How to Set Up a Symbol Loop in Adobe Animate so your Animation Doesn’t Lag

In Adobe Animate it is possible to set up say, a wheel spinning, in a Symbol that you then place in your Scene so that it loops continuously. But because you have to set the first and last frames to the same degree to complete the cycle, you run into the issue of your animation “lagging” or “stuttering” because you have too many frames of the same number. And if you’re not a math wiz (like me) it can be tricky to get your head around.

If you don’t have a graphic to use, download the Free SVG Graphic here >

Let’s start with creating our Symbol (Insert > New Symbol > Graphic). I called mine “cycle_root”. Now place the wheel on the stage.

We want our wheel to spin a full rotation in 1 second (24 frames), so we have to do the math. Frame 1 is set to 0° (top right) and we want to set 4 points for a full rotation. 4 divided by 24 is 6, so we will set our timeline keyframes at 6, 12 and 24, right? Actually, we want to create 25 frames so we can delete one at the end for a smooth cycle. Let’s do it this way, instead.

Your timeline should look like the one above. [K1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6] [K7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12] [K13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18] [K19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25]

We’ve got an extra frame in our loop so we can delete it after we set up our cycle.

Keyframe 1 is set tp our starting point 0°, so let’s set Keyframe 7 to 90° (360 divided by 4 is 90, so we’ll work in 90° increments). K13 is 180, K19 is 270 and, theoretically, K25 is 360… except that Adobe keeps changing my 270 entry to -90 and 360 to 0. For this animation it works because technically, working in reverse after 180 creates the same effect, so we’ll go with it! Our timeline is now [K1 = 0°] [K7 = 90°] [K13 = 180°] [K19 = -90°] [K25 = 0°].

Now click between each set of keyframes and select “Create Classic Tween.”

Now select loop and drag your loop span so it removes frame 25. Hit the Play button and watch your animation.

It’s smooth, but we have to get rid of that last frame.

To do this select Frame 24 and create a Keyframe (F6 or select the “Auto Insert Keyframe” button). This makes our animation correct leading up to the cycle starting over with Frame 1.

Now right+click on Frame 25 and select “Remove Frames”.

That’s it! Go back to your scene, drop your Symbol onto the Stage and select Control > Test to watch your perfectly smooth animation!

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