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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.
In the previous section I showed you how to take an animated smoke ring, and how to add some in-betweens if you wanted to choose slow it down; give it a little more mass. Now I'm going to show you how to take that and replicate it in a series of nested symbols, so that it looks a little more interesting, and this will be the final effect that we're going to achieve. Now you'll notice it's looking a little pixely, and that's because when I have this many symbols working nested, oftentimes I like to change my Preview mode.
You can go to Outlines, which really isn't much use for what we're doing here, or you can go Full. And normally we work in Full mode, and that let's us see everything. Let's see if a Flash can keep up with this. You'll find if you play with this many nested symbols -- I am on a really nice computer, it's keeping up. Your machine at home may have a different speed, and if you were to do something like this you might find that when you get to this point you'll start seeing something like this, and then as it gets to the end it will speed up again.
The speed will ramp; it won't be consistent. So there is a couple of ways around this, and of course one is to go to View>Preview mode>Fast, and that takes off some of the anti-aliasing, So it makes things play a little bit quicker. So even on a fast computer it will go even faster or more consistently at the speed that you want. The other thing that you can do is simply render this out as a movie. So you'll go File>Export>Export Movie, and export it as whatever movie format you prefer. Everyone is going to have a different movie format on their computer depending on if they're on a Mac, or a PC, or if they have different video compression formats downloaded.
So I'm not going to go too deeply into that. But the other way of doing it, too, is to go out, say Control>Test Movie. And you'll find this plays faster than internally inside Flash, for some reason. I think this program has a smaller little footprint; it's certainly more frame efficient. So you will come closer to seeing your desired end product in this. But bear in mind, it's just not as reliable as rendering up an actual movie, but it's much quicker. So you may move between all these three systems.
So that said, let's go into -- I'm going to just hide some of these, and I'm going to go into one of these little clouds. And it looks like a pretty intricate thing, so let's see how this is built. So the symbol itself contains the familiar smoke ring. Let me just look at one of them; so here it is. And that should look familiar. That's pretty much the same one that we had from the previous section. That's all it is. So the effect of a more varied cloud is achieved by offsetting the same symbol at different points in the Timeline, and also by scaling them.
If you click on some of these you'll see that the little blue line is rotated. If you look at others, they are flipped horizontally. So by scaling, rotating, and flipping on the horizontal axis, you can trick the eye. And the other trick that we use is to play with the brightness of some of these. So the ones in the lower levels I've given a lower Brightness of say -30% or 33%. Some of the higher ones, this one is -6 in the Color Effect setting in the Properties panel. And that also creates the effect of depth: that we're looking at an object that's a little more complex.
So let's go to View>Preview mode>Full, and again we can have a look at this. The quality of the line isn't fantastic, but everything is moving so fast it's really kind of hard to notice that. So I'm going back to the outer layer. And then each of these clouds I've also compiled on the main Timeline, in these little mega clouds which are yet more examples of these nested. So in each one of these symbols we have 12 layers, and then we have four of these.
I can add as many of these as I feel like. So I'll just make a few new layers, and click this keyframe, hold down the Alt+Option key, and drag, and let's copy the new one, which I can then drag around to a new point. If I feel like I wanted to start in a different frame, I can select that symbol, and say start on Frame 3. If I want to rotate it, hit the Free Transform tool, and you see as I rotate it, it's showing me the entire area of motion of all the entire animation inside.
This is absolutely fantastic if you want to create a really huge explosion effect. So if I hit to hold down the Shift key and the arrows I can move this around, and rotate. Maybe make it a little bit smaller; kind of tricky, but it can be done. So if I wanted to add more detailed explosions and pops on this, there you go. Just like the old Warner Bros. cartoons when Wile E. Coyote would blow up TNT. So that's the methodology that is good to use.
To set -- the same principle that I just showed you on the outer clip applies to the inner clip. So any change that I make now to this internal clip will be of course mapped onto the four or five on the outside. I will warn you that the more of these that you add, as I keep duplicating these, the slower the computer will run. So you must remain conscious at all times that your computer has only so much processing power. So keep an eye out for it; you'll feel your machine start to slow down a little bit, and if when that does you might throttle back a little bit on the number of these nested articles. But I love them; I love the effect of seeing a bunch of these things coming together to create this really astonishing level of visual detail.
Now you're seeing there, something is happening where these things are locking, and let's go in and correct that. And that's probably because there aren't enough frames on this internal Timeline. So I'm going to make a little column there, and do some more. And each one of these symbols is set to play once. This is the other thing that's important to watch out for. If this is set to loop, then they'll just keep looping, and you'll get all kinds of crazy effects that you don't want.
So when I do these kind of things I like to make sure that everything is just set to play once, unless I have a specific need to loop. Flash likes the default to loop. So again, something that you need to keep your eyes open for. And if you see any strange little things happening at the corner of your eye, also just go into Outline mode, and you can usually target whatever layer is being a culprit. So the next step will be to find ways to finesse this and make it even more capable.
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