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The animation tools have been greatly enhanced in Flash CS4, and Todd Perkins teaches their advanced capabilities in Flash CS4 Professional Tools for Character Animation. He shows how to master the new Motion Tween model and the Motion Editor to control easing and effects such as Squash and Stretch. He demonstrates how to use the new 3D tools to add rotation, perspective shadows, and layered animations. Complex interactive animations and walk cycles are created without a line of code using bone systems. Todd also demonstrates the power of advanced masking, sound effect syncing, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this chapter we are going to look at adding realistic and 3D effects to Flash animations. We'll start by adding a perspective shadow to the scene here. If you are following along go ahead and open up Perspective_Shadow.fla from the Chapter 02 folder. You can also just use any movie clip for this exercise. So here I have a monster and then I have a land in the background and the shadow layer that's empty. The monster is a movie clip, what I am going to do to create the shadow is copy the monster layer. So I am going to press Command+C on the Mac or Ctrl+C on the PC and then I'll select the shadow layer and then paste that art work using the keyboard shortcut, Shift+Command+V on the Mac, Shift+Ctrl+V on the PC and that's the keyboard shortcut to Paste in Place, that means paste an object to exactly from where you copied it.
So I am going to lock and hide the monster layer and so now I am just looking at the shadow. Notice that the artwork on the Stage didn't really change, because the monster layer and the shadow layer contained the exact same art work. So I am going to use the free transform tool, I am going to scale the monster down a little bit. Notice when I pull down, both the top and the bottom scale. What I want is just the top to go down. I want the bottom to anchor. So I am going to hold Option on my keyboard, which is on the Mac by the way Alt, and then the bottom will anchor. So scale down the monster a little bit then I am going to skew the monster by clicking and dragging in any of the lines between the handles at the top and notice that the bottom skews as well. So if I hold that Option or Alt key I can anchor the bottom.
So I am going to move the monster a little bit to the left and now I am going to create a shadow. I'll do that by applying a filter, so I have my movie clip selected in the filters area in the Properties inspector. I'll click the Add filter button and then choose to add a Drop Shadow filter. The first thing I am going to do is hide the actual object so I am going to check the Hide Object box and the monster will disappear, I'll just be left with that shadow. I am also going to adjust the distance to 0 pixels. I'll click in the distance field, press 0 and then Enter to accept the change. This is just, because I want to shadow exactly where I set it up initially. Now if I show the monster you can begin to see the shadow effect.
Now let's refine the shadow, I'll select the Shadow and I am going to scroll down in the Properties inspector and adjust the Strength of it a little bit. I am going to bring it down to about 40% and then what I am going to do is adjust the blur a little bit. I am going to bring the blur up to 8 pixels. The reason why I wanted to 8 pixels instead of that maybe 10 is, because blurs and other filters are greatly optimized at multiples of four. So by doing four, eight, 12 etcetera, the filters will be process to lot better they will at different values. So that shadow is looking good and maybe I want to scale it down a little bit more so I am going to click and drag the middle handle at the top holding Options on my keyboard. I'll scale it down just a little bit.
There's my perspective shadow. I'll test the movie to Preview in the Flash Player now, Command+Enter on the Mac, Ctrl+ Enter on the PC. Now I have added a more realistic 3D effect to my monster. So if you want to add a 3D effect you can go for a perspective shadow rather than a regular drop shadow and all you have to do to create the perspective shadow is copy the movie clip that you are creating the shadow for and then scale it, skew it, apply the drop shadow and hide the object. Adding a perspective shadow can really make your artwork pop.
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