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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.
So we come to our final section of this course, and it's the fade out, appropriately enough. Most times when you do a fade out it's pretty straightforward, and it will be like this clip on the right side. You would simply take your starting pose, make a keyframe at the end, go into the Properties panel, go to brightness and go down to 0, set a motion tween and then everything turns to black. And you know what, for most of the time this is what I do, but once in a while you might want something a little more special. So that's why there's a different way of doing things, and I am going to go through this fairly slowly, because it's quite subtle.
As I scrub through the Timeline you notice that the different elements on the left side are now tapering off at a slightly different rate, each one individually controlled. So let's play it in real time, and again and you notice that the one on the left, it just feels a little more alive, a little more interesting, a little less uniform. So let's have look inside that symbol and see how this is done. So I am going to hide the other one. We don't need to see that at the moment. And let's double-click in here, and I'll walk you through the layers first.
So we have the sky layer, the buildings -- this will look familiar from the previous chapters -- the foreground grass layer, the gradient spotlight, and then there's a left gradient linear, and there is a right linear gradient as well. You can almost make a cone shape which covers and describes this area here. And then the little oilman, and he is in middle. As we transition to the scene you will see that the different layers have their own separate dropoffs. And the beauty of this system is that if you want to change it, so, for example, let's say I want the man to be lit up for a little bit longer.
It would be a simple matter of just dragging him to here, and then he only begins to fade out very late in the day. It feels like the universe is closing in on him. So now if we go out to the other Stage and compare this to the other scene, and let's go through it frame by frame. I am using the Comma key and Period key on the keyboard to go through frame by frame. We can really target whatever part of the scene we want to fade out last. You file this kind of effect under subtle. It's not a really broad animation technique, but there's definitely going to be times when it's a good trick to have.
So it's a very simple thing to achieve. Let's simply delete these. Now before we go any further, for the people who don't have access to the Exercise files, to get the gradients done -- this is very quick to demonstrate. So I am going to go to Gradient Transform tool. That's the kind of shape you want to create, and I think it's a four color gradient. The center one is at 0. Actually, you probably don't even need that one. So it's three colors really. This one here will be at 0, and if you put this hex color into your color palette and copy that: #7B7D3F, the middle one is at 32%, and that's #222D44, and the final one is #050403, and that's at 50%.
You should, if you're lucky, get this gradient here exactly right, and that's a radial gradient, of course. The next one you would do will be the left gradient, and it's three color linear gradient, as you can see here. And again, three colors: the one on the left is 0% and your value is #3E3748, the middle color is at 30%, #222944, and the far is #16251C and that's at 70%. And just copy that for the one above and flip it horizontally, and you should be able to follow along reasonably well. And any little stick man you want to put in there will probably fine.
So let's see if we can remember how we did this. I'm going to begin with F6ing these four columns, because these are the four layers that we are going to fade out. That's F6 here, and these will be the dark ones. So I am just going to hide these layers, so I can see exactly what I am dealing with. So let's just work on the top layer first, and I will select the Selection tool so I can cleanly select him. And we will do a basic brightness reduction on him in the Properties panel under color effect, and just pull him down to 0. The next layer down is the gradient left.
So for this one we select the layer and then select Gradient Transform tool, or F. And you want all of these to go to a solid black. So I wouldn't want any tint or color on them. And I find that easier to type in the numbers with these. Okay, let's hide that. Do the next one. And just click on the values here 100, and make sure it's black. If any of these are even slightly not black when you fade out there is a chance you'll see a slight color band along one of these lines here.
Now that's to be avoided. It's one of the problems I've had with these really subtle effects. For example, that there is not pure black, and you want it to be pure black. Then the next one; this gradient. Now here's where we can have a little bit of fun by pulling these markers on the gradient, you see it; we are actually animating the dropoff of the color, and here is where some of the real subtlety comes in. So this will actually animate, and I can pull this out to narrow that last central point, and again I want the end state to be completely black for all these colors. That would be bad, so we pull that down.
Just pull it right down to the bottom, anywhere along here at the bottom will be black. Now let's see if we can pull the opacity up. It's very hard to tell really until you see the final things with all the layers exactly what that's going to look like. Well, let's do this and see what happens, and this one should be 100 as well. Again, I am having to type in those numbers. So this one is going to be shape tween. You see all the little white dots on it. So we create a shape tween. These are the two gradients as well; they will also be shape tween.
Then the top layer is a graphical symbol with the blue line around it, a classic tween. We will activate the layers beneath. It's hard to tell otherwise. So right now they're all basically tapering off at the same time. So let's move some of these around. I am going to just click and drag the two linears out a little bit, and we can delay the hit on the oilman by simply clicking and dragging his symbol.
And I am going to make him actually a little more dramatic, like he's really been hit by the light just by dragging him so that he is the last thing to darken. And don't forget, too, that each one of these layers has its own ease in and ease out. So that gives you even further control over it. Now the other thing that you can do, and I am going to hide these for the moment, is set a different state somewhere where the top light begins to drop off. So let's do that. I want to make a keyframe here. Just hit F6 and then activate the Gradient Transform tool. We will select that, and let's play with this a little bit.
Now I can go into the center color here, and let's make it a little more transparent, and see what this looks like. That's giving us a hotter center, which will last a little bit longer. So this is the equivalent of having access to a much more sophisticated control. The thing that you're noticing right now is, as the light is narrowing, it's a little bit off-center, and I'd really like that to be a little tighter on him. And the cool part is, this little triangle widget can be used to push the center of illumination to target the oil man.
So let's do the same thing with the last one even though it's black; we can't really see much. I am going to pull it back over there to match that. So now its like there is little iris, an imaginary light in the sky, just slowly, slowly fading out. And even here, right at the end, you can see there's little tiny dot right above it. Now we can go into this and we can use some of the ease outs. So let's ease out to about 80 and that will have it close out a little quicker, and we'll ease in on this side, and that will create a slightly more natural feel.
Now let's reactivate the two beams at the top to see if they work with them. I suspect they're happening a little too fast, so let's see how they're working. Yeah, I think they're. I think they're being a little too aggressive. So what I'm going to do is just select the top one first, and the center point, I think it's here, let's see. Yup! What I am going to do is, instead of taking that all the way to black, let's see what happens if I make it 0 so it's transparent. Because what's happening is the bottom layer is going to black anyway.
So we don't need black on black. So let's just make it go like this. I will do the same thing with the other one. Select that layer, and on the inside I will bring that down to 0. And if we wanted to, we could just widen this a little bit using the widgets on the controller. We could make the thing animate so it's moving in slightly. And we are not stuck with an object that can't be manipulated further.
So same thing, I am selecting the gradient on the other side, and also pushing them in. So now when the scene closes out it's creating the illusion of some volume in the light. We also want to make sure that these are tracking the iris as it closes. So let's remember that we are a little asymmetrical with this. So I am going to turn that beam a little bit that way. And switch that off; work on one at a time. And this beam, also I think -- let's see I am holding down the spacebar to drag the Stage around, and now I will turn that this way. And now, easiest if we padlock all the levels.
You want a really good monitor for this, but I think that's tracking really nicely. So let's go back to the outer Timeline and, again, have a look at that. Nice. And if you compare it with the other one, you see the difference. And this can be used for more things than fading out. Lighting is, I think, one of the more underused elements in staging scenes, even in live action films. So with that I think we're done, and I hope you've enjoyed following along the course.
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