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Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
Illustration by John Hersey

Animating a crane shot


From:

Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Animating a crane shot

Another kind of shot that's really not used too often, simply because it's expensive to do in live action, but we can do a little more easily in animation, is a crane shot. And they usually save these for special shots, so it's not the kind of thing you probably want to overdo, but nice to be able to do it. And that's to create the illusion that the camera's in a crane, and it's being lifted up to either move the camera up or down in space to close in or out on the character. Kind of puts them in a larger context. So let's hit Enter to play this. It's an extremely simple effect, really, if you set your shot up cleanly enough.
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  1. 6m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      51s
    3. Common keystrokes and shortcuts used in this course
      4m 40s
  2. 1h 24m
    1. Understanding video versus SWF
      2m 30s
    2. Overview of shortcuts, extensions, and setup
      6m 27s
    3. Understanding linear and radial gradients
      2m 39s
    4. Overlapping and animating the colors
      3m 53s
    5. Lighting a scene
      10m 24s
    6. Creating lens flares
      10m 40s
    7. Animating ripples
      7m 2s
    8. Creating a gradient globe
      11m 41s
    9. Creating a gradient bottle
      10m 26s
    10. Applying gradients to a character's eye
      10m 2s
    11. Applying gradients to a character's skull
      8m 49s
  3. 56m 53s
    1. Tweening a circle to a square
      10m 9s
    2. Using thumbnails
      4m 39s
    3. Animating a magic carpet jump
      10m 12s
    4. Setting up a magic carpet walk cycle
      7m 41s
    5. Animating a magic carpet walk cycle
      9m 33s
    6. Shape tweening hair
      3m 50s
    7. Intro to overlapping hair
      1m 57s
    8. Animating overlapping hair
      8m 52s
  4. 1h 8m
    1. Animating waves
      8m 7s
    2. Animating clouds
      7m 48s
    3. Animating a flame
      11m 38s
    4. Animating an explosion
      9m 1s
    5. Adding in-betweens to the explosion
      4m 36s
    6. Adding explosion clusters
      6m 43s
    7. Optimizing the explosion
      7m 30s
    8. Animating smoke with particles
      12m 45s
  5. 32m 18s
    1. Introduction to staggers
      1m 5s
    2. Animating a simple stagger
      5m 8s
    3. Animating a diving board
      6m 15s
    4. Animating a tremor
      5m 56s
    5. Animating a scream
      7m 12s
    6. Refining the scream
      6m 42s
  6. 47m 49s
    1. Introduction to Virtual Camera
      5m 4s
    2. Animating parallax
      6m 9s
    3. Animating a crane shot
      6m 26s
    4. Animating a zoom and rotate shot
      9m 30s
    5. Animating a track shot
      11m 0s
    6. Lighting a 3D shot
      9m 40s
  7. 19m 48s
    1. Animating a cross dissolve
      6m 10s
    2. Animating a wipe
      3m 34s
    3. Animating a fadeout
      10m 4s
  8. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
5h 16m Intermediate Aug 09, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Overlapping and animating colors
  • Creating lens flares
  • Animating hair with shape tweens
  • Animating an explosion
  • Animating smoke with particles
  • Animating a scream
  • Using Virtual Cam
  • Lighting a 3D shot
  • Animating cross dissolves
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation
Software:
Flash Professional
Author:
Dermot O' Connor

Animating a crane shot

Another kind of shot that's really not used too often, simply because it's expensive to do in live action, but we can do a little more easily in animation, is a crane shot. And they usually save these for special shots, so it's not the kind of thing you probably want to overdo, but nice to be able to do it. And that's to create the illusion that the camera's in a crane, and it's being lifted up to either move the camera up or down in space to close in or out on the character. Kind of puts them in a larger context. So let's hit Enter to play this. It's an extremely simple effect, really, if you set your shot up cleanly enough.

So let's just click inside here. Now before I go any further, I am going to show you a little reference image that I drew. This is in case you aren't familiar with perspective, and are wondering about the basic principles of it; this little graphic will explain. Essentially, the thing to remember is, if your horizon line is very low on the ground, that's a worm's eye view, that means you're down on the ground looking up, and you are either very small or very low. And the higher the horizon line goes in the shot, the greater the impression of height.

