shows and countless Flash animated TV commercials and award-winning online shorts now in circulation, Flash animation is enjoying a renaissance.

In the late 1990's, when bandwidth was still creeping along at 56k, many Flash animation artists employed limited animation or cutout animation when creating projects intended for web distribution. This allowed artists to release shorts and interactive experiences well under 1mb, which could stream both audio and high-end animation. One example is the first episode of The Goddamn George Liquor Program released in 1999 rendered out to only 628k.

Some hallmarks of poorly produced Flash animation are jerky natural movements (walk-cycles and gestures), auto-tweened character movements, lip-sync without interpolation and abrupt changes from front to profile view. Although Flash is able to integrate video and photo, most Flash films are comprised of only vector drawings which often result in a somewhat "clean" graphical appearance.

Flash animations are typically distributed via the World Wide Web, in which case they are often referred to as Internet cartoons, online cartoons, or webtoons. Web Flash animations may be interactive and are often created in a series. A Flash animation is distinguished from a Webcomic, which is a comic strip distributed via the Web, rather than an animated cartoon.

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