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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 in the section I am going to show you how to animate a ripple effect using just gradients. We are not going to animate any shapes; we're just going to animate the colors to create a little splash effect. Obviously, this could be used for many things. Depending on your scene, you can make an explosion, or magic effect or, the choice is yours. And because we're moving colors here, not shapes, you can change the colors of this ripple effect quite dramatically as you move them. Let me show you what this looks like on the inside. We have three keyframes: that's the first one, the second, and that's the third.
And in Outline mode, nothing moves. The only thing that changes is the color of the object. On frame 1, we have our three colors defining the ripple, going from 0 opacity to 100% white, to 0. And that gives us a nice little white donut effect. Here it is again, the same again thing, but we've spread it out a little more. We can control the form of these waves by moving these colors. Then on the final frame, everything goes to 0.
Again, I can also change by moving these apart. We can stretch the wave and make the dissipation a little more gentle. So that's the basic process. So the next step is to replicate this. I am just going to delete these layers and we will build one of these from scratch. So let's make a new layer, and I am just going to make a circle, and set this to a radial gradient. And let's make a new gradient. If we use the one that's already there, it might be what we want, it might not.
But I'm just going to create an artificial color gradient from blue to red, so you can see, I think, more clearly what's going on here. So I'm going to pick a gradient that's blue on one side, and maybe bright red on the other. Select the Oval tool, hold down Shift, and drag, and we have our object. I am going to delete the line that defines it on the outside. Delete the line. The other thing that's a bit weird about this is that the center of the object, this triangle, is off a little bit. So I'm going to pull it back in the middle.
Snap is on, and it's being a bit of brute, so let's switch off any snapping. I want a really fine control over this. So under View>Snapping>Snap to Grid goes off. And center that as close as we can. Okay, so the thing to remember is that this is going to be its own symbol with its own Timeline. So let's hit F8 to symbolize it, and call it splash, and just double-click on that to go inside. So now we're inside it's external Timeline. So here is the water level and the splash level.
So keep an eye out here to see exactly where we are. Let's get this thing a little closer to what we want. So the first stage will be to rotate this horizontal axis to make it a little more vertical. The reason being, I want to have access to the triangle to offset the size of this. I'm going to use the Free Transform tool, or Q on the keyboard, to get a geometry, that's closer to what I want. And let's match that reasonably close to the perspective of our background here. And so now we have this false color splash area.
So let's go back to the Gradient Transform tool and begin to shape with this thing. So I'm going to pull that in; that's pretty awful looking. Let's pull the blue out a little, and by clicking here we'll make a second blue, and there we can see it. So now we can pick things that maybe are a little easier on the eye. This is pretty hot, so I'm going to change this to white, change this to white, and change the red to white. And then on the outer end, I'm going to bring the opacity down to 0 of both the inner and the outer colors.
Sometimes I click on these and nothing happens, so if that happens to you, just recheck the little color here, and drag it again. And again, nothing happened, so do it again. This happens, so you do have to be patient with this tool. Don't let it get to you; it's not just you. So okay, that's our first keyframe, and that's pretty much the hard part. Let's hit F6 on 20, and we will go to the next key. There we go.
So there we have our middle keyframe, and let's make another one. Hit F6 on frame 40, and I'll hit the Gradient Transform tool of course, and click on frame 40. And move these out to the very end. You can see on the Stage it's reacting properly now. On this one here, we want the middle white to go all the way to 0, and there it goes. So, let's select the Timeline and go Remove Tween, and go Create Shape Tween.
So what we're seeing happening here is the failure to apply the shape tween. And the reason why is that later versions of Flash are very helpful, and they have drawn a blue line around these objects where none was meant to be. When I applied Classic Shape Tween by mistake, it transformed them into symbols. I don't want them as symbol, I never wanted them as symbols, but Flash thought I did. So the solution to this is to break them apart again. Now actually, I'm glad you saw this, because this is the kind of thing that can really stymie people if they don't know some of the peculiarities of the program.
So let's select the first frame and hit Control+B to break it apart again. The second frame, we don't want to see blue lines anywhere; Control+B again. And the third frame is fine; we're not seeing any blue lines there at all. Now let's go in here and Remove Tween, and now we apply Create Shape Tween. Be very careful not to select Classic Tween by mistake; it will not help you. And now we have our shape tweened ripple. Let's add F7 here to create a blank frame so it goes completely to white.
And now when we play the outer scene we have our ripple. Right now it's set to loop, which you might want, or you might just want it to play once, so we can set that in the Properties panel under Looping. In order to create the little rain shower effect we saw earlier, let's just make some empty layers. Select that, hold down the Alt key, and drag to different points on the Timeline. And you'll see them all occupying the same space. You might want that, you might want to be offset, so you might want to hold down the Shift key and move the Arrow keys, and that is the process by which we would create a series of overlapping ripples.
You can scale the sizes, you can scale the opacity of these as well, but that's the process. So I hope that's helpful in giving you some ideas as to how you can use gradients in combination with shape tweening to create some nice animation effects.
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