Types of joints used in Flash animation

1. The most uni­ver­sal kind is a joint based on two over­lap­ping cir­cles. Rota­tion piv­ots in the cir­cle’s cen­ter and there­fore the joint nev­er breaks.
This is prob­a­bly the most wide­ly used type, because it does not require any spe­cial atten­tion or addi­tion­al clean up.
The draw­back is the clear­ly vis­i­ble round­ing of the joint, which is not always desired stylistically.

2. Vari­a­tions of the cir­cu­lar joint exist where the over­lap­ping cir­cles occu­py only a part of the limb sur­face, while the rest is asym­met­ri­cal. This can yield more nat­ur­al organ­ic looks.
The draw­back here is that such joints have a much small­er range of flex­i­bil­i­ty and the ele­ments often need sev­er­al dif­fer­ent states inside the con­tain­ers to make them look nat­ur­al at var­i­ous angles.

3. The third type is an angu­lar joint, which is not based on a cir­cle. The ele­ments meet at a point and that’s it. Styl­is­ti­cal­ly it can have spe­cif­ic appeal, but has the dis­ad­van­tage of need­ing mul­ti­ple states of the ele­ments inside the con­tain­er. Also the limbs may appear short­er as they bend, so some cor­rec­tion of length might also be necessary.

 
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