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Applying gradients to a character's skull

From: Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional

Video: Applying gradients to a character's skull

Moving on from the previous section, we had the eyes, and the eyeball, and the shadow area around the eye all converted to these nice gradients. And what I've done in the meantime is I have taken the eyeball, and the shadow, and simply flipped it to cover his physical right side. But the next step would be to do the same process that we've just done, but to apply it to the skull. And the highlight and the shadow area; that we'll need two layers. And we'll do the area around the mouth for the stubble. And if time permitting, we'll do some of the business on the ears and the nose.

Applying gradients to a character's skull

Moving on from the previous section, we had the eyes, and the eyeball, and the shadow area around the eye all converted to these nice gradients. And what I've done in the meantime is I have taken the eyeball, and the shadow, and simply flipped it to cover his physical right side. But the next step would be to do the same process that we've just done, but to apply it to the skull. And the highlight and the shadow area; that we'll need two layers. And we'll do the area around the mouth for the stubble. And if time permitting, we'll do some of the business on the ears and the nose.

So let's double-click on the flat head; I'm going to move this up a little bit to make some room. And let's look at the skull. So what I want to do is to fill this with another radial gradient. Let's use a simple one; two colors. And I want them both to be the same color as the skin color here. So I'm going to double-click, and we have the Ink dropper tool; We'll click on that. Now it still looks different because the opacity is down, so let's pull that up. And actually, let's make the outer one a little brighter.

So I'm going to make a duplicate of that, and get rid of the other color that used to be there. Move this to here, and we will increase the brightness. And now with the Fill tool, nothing happened. And I might think that might be because we have this Lock Fill, or not. Let's try again. This happens sometimes with Flash, even with those settings. So let's just click on that with the Transform tool, and that will allow us to go in and position this. Now I'm going to rotate it until we get something that begins to approximate an actual highlight layer.

And it might help if we switch the hair off, because it's kind of hiding things a little bit. So I'm going to hide that top hair layer, and again, just using these tools, I'm going to match the head as best I can. I'm going to use this Triangle tool to push the geometry a little more into an oval shape, like his head. And now we have that. So I think we need one more layer. If you look here, we have like a shadow area that works along with the highlight area, and that creates a slightly more complicated lighting effect.

So I'm going to make a new layer. Hold down the Alt or Option key, and drag the skull layer. I'm going to padlock the original skull. We have a duplicate on top. And this time I'm going to make the outer layer the dark one, and the inner layer will be transparent. So let's go to the outer layer and make it dark. And I'm going to change the color a little bit. I'm going to make it like a dark green, but desaturated; not a very hot green. And let's bring the opacity down. And on the inner color; I'm bringing that down all the way to zero.

And we can change some of these inner settings here. It helps a lot if this isn't in the same position, and isn't the same geometry as the other one, because that's not how light works. You might have different light sources. The shadow will be different from the highlight, for example. Basically, experiment with the position of these colors, and the strength of the colors, by playing with the Transparency settings. In this case, I'm using a slightly green shadow, because applying a green shadow to a reddish skin is using a complementary color, which helps to tone down the hotness of that color.

I find that helps to give you a really nice effect. But again, don't go too crazy with the colors; don't make it too warm. As you can see, now we're having a pretty interesting effect with the dark on one side, breaking away, a little highlight spot there. Dark up here under the hair, and then we're moving right back down into the bright spot. And with the hair attached, it's looking pretty good now. Beneath the mouth layer we're going to make a stubble, and so that will be a spherical gradient. So we already have a gradient of sorts here.

We probably will want it to fade away on the outside, so the outside will be a zero, and the inside will be about like that. Let's see what that looks like. Not very good. Hit Control+Z. I want to make it a perfect circle. That's better, and let's get rid of that line, if you see a line there. And I'm going to use the Regular Transform tool now, the Free Transform tool Q, and see if we can pull this into a close approximation of that mouth shape.

Okay, now we can shape this a bit better, and this is its shape, if we can increase the area of the blur. And let's look at this with the Gradient Transform tool. Ah! See, it's off center. This little triangle guy should be in the middle. Our previous gradient was off center, so the new gradient maps on to that.

So let's go back to the Free Transform tool, and now we're actually changing the shape itself. And that's getting us fairly close. It's a little bit too much green in this, because I used green in the last one. Let's take it just down to regular old gray, and I am going to pull that a bit further down. Not too bad. And I'm going to lighten it a bit more; it's still a little too dark. Okay. It's pretty easy. Now we'll do the same process with the nose.

The nose isn'ta symbol; I want to symbolize that. F8, call it nose. I want to do all this business inside its own symbol, nested; it it will save some space on the outer Timeline. So again, let's just copy, Alt+Drag. And this time let's steal some of our earlier gradients. We have two nice gradients that we made for the skull. The first one was this light one, so I'm going to use the Ink Dropper, grab that. And then go back into the nose, and we have the second layer copied using the Alt or Option key.

Let's use the Dropper again, and using the Gradient Transform tool -- it's very easy with these very subtle gradients to lose them, so you end up having to grab the Gradient Transform tool to find out exactly where they went. I'm simply dragging that until you get a nice little highlight across the nose. Even if we left it at that, it's starting to look pretty good, but let's put the shadow in as well; finish it. Let's hide these, so you can see what we did.

This was the shadow layer for the skull. That's a nice color too. So let's grab that with the Ink Dropper, and go back into the nose. Let's make a new layer; Alt or Option+Drag the original one. And using the, again, same process; I'm going to drop it in there. I'm not sure if it took that time. So let's click on Gradient Transform again. I'm not seeing it. Something went wrong there. Yeah, see, I'm still in Solid Color mode. So let's go back out.

This happens sometimes; whether it's me clicking wrong, or Flash getting cranky, I never know. The Eyedropper again, and there is our gradient, back into the nose, and into that top layer we paint the gradient. It's kind of hard to see, so let's make sure we have it in the right place. It's so big, we can't see it. We have to scale that thing down, because it was sized to the size of the head, so we have to really reduce it to match the nose now.

Let's go in a little closer. And as long as it doesn't drown out the highlight, then you'll have the highlight layer and the shadow layer both working in tandem. And that's now giving you a real feeling of dimensionality. That's because there is an actual layer in there that I added. But again, as I said before, there is no limit to the number of layers you can add.

If you're seeing a little more subtlety in this area here. You could add a third gradient along the eye, and the same process can be repeated for the ears as was applied to the nose. It's that simple. It was simply the addition of two, sometimes a third, gradient to get this rounding effect, which gives the character his dimensionality. If you did get lost, simply delete the gradient layer, do it over. With that I think you have a good basis to build on to hopefully give the Flash figures a little more dimension.

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This video is part of

Image for Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional

46 video lessons · 13420 viewers

Dermot O' Connor
Author

 
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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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