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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.
If you're going to do any kind of short film, or any complex sequence of scenes in Flash, it's best to do the work in Flash on an individual scene-by-scene basis, and then bring the scenes into After Effects, or another video editing program, and render them out as a PNG sequence, or an MOV or an AVI file, or whatever. But sometimes you might want to have a quick and dirty transition between two scenes in Flash, and quick cuts of course, are no problem at all.
You might have some issues, however when you do cross dissolves. And let me show you the big one, I guess. So in this case we have a background of the ship floating at sea. I want it to cross dissolve into the captain's cabin, and he's got his book, and his lamp, and clock on the table. So here's what happens normally when you have your scene, and you do the alpha transparency; the fade in. Flash shows you these intersections where the different symbols overlap, and you can see the table through the book, and the clock through the book; it's a real nuisance.
Now there is a workaround for this. It only applies to certain scens, and really it only applies to scenes that have very limited animation, but I will show you the solution. So we would take our symbol, and we have to mask everything. So essentially, we'd have our background, the table, which would be masked, so that the book that sits on the table exactly is aligned with that. And if we look at that in outline you can see that there is no overlap. And if we do the same thing with the lamp, and the clock; they are also masked, so that the areas that overlap the book are removed from the scene. And it's not fun doing this, but the end result is, when you have it done you can then dissolve it cleanly, and now you can see there is no overlapping areas where the clock, and the table, and the book overlap one another.
So very quickly, let me walk you through the process for doing that. And there might be times when you actually want to do this without overlapping scenes; you might want to dissolve without complex symbol or a shape, and when you go to -- the last thing you want to have happen is see this kind of mode, so let's see how that was cleaned up. So what I am going to do is just simply delete the mask layers, and so if you have the Exercise files, then just follow along and delete the masks. If you don't, then just make three or four symbols: a square, a triangle, a circle, and overlap them on different layers, and you will you get the idea. It'll be an identical process to this.
So okay, what's the problem here? Well we have the background, and we have our table, and now let's look at the book issue first. So what we need to do is to mask out the area that has the book shape on the table layer. So what I like to do here is just copy the book, Control+C, and that will be our mask now for the table. And we break this apart, Control+B, until we just -- and I am going to pick, like, a flat color for that. And the problem is if I make this a mask for the table, it masks out the wrong part, and I'd like it if there was an option that allowed us to invert the mask.
If there is one hidden somewhere, I don't know about it. I apologize if I'm unaware of it. So here's how I've been solving the problem. Use the -- let's pick a nice black color for your Line tool, and we'll pick the Ink Bottle, and paint that in. And then we will activate the background, and I want to see the book layer, so I want to select, now, the Line tool, and I'm going to paint in the area that I want to mask. And basically what we're doing is masking it in, And I am going to color it red; so a different color from the one that we have up here for the book. And we want to select the Paint Bucket tool for this, paint that.
We are getting a kind of an opacity on this, it doesn't really matter, but we're seeing through it, so don't be bothered if you see that. Delete that line, delete the green, and now when we activate the mask we have our table masked, and we can now see the book on top of it. There will now be no overlap between those. So as you can imagine, this can be pretty complex when you have a lot of different objects overlapping. I have done it with little piles of rocks, and it's not fun. So it depends on how badly you need to do this effect; how badly do you need to have one of your objects? I'll go to alpha and fade out.
Now you can also do it with runtime caching, but I found that that can create problems when you're rendering out symbols that have animation inside them. The last time I tried it, it did not render out the animation, so it's kind of like a pair of handcuffs. Sometimes you just have to know how to apply this technique. So I'll just do it one more time so you see it with the clock and the lamp. And the same process here, they need to be masked to the -- I believe to the book layer. Let's just get the book again; Alt+ Drag to copy that layer, and I am going to use this as the mask, so I'll drag that down there. And break it apart again, Control+B, and I am going to give it another phony color, so just that blue will do fine. And same process with the Line tool.
And what I want to do is to create the area, now, that we will be allowing to be displayed. And let's get a different color again; maybe orange, pop it in, and select and delete the blue. Double- click the lines just to clean them up. And, you know, maybe rename this layer mask so we don't get totally lost in here. Right-click, make it a mask, and then drag the lamp as well, because we have two layers under this one, so you have to drag them all in there. And you'll see that they've disappeared there.
If you go to Outline mode you will still see the overlaps. That's okay. But when you go to the outer layer, and you dissolve through, we're clean. You may need this, you may not, but it's been handy for me quite a few times over the last few months. So I am sure there is a lot of people out there who might find it of some use. So we'll move on to the next tool in creating transitions.
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