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In this course, author Dermot O' Connor introduces a variety of real-world issues that animators commonly encounter and offers practical solutions to them in Flash. The course covers how to apply gradients to create subtle texture and light characters, reducing the flat look of most cartoons; how to simulate natural phenomenon such as wind, fire, and clouds; how to mimic 3D space; and how to add fades and transitions to create custom cuts between scenes. The course also includes a look at staggers, which can be used to create camera shake, tremor effects, and extreme character reactions.
Now we are taking the original little smoke cloud that we did from the previous section and adding some extra frames to slow down the animation a little bit. This gives the cloud a little more mass. I find when I do these that number one alteration I have to make is I need to add some in-betweens. So it was easy enough to make the change on this level, of course. All I had to do is go in here and hit F5 to make that longer. I am going to copy this layer by Alt+ dragging, and I'll show you what the first pass of this process looked like. So, I want to remove the in-between frames that I've created for this to take us back pretty much to where we were in the previous section.
So the first thing that I would have done was simply to take each of the frames, and hit F5 to add an empty placeholder. This is now moving at half the speed that it was. Now bear in mind that the frame rate of this project is 30 frames a second, so when we take these frames and expand them, what we are doing is making it effectively play at 15 frames a second, because each image is being held for two frames rather than one. So it's slows down the speed, and gives us some more mass, but it also makes it chuck.
And the solution is to draw these in-between frames. So this is one of the in-betweens, this is another, this is another, and another, so on. And that's the action smoothed out by doing these in-between frames. So what I am going to do is show you the process of creating an in-between frame. If you have your access to these files, you can follow along. If not, any shape will do, actually. You can quickly rough in any two cloud shapes, and then see what the process is. At least this is the process that I use; there is different ways of doing it. I find that if I want to get from this frame to here, I need to add an in-between frame that's going to go in this slot. I need to place these things on layers, so that I can see where I'm going from, and where I am going to.
So I am going to click on the second frame, hold on the Alt or Option key, and drag it up, and then over. And I am going to hit F7, here and here, here and here. And so the only layers that I have active are the lower frame in outline red, the upper frame in outline green, and the in-between frame which I am going to draw here. So let's select the black color, and effectively it amounts to this: drawing lines between lines. And this is how animators did effects in the good old days, or the bad old days if you prefer, when everything was done by hand. And you might say, "Well, why am I doing this by hand?" Well, there are times when it's handy to be able to do particular effects on a frame by frame case, and you simply can't get results that are very hard to achieve if you are working entirely digitally. And of course I will stress again, I am doing these somewhat clunky little drawings with a cramped little mouse, but again just to show the fact that it can be done without any fancy equipment.
So the next thing to do is just to fill this with the right color. So I am going to select the Eyedropper, and that's the inner gray there. Let's hide everything except the layer we want to paint, and let's paint those. That's our in-between frame. Next step is take the in-between and drop it into place. And then just do some housekeeping and drag all these empty frames away. You might want to keep these two layers here as placeholders. So let's have a look at how that plays.
So that is the process. I didn't say it was going to be quick or fun, but you repeat this process for all of these transitions. And I find, with a really nice effect smoke cloud, the reason why this is worth doing is I use them a lot. If I have a little library of four or five smoke explosions, I can get enormous mileage out of this. I'll polish it, I'll clean it up, I'll add more details to it. You'll see this in the next section: how we can take this existing smoke ring, which we have now doubled in duration, and how we're going to improve it, and really make it look like a lot more than you're seeing right now.
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