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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.
This is a technique that you probably don't want to use too often because it has a bad reputation: that's the lens flare. There are times, though, when it's good to be able to do a lens flare, and a super bright sun in your face is as good a reason as any. So here is a simple animation that I've created of a lens flare. Let's go into the scene and I'll show you how this was done. So again, I'll switch off the layers, so we'll see one by one. We have our sky or space field; see a slight radial gradient right in the middle dropping off to dark. The ground layer or the planet, again, another radial gradient; about four colors going from dark to light with opacity at the outer edge. And the light that surrounds the sun, and this is also creating a slight little ring effect around here.
This would be the solar corona or atmosphere, the sun in the middle, with a yellow color to differentiate it a little bit from that pure white light. Let's lock these. And then we have the different rings, the gradient rings, that create the illusion of the lens flare. So by now I take it that you should know enough to be able to assemble these various gradients. I'll just look at them one by one. So this one is, again, slightly squished to make the shape a little more interesting. It consists of four colors, so let's look at these one by one so you can see the settings if you want to recreate this.
The ground layer is, again, very simple. And you can see how I have pulled out the circle of the gradient to really get a feel of a large planet. And again four colors, and you can see the color settings here, and the opacity settings. And then we drop off to 0% at the outer edge of the planet. And of course, you can change the density of the atmosphere by pulling these back and forth. I am going to zoom in a little bigger so we can see this better. The light area; super simple, and that's just two colors. Pure white on the inside, falling off to complete pure black on the outside at 0%.
Again, you can add more if you want, and that will change the shape of this, but I kept it as simple as possible. And the sun, and that's just a three color, radial gradient, 100% for the slightly less deep yellow. And again, falling off to 0% with a pure white. and then we have the eight radial gradients. So what I am going to do is show you how I created just one or two of these gradients for the rings. And let's work against the background.
So I am just going to make sure everything is padlocked, so we can't change anything. Pick the Oval tool, or O on the keyboard. Be sure we have Radial gradient selected. Hold down Shift, and drag. If you have the color of the stroke color set to red or black or whatever, you'll see a circle there. Sometimes I like to keep that, because it shows me the outer edge while I am working, so let's keep it there for now. Let's select the radial, and again the Gradient Transform tool, and what I am going to do is create a much more subtle gradient at this point with a lot more colors.
And I think we are going to need about seven, so I am just going to start clicking and dragging; let's just start making, I think, about seven different colors. I am not worrying right now about if they are visible or not visible, or what color they are. Let's space it a little bit like this. So I'm going to want the inside, which will be this marker here, to be maybe a deeper yellow, and I think we can keep him at 0%. Now we'll move to this one. Sometimes it's a good idea to click and drag these little markers to make sure that they are activated. Flash can be a little bit funny about this sometimes.
So this one I am going to make yellow as well, and let's make it 20%. This is the point when we begin to see the ring, and you'll see it popping on here. You might find that it's a good idea to grab the little dragger, and pull it a little closer. Let's reactivate the Gradient Transform tool. And now the third color over, that's this one; see it's changed here. Let's make that a bit deeper, 50% opacity. And I want to make this one a little more orange; slightly different colors. Now the midpoint, and let's make this one a brighter yellow, and I am going to take him down to 90%; it's pretty bright.
Then the next one over, 50%. Starting to drop off now as we move towards the outer edge. It does not to be exactly 50, but I like to be precise for some of these. And we'll slightly change it to an orange color. I am making very subtle changes to the different colors. I mean you can play with them; they don't have to be exactly what I'm doing here. As long as you're reasonably close, I think you'll be safe. So now a yellow color for the second last one, I am clicking them to be absolutely sure this is the one I am working in. And let's bring that down to 20%.
And then the final one, the outside, should be zero. It's a little too hot, and I think there's something funny going on. Essentially we should be going from invisible, to the most visible, to the least visible. So if I click on this, it should be 0, 20, 50, 90, oh, I am missing one. Something got deleted along the way. I am going to pop one back in; no big deal. Let's click on that, and bring that up to 50, and this should be 20, and we are starting to see a more consistent ring shape.
