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The animation tools have been greatly enhanced in Flash CS4, and Todd Perkins teaches their advanced capabilities in Flash CS4 Professional Tools for Character Animation. He shows how to master the new Motion Tween model and the Motion Editor to control easing and effects such as Squash and Stretch. He demonstrates how to use the new 3D tools to add rotation, perspective shadows, and layered animations. Complex interactive animations and walk cycles are created without a line of code using bone systems. Todd also demonstrates the power of advanced masking, sound effect syncing, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now we will take a look at adding an Iris effect to our animation using an animated mask. If you are following along, you can open up Iris.fla from the Chapter 4 folder. If you don't have the Exercise Files, you are going to need some content to mask and a mask. Let's take a look at the layers in this application. I have the Mask layer, which is basically a green dot, which we can see because the Mask layer is unlocked. Now if you cannot see it, then I will just zoom it a little bit on the monster's eye and you can see the green dot as I show and hide it. I will zoom out a little bit by pressing Command+? on the Mac or Ctrl+? on PC. Then we can see the rest of the layers by showing and hiding the monster layer, see the monsters on that layer.
The land layer contains the background and the Black layer contains a black rectangle. Now for this Iris effect I want to kind of reveal the whole scene from black. Now your most of the land layer is not masked, it's just a normal layer. But what I want to do is have it be subject to the Mask. All you have to do to mask multiple layers under the same Mask is, double click the layer's icon to open up the Layer Properties window. So I'll double click the Land icon and in the Layer Properties window, you can choose what type of layer you want it to be. So I will choose Masked and then I click OK, and the Land layer is now also masked by the Mask. I can preview that in Flash by locking the Mask layer. So now I can't see anything because the whole scene is masked by that very small dot on the Mask layer.
I will unlock the Mask layer and now we will begin animating the Mask. I will start by right-clicking or Ctrl- clicking in the Mask layer and choosing Create Motion Tween. Then what I will do is, move to frame 20 in the Timeline and scale up to Mask using the Free Transform tool. Now you will notice that it's a little bit hard to get to the corner handles at this distance. So what I am going to do is, zoom in really close by clicking and dragging with the Zoom tool. Then I will use the Free Transform tool to scale it up a little bit.
Here I am not really worried about the proportions in scaling because it's going to look kind of similar either way. So I am going to zoom out, Command+? on the Mac, Ctrl+? on the PC, scale up the Mask a little bit more, zoom out again, so I can see the whole scene and then scale the Mask so it covers the whole visible area. That looks good! Now we have our motion tween set up. What I am going to do is create a keyframe on frame 21 so that can control easing for this little tween independently of other tweens on the Mask layer. To create a classic keyframe I'm going to put the playhead at frame 21, make sure all the frames are deselected by clicking in the gray area at the bottom of the Timeline. Then I will push F7 on my keyboard.
That will create a solid keyframe, which is a circle, which means I can create a motion tween that will be independent of the original motion tween allowing me to control easing independently. So now I will go to frame 40 and I will do the same thing. I will press F7 and then I will create that keyframe there. Then I will go to frame 60 and then shrink the Mask down a little bit. So I am going to select the Mask with the Free Transform tool and then scale it down really small and zoom in. Then I will make it as small as I can inside of the monster's eye. Now so I can control just of that easing independently, I will deselect all frames, go to frame 61 and then press F7 on my keyboard to create a keyframe there.
So now when I select the easing of the Mask scaling in, I can select that independently, I can select the Mask scaling out independently. Now if I test the movie you will see the Iris effect. Command+Return on the Mac, Ctrl+Enter on the PC. So now if I wanted to control easing, I can just select the first tween, go to the Motion Editor, change the easing for Basic Motion to Simple (Slow) and do the same thing for Transformation. Let's say I wanted to ease out when the animation is scaling out, so I'll just click and drag my Simple (Slow) to ease out. Then I will do the opposite for when the animation is going in.
So I'll select the tween from frame 40 to 60, go to the Motion Editor, set Basic Motion and Transformation to Simple (Slow), set Simple (Slow) to ease in. That way it will play slower at the beginning of the animation. Now I will test the movie to preview the easing with my Iris effect. I will close the Preview window. So whenever you want to add an Iris effect, you can just use an animated mask. If you want to control different tweens in the same layer independently with curves, you can press F7 on your keyboard to create solid black circle keyframes.
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