GoAnimate recently went through some major upgrades that has given more users access to uploading flash animated props. Unfortunately if you're not able to purchase Adobe CS5 or even the cheaper flash animation alternatives like Koolmoves there isn't a lot of great free flash animation software out there.
In fact Pencil Animator, which I've reviewed before, is pretty much it. Whilst it may not have all the bells and whistles of even the lower end commercial flash software products, is quite buggy and prone to crashing, it's still pretty powerful. In fact it can hold its own with the quality of the flash it produces when in capable hands.
Considering Pencil Animator is quite easy to learn, it's own manual leaves a lot to be desired, making the program seem more complex than necessary. If you just want to know enough to make great props and backgrounds for your GoAnimate animations then this is where I come in.
The animation below demonstrates an animated car prop that I made with Pencil Animator. (Note that you don't need to follow the links at the end of the animation because that's simply for people viewing the animation on GoAnimate to get links to the tutorials which I've already embeded further down the page.)
Learn Flash with Pencil Animator by etourist
Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!
I wanted to make a prop that looked reasonably complex to show that Pencil has the power to do a little more than just small stuff. At the same time I wanted to show that anyone can make a prop like this simply by tracing from a source photo (which Pencil allows you to do).
The first tutorial below steps you through the process of making a non-animated prop. The reason for doing this is so that you can enlarge your prop (or zoom in on it) and its lines will always remain crisp and sharp - unlike bitmap props which pixelate.
The second tutorial below continues from the first with the same car and steps you through the process of animating the wheels so it looks like the car is driving.
Depending on the complexity of whatever it is you choose to animate it shouldn't take you much longer than a couple of hours to complete both tutorials.
Once you're done you'll know enough about Pencil Animator to make pretty much any prop or background you need for GoAnimate. As you get more confident with the program you may like to explore the manual a little more to find out what else it can do.
Pencil Animator is, in fact, powerful enough to make complete animations, with sound, that you could upload to Youtube or Aniboom. It's not the greatest animation software around but it does have an incredible user interface and it is a great place to start with 2D and Flash/Vector animation.
NOTE: If you're having trouble viewing the tutorials visit them directly in my Google Docs Animation Tutorials folder.