Now it's a little bit thick, a little bit too powerful, so I am going to bring the 90 down to 80 a little bit. Let's pull these in a little tighter. I am going to deplete these a little bit, they are still too dominant, visually. And I am going to bring the middle one down to 60. So what we are seeing now -- and I am going to pull these apart a little bit, and I'll show you again what the numbers are. Very careful; when you get these two close together, they can really begin to overlap and get confusing.
You can really only push these so close before they become a little hard to handle. Feel free to go in and adjust these settings. Now I am making a change here in the color field; I am keeping one eye on this and one eye on that. Very carefully select the next color. Maybe pull it over a little bit and see what effect that has on the lens flare. It might be a little too hot. So we are going to desaturate this color by simply moving it to the left. Little reminder: if you are seeing a slightly different color area, be sure you have H selected in the Gradient menu. They changed this with the later Flash versions.
And I am going to pull the orange down a little bit. I think we are looking at something reasonably nice. So it's 0, 20, 39% opacity. And you see the hues are making slight changes; they are moving back and forth a little bit. If you think they are a little too strong around the edge, let's bring them down a little. And as we are doing this again, we are seeing new little rings appearing.
So let's select this, hit F8, and we'll call it lens flare 1. And now it's time to get rid of that outer line. We don't need that anymore; Control+ X. And now this can be positioned. If you still feel it's too much, because it's now a symbol, now you have access to the color effect in the Properties panel, and you can make an Alpha on that and really bring it down. And now you begin to see a very nice subtle effect with the lens flare.
And so that's the process for making a flare. I'll show you one more flare just to give you an idea about how I will duplicate it. So let's copy that and I'll make a new layer, and Control+V to paste it in there. And this time I am just going to right -click and duplicate the symbol, and call it lens flare 2. And let's double-click to go inside. This one will be a little simpler. I am going to use five colors for the gradient, instead of the seven that we had here, and spread them out a little bit.
I am going to space them a little differently, too, to show you that you can modify this. I think as I was making those changes, this deactivated, and this happens with me a lot too. So let's select the Paint Bucket, and repaint that, and see where they went. So I am going to select the Paint Bucket again, and deselect the lock fill, click again, and now you see the thing reappearing. Again, select the Gradient Transform tool, and as long as this little widget is active, any changes that we make here will happen there.
So just keep an eye out for that. You can find yourself doing work in the Color palette that's not happening on the Stage, so it can be a little bit of a bother. Now I am going to pull these apart a little bit to change the shape of this. This is going to be a thicker bead, so that it has a different shape and appearance, because they are not all going to look the same. Let's mak the inside a little more visible, maybe 20%, and I am going to make that more of an orangey color, so all these little beads won't be the same color. I'll make the second one 40%, close enough, and that will be a lighter orange.
I am going to make this middle one, say, 50%, and let's make it a yellow. The next one would be falling off now to 20%, that's pretty close, and that will be a darker yellow. And the outside, I am going to make also darker yellow, and that's down to zero. And so now we go back to the outer symbol. Because I duplicated this from the first symbol, it shares the same opacity setting, 30%. Now you can bring it up; that's probably going to be too bright.
It looks like a sun. So it's nice to have the option of bringing this down to something really, really subtle, like 23, 20, 30%. Something in that region. Again, snaps come back on, so let's get rid of any snapping. And now you can simply position the lens flares as you need, and of course, don't be afraid to scale them. Now you begin to see the process of creating a simple lens flare effect. I use this very occasionally, when I really want to sell the fact that we're looking at something incredibly bright, and trick the eye into thinking that they are looking at something that isn't just a flat symbol on the Stage.
So basically at this point, all you do is repeat the same process. I would say play with this, go in, try if you can figure out different variations of these two simple forms, and then deploy them around the Stage as I've done here. I used a Google Image search to find some nice sample lens flares online. It's surprisingly difficult to get a nice composition in the rings. So if you do that, you will find lots of references that you can use as source material for your own, that you can then modify and build on. And then once you have got them in place, a simple motion tween; being sure that you have them all on their own independent layers. And that's it.
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