Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate (formerly Adobe Flash Professional, Macromedia Flash, and FutureSplash Animator) is a multimedia authoring and computer animation program developed by Adobe Systems.[1]

Adobe Animate
A screenshot of Adobe Animate running on Windows
Original author(s)FutureWave Software
Developer(s)Adobe Systems
Stable release
CC 2019 (19.1.349) / December 11, 2018 (2018-12-11)
Written inC++
Operating systemWindows 10 build 1703 and later, macOS 10.12 Sierra and later
Available inEnglish

Animate is used to design vector graphics and animation for television programs, online video, websites, web applications, rich internet applications, and video games. The program also offers support for raster graphics, rich text, audio and video embedding, and ActionScript scripting. Animations may be published for HTML5, WebGL, Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) animation and spritesheets, and legacy Flash Player (SWF) and Adobe AIR formats.[2]

It was first released in 1996 as FutureSplash Animator, and then renamed Macromedia Flash upon its acquisition by Macromedia. It was created to serve as the main authoring environment for the Adobe Flash platform, vector-based software for creating animated and interactive content. It was renamed Adobe Animate in 2015 to more accurately reflect its market position then, since over a third of all content created in Animate uses HTML5.[2][3][4]


The first version of Adobe Flash/Adobe Animate was FutureSplash Animator, a vector graphics and vector animations program released in May 1996. FutureSplash Animator was developed by FutureWave Software, a small software company whose first product, SmartSketch, was a vector-based drawing program for pen-based computers. With the implosion of the pen-oriented operated systems, it was ported to Microsoft Windows as well as Apple Inc.'s Classic Mac OS. In 1995, the company decided to add animation abilities to their product and to create a vector-based animation platform for World Wide Web; hence FutureSplash Animator was created. (At that time, the only way to deploy such animations on the web was through the use of Java.) The FutureSplash animation technology was used on websites such as MSN, The Simpsons website and Disney Daily Blast of The Walt Disney Company.[5][6]

In December 1996, Macromedia bought FutureWave and rebranded the product as Macromedia Flash, a brand name that continued for 8 major versions. Adobe Systems acquired Macromedia in 2005, and re-branded the product Adobe Flash Professional to distinguish from the player, Adobe Flash Player. It was included as part of the Creative Suite of products from CS3 to CS6, until Adobe phased out the Creative Suite lineup in favor of Creative Cloud (CC).

On December 1, 2015, Adobe announced that the program would be renamed Adobe Animate on its next major update. The move comes as part of an effort to disassociate the program from Adobe Flash Player, acknowledging its increased use for authoring HTML5 and video content, and an effort to begin discouraging the use of Flash Player in favor of web standards-based solutions.[7] The first version under the new name was released February 8, 2016.[1] Although Adobe Animate is moving towards web-standard file formats, Flash (.swf) and Air (.air) formats are still officially supported [8].


Release Year Icon Description
FutureSplash Animator 1996 Initial version of Flash with basic editing tools and a timeline
Macromedia Flash 1 1996 A re-branded version of the FutureSplash Animator
Macromedia Flash 2 1997 Released with Flash Player 2, new features included: the object library
Macromedia Flash 3 1998 Released with Flash Player 3, new features included: the movieclip element, JavaScript plug-in integration, transparency and an external stand alone player
Macromedia Flash 4 1999 Released with Flash Player 4, new features included: internal variables, an input field, advanced ActionScript, and streaming MP3
Macromedia Flash 5 2000 Released with Flash Player 5, new features included: ActionScript 1.0 (based on ECMAScript, making it very similar to JavaScript in syntax), XML support, Smartclips (the precursor to components in Flash), HTML text formatting added for dynamic text
Macromedia Flash MX (6) 2002 Released with Flash Player 6, new features included: a video codec (Sorenson Spark), Unicode, v1 UI Components, compression, ActionScript vector drawing API
Macromedia Flash MX 2004 (7) 2003 Released with Flash Player 7, new features included: Screens (forms for non-linear state-based development and slides for organizing content in a linear slide format like PowerPoint), aliased text support, timeline effects and video import wizard.