So if you are going to stage a scene where you've got a character being watched at a great distance from above, these little two black dots here, that's a bird's eye view obviously. aAnd these little white blobs here are clouds, to make it obvious. So that's the thing to bear in mind; it really is that simple for our purposes here. So let's hide that. Now I've made a little frame outline so that we can see our Stage as we move around. This little red box, it's just guided out, it's just here for a visual reference so I can see the edge of the screen. And we have a sky layer, we have our buildings layer, a foreground grass layer, and the little familiar man with his little barrel of oil.

This first shot will be done to create the illusion that the camera is just moving vertically. It's not moving away from him. The secret to doing these shots -- we're going to be combining these later on to create one master shot. And you could, if you wanted to, rotate your elements within the same symbol, but I really think that's a bad idea. I keep each camera move separate. So if I have a zoom or a dolly I do that in one scene. If I have a rotation, that action happens externally to that in another symbol.

We'll go in for this deeper later on, but there is a reason why right now we're only seeing the vertical motion of the camera. By the way, if you don't have the Exercise files, it's very simple. You basically just match your screen with some kind of sky. It could be flat it doesn't have to be a fancy gradient. Some simple little graphical skyline with objects like this, another very simple shape for your grass foreground, and even a stick man will do as long as you give him two little dots for eyes so you can focus in on them a bit tighter later on. So that we will be our start; this will be our stop. So I am just going to reverse engineer and clear those keyframes.

So depending on whether your layers are shapes like this, or symbols, apply the relevant tweens, of course. So now we have basically a man in place. So let's F6 the final frame, and in this case we have an 80 frame shot. So the first thing to remember is, remember our reference image, in case we get lost. We are going from a worm's eye view, with a low horizon, and that is pretty low, to a bird's eye view, where the horizon it will be really tall. So let's switch that off so it's not distracting us.

So sometimes with these kind of shots I like to keep it really simple, and strip it down to what's the most important thing, and I think that animating the grass layer will probably be the best thing right now. So let's go to the final frame of the grass, and hit Free Transform tool or Q on the keyboard, and let's just stretch it. Now the way this is pivoted right now, and if you've made your own symbol it may be different from this; it's going off the bottom of the screen. So a handy thing to do is hold down the Alt key and drag, and that will just drag from one point; that's pretty useful.

So I am just going to keep holding down the Alt key and drag this up. And now if we play that, you can already get an impression that we are moving vertically. And at this point I'm going to start playing with the gradient layer a little bit. And I am going to use the Gradient Transform tool, F on the keyboard is the shortcut. And I can animate that by just dragging the gradient color. So that we still keep that light color on the top of the horizon.

So that's now tweening with this. Switch off the grass layer, or padlock it rather. And I am just going to tweak again with the Gradient tool, using F on the keyboard, and just position that a little better; maybe stretch out the gradient just a little bit. Okay, that's feeling smoother. Select lock that. And then the next thing I'll do will be the buildings. Those are the little skyline behind there. Now as we are moving up, they will just move straight up with them. So ,hard to see them now, because they are hidden.

So I am going to switch the grass into Outline mode by clicking on the little square. So now I am going to use the Shift and the Arrow key while selecting the buildings, and just move them up until they are roughly in the right area. Now I am going to select the grass back again, and I think we should push them up just a little bit more. And the other thing you want to make sure is that if you have any ease ins or ease outs on these layers, they all match. Otherwise they'll move at different speeds. And the last thing to do is just position the man.

So he begins at the bottom, and he'll end somewhere near the middle. The thing to watch out for, too, is that everything should move. If anything doesn't move, it might feel like it's just sticking. At some point, if you have enough objects in the screen, sure, there may be something that's not moving. But if you can, have everything move just a little bit. iI's just a few pixels. It'll help things from seeming to jam. So that's feeling pretty smooth to me. And that is the essence of doing a vertical shot.

If you don't have the Exercise files then save this current state; don't delete it, because we are going to be building on this directly in the next section. If you have the Exercise files, don't worry. I think you'll probably be better off if you work with my existing Exercise files, because then you will completely be matched with what I'm doing. So, on to the next part.

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