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Creating shadows with masks

From: Flash CS4 Professional Tools for Character Animation

Video: Creating shadows with masks

In this movie we'll use a mask to apply an animated shadow to our monster. If you are following along open up Shadows.fla in the Chapter_04 folder. If you don't have the exercise files, you'll just need some movie clips to follow along. I am going to double-click the monster to enter its timeline and then our goal here is to cast a shadow of the claw on the monster's face. So to do that, I am going to need some new layers above the Monster layer. So I'll create one called Mask, and that layer will be above the Shadow layer. For the shadow I am going to use a copy of the claw. The copy of the claw I am going to use is called LeftClawNoSound.

Creating shadows with masks

In this movie we'll use a mask to apply an animated shadow to our monster. If you are following along open up Shadows.fla in the Chapter_04 folder. If you don't have the exercise files, you'll just need some movie clips to follow along. I am going to double-click the monster to enter its timeline and then our goal here is to cast a shadow of the claw on the monster's face. So to do that, I am going to need some new layers above the Monster layer. So I'll create one called Mask, and that layer will be above the Shadow layer. For the shadow I am going to use a copy of the claw. The copy of the claw I am going to use is called LeftClawNoSound.

In an earlier movie, we made this copy of a movie clip that doesn't have any sound, so that sounds don't overlap. So I am going to move this claw on to the Stage. And you'll that it's reversed from the other one. So what I am going to do is use the free transform tool and flip it horizontally, and then scale it so it's the same size as the other one approximately. And then I'll place it over the monster's face. And then I am going to apply the Drop Shadow in the same way that we created our Perspective Shadow in another movie.

So I'll go to the Properties inspector and I'll add a Drop Shadow filter and then I'll check Hide Object, change the Distance to 0 and then reduce the Strength a whole bunch. That looks good. And now we need to create the mask. So what I am going to do is actually copy the whole monster and then make it into a vector shape. I'll show you how to do that and why in just a second.

I am going to lock the Shadow layer, and we are going to click on the Monster layer to select and I'll copy that by pressing Command+C on the keyboard, and I'll select the Mask layer and press Shift+Command+V or Shift+Ctrl+V on the PC to Paste in Place. So now I have a copy of my monster. The data type for this is movie clip, so when I click on the monster you'll see movie clip in the Properties inspector. Now if I just tell Flash to set this a mask by right-clicking that layer and choosing Mask, then Flash will create a mask for me, but if I test the movie you'll see that it looks a little bit choppy.

(Snap, snap, snap.) The reason for the choppiness is because I am using a really complex movie clip for my mask. What you can do to make this work a little bit more cleanly is to break the movie clip into shapes. So what I am going to do is unlock the Mask layer, then with the Mask Layer selected, I am going to select Command+ B on my keyboard, that's the keyboard shortcut for Modify and Break Apart. What that does is it breaks apart any object to its next editable level. So for example, I had this movie clip that is a whole bunch of drawing objects. When I break the movie clip apart, then I get the drawing objects without that movie clip container. I break apart the movie clip container to reveal only the drawing objects.

So you'll see on my Stage I have a group selected. You could see some drawing objects in there. So if I keep pressing Command+B, I am eventually going to get all vector shapes. And when I have that selection, I can change the color in the Properties inspector to let's say a purple color, then I have a purple vector shape for my mask. And that will greatly simplify the mask and reduce the load for Flash in processing it. Additionally, you can select your vector shape and then choose Modify > Shape > Optimize, and then you can adjust the Optimize Strength however you want, click OK, you get the information from Flash, then you're shape is Optimized. That way you are further reducing the load for the Flash Player. So now I'll lock the Mask and I can Preview the Shadow on the monster. Now I'll test the movie to see this is in the Flash Player.

(Snap, snap, snap, snap, snap, snap.) So using Masks and our Shadow technique, you can cast shadows on objects and mask out any parts of the shadow that don't cover the object. Further if you are using a complex movie clip as a mask. Break apart the movie clip into a shape and optimize that shape to let the Flash Player perform better.

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This video is part of

Image for Flash CS4 Professional Tools for Character Animation
Flash CS4 Professional Tools for Character Animation

38 video lessons · 24518 viewers

Todd Perkins
Author

 
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  1. 2m 44s
    1. Welcome
      42s
    2. Using the example files
      46s
    3. Getting into this course
      1m 16s
  2. 39m 5s
    1. Reviewing motion tweens
      2m 32s
    2. Adjusting motion tweens in the Property Inspector
      3m 55s
    3. Working property keyframes
      5m 18s
    4. Controlling easing in the Motion Editor
      3m 28s
    5. Creating custom easing in the Motion Editor
      4m 36s
    6. Squashing and stretching with custom easing
      5m 33s
    7. Adding shadows
      2m 6s
    8. Encapsulating animations
      2m 39s
    9. Randomizing animations with graphic symbols
      2m 16s
    10. Stretching animations
      1m 31s
    11. Saving for previous versions of Flash
      1m 50s
    12. Converting animations to ActionScript code
      3m 21s
  3. 19m 43s
    1. Adding a perspective shadow
      3m 40s
    2. Nesting animations
      4m 26s
    3. Syncing audio
      4m 8s
    4. Adding 3D rotation
      5m 38s
    5. Using 3D layers
      1m 51s
  4. 17m 9s
    1. Animating a bone system
      3m 22s
    2. Adding easing to an armature animation
      1m 39s
    3. Creating complex armature animations
      2m 25s
    4. Creating bounce
      2m 53s
    5. Adding bones to shapes
      3m 19s
    6. Adding 3D animation to a spider
      2m 19s
    7. Creating interactive bones
      1m 12s
  5. 19m 2s
    1. Animating masks
      4m 3s
    2. Animating masked content
      5m 7s
    3. Creating shadows with masks
      4m 29s
    4. Creating an iris effect using masks
      5m 23s
  6. 7m 30s
    1. Saving motion presets
      1m 43s
    2. Exporting and importing motion presets
      3m 19s
    3. Applying and adjusting motion presets
      2m 28s
  7. 11m 40s
    1. Understanding walk cycles
      2m 45s
    2. Creating a walk cycle
      5m 16s
    3. Adding body movement
      3m 39s
  8. 19s
    1. Goodbye
      19s

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