Actionscript 2.0 was released with this version, enabling object-oriented programming but lacking the easier "Script assist" method of writing code. JavaScript for Flash (JSFL) allowed users to write scripts to automate tasks within the Flash editor. New programming features included : web services integration, MP3/FLV media playback components, XML data service components, data binding APIs, the Project Panel, V2 UI components, and Transition libraries.

Macromedia Flash 8 2005 Released with Flash Player 8, new features in Macromedia Flash 8 Professional included: graphical filters (blur, drop shadow, glow, etc.) and blend modes, easing control for animation, enhanced stroke properties (caps and joins), object-based drawing mode, run-time bitmap caching, FlashType advanced anti-aliasing for text, On2 VP6 advanced video codec, support for alpha transparency in video, a stand-alone encoder and advanced video importer, cue point support in FLV files, an advanced video playback component, and an interactive mobile device emulator.

Macromedia Flash Basic 8, a "lite" version of the Flash authoring tool targeted to new users who only wanted to do basic drawing, animation, and interactivity. The Basic product was eventually stopped.

Adobe Flash CS3 (9) Professional 2007 Flash CS3 is the first version of Flash released under the Adobe brandname, and features improved integration with Adobe Photoshop, improved vector drawing tools, becoming more like Adobe Illustrator and Adobe Fireworks.

ActionScript 3.0 was released with this version, along with ActionScript Virtual Machine 2.0 (AVM2) for faster code execution and garbage collection[9] New programming features included : strongly typed variables with type safety, runtime errors, improved events, display list instead of "depth" system, and many new classes (Socket, ByteArray, Loader, RegExp, etc.).[10] AS3 allowed entire applications to be written in code, without needing the Flash timeline.

Adobe Flash CS4 (10) Professional 2008 New features include inverse kinematics (bones), basic 3D object manipulation, object-based animation, a text engine, and further expansions to ActionScript 3.0 (Vector arrays). CS4 allows the developer to create animations with many features absent in prior versions.
Adobe Flash Professional CS5 (11) 2010 Flash CS5 was released on April 12, 2010 and launched for purchase on April 30, 2010. Flash CS5 Professional includes support for publishing iPhone applications.[11] However, on April 8, 2010 Apple changed the terms of its Developer License to effectively ban the use of the Flash-to-iPhone compiler[12] and on April 20, 2010 Adobe announced that they will be making no additional investments in targeting the iPhone and iPad in Flash CS5.[13]

Other features of Flash CS5 are a new text engine (TLF), further improvement to inverse kinematics, and the code snippets panel.[14]

Adobe Flash Professional CS5.5 (11.5) 2011 Flash Professional CS5.5 was released in 2011. It includes improved support for publishing iPhone applications, following Apple's revision of their iOS developer terms. Flash CS5.5 also contains several features to improve mobile app workflows across devices. Some examples are: Content scaling and stage resizing, copy and paste layers, sharing symbols across FLA files, symbol rasterization, incremental compilation, auto-save and file recovery, and integration with CS Live online services.
Adobe Flash Professional CS6 (12) 2012 Adobe Flash Professional CS6 was released in 2012. It includes support for publishing files as HTML5 and generating sprite sheets.[15]
Adobe Flash Professional CC (13) 2013 Flash Professional CC was released in June 2013 as part of Adobe's Creative Cloud rebrand. Changes include a native 64-bit scene rendering engine, minor performance improvements and bug fixes, and the removal of legacy features such as ActionScript 2 support. As part of the Creative Cloud suite, Flash CC also offers users the ability to synchronize settings or save files online.
Adobe Flash Professional CC 2014 (14) 2014 Flash Professional CC (2014) was released on June 18, 2014. It includes variable-width strokes, SVG export, and WebGL publishing for animations, as well as an improved, redesigned Motion Editor.[16]
Adobe Flash Professional CC 2014.1 (14.1) 2014 Flash Professional CC (2014.1) was released on October 6, 2014, featuring expanded WebGL publishing abilities, freedom to create custom brushes, and the ability to import external SWFs.[16] Also, a new software development kit (SDK) enables extensibility for custom platforms without depending on the Flash runtime, to reach more viewers.
Adobe Flash Professional CC 2015 (15) 2015 Flash Professional CC (2015) was released on June 15, 2015, with improved bone animation tool (inverse kinematics), import H.264 videos with audio, export bitmaps as spritesheet for HTML5 Canvas, brush scaling with stage zoom, universal document type converter, improved audio workflows, improved Motion Editor, panel locking, faster saving of FLA files, auto-recovery optimizations, organize imported GIFs in library, library search by linkage name, invert selection, paste and overwrite frames

