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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.
Up until now I've shown you how to apply gradients to objects that were fairly simple in shape, and it's true that we are limited to the linear, and the radial gradients which can be squished into elliptical, or egg shapes. It is possible, though, to apply them to objects with a slightly more varied form. So here is a bottle. We still, off course, are constrained with how aggressively we can apply the gradient, but let me show you how this thing was achieved. I am going to zoom in. Let's frame this little bit better, and we're just going to look at the bottle by itself.
Now sometimes when I work with gradients like this I like to put in a background color, which I got it out as a Guide layer, but I use it to put in like a slab of color, and you can make that color whatever you like. It can be very dark if you want to check the object against the different illumination, and so that's pretty handy for me. So I am going to switch off these layers, and we will go through them one at a time. We have the inner base, and that's a shadow just for the footprint of the bottle, on top of that, a simple line outline so you might want to leave this out even, but I have put it in just so that it pops the silhouette out strongly.
There is a top light; this is a linear gradient. We could make out a radial I guess, but I just thought let's put a linear in just to have something a little bit different in form, and it's hitting -- the brightest point of the gradient is at the shoulders of the bottle. And then we have a very simple layer; that's just a regular -- no gradients, just different shapes and at different opacities. So this one here is a little more transparent than this one, and as you can see there is a very bright highlight right at the top of the bottle. And then we have another gradient layer; that's just the basic highlight. And a shadow one. And if we look at these one by one by themselves, there's the edges, there is the highlight, the simple shapes, the linear gradient, the outline, and the shadow for the bottom. And they all work together to create this.
Now it took me quite a while playing around with different settings. I'd say it took about an hour and a half of playing with the different layers to get something that I was really happy with. But the beauty of it is that once you get it there, then you're able to switch these on and off. So you might think later on, I don't need the outline, or you might want to move the outline to an upper level to make it a little more graphical. You can move it all the way to the bottom if you want to push it back. You can even switch it off. So it's nice to have a file in this form because you have complete control now over the object.
A word of warning: use as few gradient layers as you think you need. If you use too many of them you will start slowing down the program. There is no reason to go crazy with them, so just use what's appropriate, and that's about it. Very quickly, I am going to just show you how this was put together, and the easiest way to do that is simply to delete these layers and reconstruct them, so that's what I will do now. So I am going to leave the outline layer, there is no reason to redo that. If you don't have access to the Exercise files, then it should be easy enough to do a screenshot, or copy this basic shape for yourself.
It's a very simple form. So there is the Outline layer, and here is the Hilites layer. I am going to darken that outline so you can see a little better; there we go. So those are the two layers you might have to reconstruct yourself if you don't have access to the Exercise files. So what I am going to do now is take all the gradient layers, and just simply paint them with the Ink Bottle tool. And I'm going to delete the interior.
And so now we should have the same bottle, but with all of the gradients purged. I'm going to leave the footprint, the little shadow at the bottom, it's extremely simple. It's just a two color gradient; if I click on it you will see. The top light is still there; I want to get rid it of that too. So there is our footprint. It's just a gradient going from black at this point, at 10% Alpha or transparency, and it's a grayish color, medium gray at the outside, at 0%. That's it. Very simple to make that.
The ones that are little more trickier are the outlines. So the top light was the next layer and that was a linear gradient. So I want to use our Fill tool, and select Linear gradient. And I think we want this to have a few more colors. Two isn't enough; I think we had originally four in there. So just move these to where we want them to be. Very easy to make these disappear by accident if you click them and just drag off to this field here.
So it is a little touchy. So this one, I am going to make about a medium gray. Let's paint it in first so we can actually see what we are doing on the Stage. For those who've used an older version of Flash, they've now nested the Ink Bottle tool and the Paint Bucket tool under the same icon, and you have to select from one to the other. It's very easy to confuse them; they look very similar, and I keep getting them mixed up. There we go. And now we use the Gradient Transform tool to click here, and I'm going to pull this in, and rotate it, and stretch it so that these two blue lines hit the top and the bottom of the bottle. And now our gradient is going to be applied exactly the way we want it, and that will be pretty sharp.
The problem now is you will get confused; is this gray this one? Is this gray this one? And I think I want this to be top. So let's rotate it. There we go, and if you get confused, simply pick a strange color. Now you can orient yourself toward the gradient. So we want this to be the top color. I want to make it a medium gray; make that about 10%. Then the next one; this is going to be approximately here. That was the highlight of the middle of the bottle; want that to be white, and actually I am going to bring it down to 0% so that we fade out to that white.
And the next one, I think we also want to be white, and I am going to brighten that to 30%. And the bottom one, and I am going to make that one darker because we are going to more of a dark shadow towards the bottom, and let's make that 10%. And it's very hard to see what we are doing of course because we are against this white gray background. This is where the reference color background comes in very handy. And now you can see with this white area, it's a little lower than I want. I want it here, so let's move it up a bit. And by pushing and pulling these tabs I can correct it, so that's exactly what I want.
So now I am going to remove that little red outline, lock that. And we have our Outline layer; that's fine. We have our Hilites layer; that's easy. The next gradient layer to worry about is the radial. So let's switch off these for now. The radial is the bright spot that was right here, so that will be a radial gradient. And I think that's only going to be three colors, so let's get rid of one these. And I am going to make this one 10%. It's not going to be very, very strong; just enough to hint it.
And now 70; this is in the middle. This will be the really hot part, and that will be white too. And all I want to do is put a little color on the dropoff. This part here will be a little, slight color, and we are going to fade all the way out to a light gray at, say, 5%. When we apply it, we see it pops down arbitrarily, so let's position them. And we use these familiar tools now to rotate the gradient until it makes a spot that's reasonably close to hitting that curved upper part of the bottle.
I am going to make it much bigger, so now it completely encircles the bottle. If you think this is too big, you can also adjust the size in here by pulling this in. That looks good, so let's padlock that. And then I think we need to get rid of the red line; double-click on that line, Control+X to get rid of that. And now we have the final one, the edges. And that was the one that had the dark outer area of the bottle. So again, let's go to the Fill tool.
That's also going to be a radial gradient, and let's also keep it reasonably simple. I think three colors would be fine for this. The darker will be on the outside, and remember that the outside -- if you have your color palette docked here then I always remember it as the outside being at the edge of my screen here. So the outer edge I am going to make black, and I will set that to 20%. And you will notice I am keeping these opacities fairly subtle. You can beef them up if you think you need something a little stronger, but I find subtlety works really well with this.
This one I am going to make gray, and let's make that 10%. And the middle value, we will keep a lightish gray, and I am going to set that to 0. See Paint Bucket tool; there it is. Okay. And now we go to the Gradient Transform tool, and now let's pull it in, and now you can see our gradient. Now it's simply a question of pulling the gradient until we can best match this bottle. So I find at this point, let's just activate everything else.
And we will switch off the outline, and I think there is another layer we are seeing there in red. Yeah, that red is kind of distracting now, and that's the red on the final layer, so I want to double-click that to get rid of it. We don't need it anymore. And now we can really see, if we click on the top gradient on the Transform tool as we move it around, you can see the effect that we are having on the bottle. So I think that's getting us very, very close, and then of course we have our Outline layer. And that is the basic process that I use when I want to create the illusion of glass. And I think we are ready to go on to the next step.
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