Programming features include code snippet support for WebGL, improved Custom Platform Support SDK, latest Flash Player (version 17.0), AIR SDK (version 17.0) and CreateJS libraries.[16]

Adobe Animate CC 2015.1 (15.1) 2016 Adobe Animate CC 2015 was released on February 8, 2016,[17] shifts away from the "Flash" branding signifying the ability to animate content and publish to video, HTML5 and Flash. It includes tagged color swatches, Adobe Stock and Creative Cloud Libraries, vector art brushes, 360° rotatable stage, resizable stage, export video up to 4K resolution (for HiDPI or Retina Displays), HTML5 Canvas improvements (TypeKit support, text as outlines, custom templates).[1][18]
Adobe Animate CC 2017 (16) 2016 Adobe Animate CC 2017 was released in November 2016.[19]
Adobe Animate CC 2018 (18) 2017 Adobe Animate CC 2018 was released in October 2017.[20]
Adobe Animate CC 2019 (19) 2018 Adobe Animate CC 2019 (19.0) was released in October 2018.[21]
Adobe Animate CC 2019.1 2018 Adobe Animate CC 2019.1 (19.1) was released in December 2018.
Adobe Animate 2019.2 2019 Adobe Animate 2019.2 (19.2) was released in April 2019.

See also


  1. Lardinois, Frederic (2016-02-09). "Adobe Launches Animate CC, Previously Known As Flash Professional". TechCrunch.
  2. Flash is Dead, Long Live Adobe Animate CC, Benjie Moss, Dec. 1, 2015, WebDesignerDepot
  3. Shankland, Stephen (2015-12-02). "The death of Adobe's Flash is lingering, not sudden". CNet.
  4. Adobe releases Flash Professional successor Animate CC, Harrison Weber, Feb 8 2016, VentureBeat
  5. Gay, Jonathan. "The History of Flash: The Dawn of Web Animation". Adobe Systems. Archived from the original on 2015-03-20. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  6. "The Flash History". Archived from the original on 2018-08-02. Retrieved 2011-11-12.
  7. "Adobe bows to HTML5 and renames its Flash Professional app". Engadget. AOL. Retrieved 1 December 2015.
  9. Migrating from ActionScript 2 to ActionScript 3: Key concepts and changes, Adobe Developer Connection
  10. ActionScript 3.0 overview, Adobe Developer Connection
  11. "Adobe Labs — Adobe Flash Professional CS5: Applications for iPhone". Adobe. Archived from the original on 13 March 2010. Retrieved 2010-03-02.
  12. "New iPhone Developer Agreement Bans the Use of Adobe's Flash-to-iPhone Compiler". Daring Fireball. Archived from the original on 30 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
  13. "On Adobe, Flash CS5 and iPhone Applications". Mike Chambers. Archived from the original on 22 April 2010. Retrieved 2010-04-22.
  14. Apple Inc. modified terms & conditions for developers in the app store. Adobe is developing again for iPhone and iPad CS5
  15. "Flash Professional CS6 Features". Adobe. Retrieved 2012-09-23.
  16. Adobe Flash Features, Adobe
  17. Adobe Animate Features, Adobe
  18. Adobe Animate CC 2015 Release Notes, Adobe
  19. Adobe Animate CC 2017 Release Notes, Adobe
  20. Adobe Animate CC 2018 Release Notes, Adobe
  21. Adobe Animate CC 2019 Release Notes, Adobe
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