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Morphing shapes

From: Flash Professional CS5: Animation Projects

Video: Morphing shapes

Sometimes you might find the need to animate a shape morphing, and what I mean by that is potentially like a tomato sort of splatting, or some liquid effect, even such a thing as a jellyfish, which is what I want to animate in this scene right here. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and create a new layer, and I'm going to call it jellyfish. So I want to animate a jellyfish organically moving through the water. So with that layer selected, I'm going to open up this fish parts folder, and this Jellyfish Animation movie clip is the one I want to use.

Morphing shapes

Sometimes you might find the need to animate a shape morphing, and what I mean by that is potentially like a tomato sort of splatting, or some liquid effect, even such a thing as a jellyfish, which is what I want to animate in this scene right here. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and create a new layer, and I'm going to call it jellyfish. So I want to animate a jellyfish organically moving through the water. So with that layer selected, I'm going to open up this fish parts folder, and this Jellyfish Animation movie clip is the one I want to use.

So I'm just going to click and drag it onto the stage. So there is my jellyfish, and I'll go ahead and zoom in on this jellyfish, and I'll double-click it to enter the jellyfish animation timeline. You can see it does animate up. That's fine. I actually want to double-click on it again. So now I'm actually editing the jellyfish. This jellyfish contains the body of the jellyfish and then the legs.

Now, all of these legs are an instance of the jellyfish leg. So the nice thing there is the fact that I only have to animate one. So I'll double-click it. Now, again I'm four levels deep down into the jellyfish leg, and I want this to morph. I want it to basically change shapes. So how I'm going to do that is I'm going to actually go down to about frame 40, and I'm going to go ahead and select Insert Frame, because that's how long I want my animation to be.

Now, what I can do is I could insert a keyframe down here in frame 40. Insert Keyframe, and then also what I want to do is I want to click in between those two keyframes, and instead of choosing Motion Tween or Classic Tween, what's available to me is the Shape Tween. So unlike if you're going to be doing a motion tween or classic tween, a shape tween has to happen on - you guessed it - a shape.

So if I select this and I look at my Properties panel, it is a Drawing object, and this could just as easily be a shape as well. But in general, this is not a movie clip. It's not a button. It's not a graphic symbol. It's not an instance of anything. It is just a line that was drawn. So I need to make sure it's just a drawing object, or just a shape. If I could just go ahead and go to Modify, I can break this apart. I've selected Break Apart, and now you can see that it's actually a raw shape.

That's what I would now want to morph. I've defined the beginning point and the end point. I do need to modify the line, but again, the first thing I'm going to do is I'm going to go ahead and create a shape tween. I selected the shape tween, and it gives me this green arrow. So again, nothing is happening. My start point and end point are exactly the same, because right here in the center, this is where I want to adjust the line. So I'm going to right-click, and I'm going to insert a keyframe.

Now, I can go ahead and modify this line. I could do it a number of ways, but what I'm going to use is the Subselection tool, because if I select that line, you can see I'm given all these different control points I can then modify. This might give you the control you need, but again, I'm just going to kind of scrunch this up into a half circle almost.

Notice how it's looking pretty rough. So I'm going to use my Selection tool. If I double-click on this line, what I can do in order to smooth it out, since it is just a shape, is I can go down here to the Tools panel. Right down here, second from the last option is Smooth. So if I click that Smooth, you can see it starts to smooth out that line. So it definitely smoothed it out. I have less points to deal with. So if I go back in here with my Subselection tool, you can see that I have less points.

So again, that's another little tip that's really helpful if you're dealing with actual, raw shapes. So this is looking better. I'm just modifying this line. I am going to give this a nice curve, and again, let's just smooth it out a little more. Click that a couple times, and that's what I want. Remember, this is the center point, right here at about frame 20. So it starts here, and if I hit Enter, you can see it morph into this nice curve and then back out to the way it was.

So that's just a quick morph, and this could be a line. It could be any other type of shape. Just keep in mind it has to be a shape, and it shouldn't be an instance of a symbol. So that's what it makes shape tweens unique. Again, this is the jellyfish leg, so if I go back to jellyfish, note that these are all instances of that animation. So I can click on this back one back here. If I double-click on it, notice that it's still an instance of that jellyfish leg, and it will move appropriately. Also, note that I flipped it, and that's why it actually bows out the other direction.

So if I click on jellyfish, this has actually been flipped using the Transform panel. It's actually been adjusted that way. So, each one is going to be a little bit different if I start to look at this Transform panel. That's all I really needed to do is just modify this line, so the legs kind of bow out. Now, I'll go back to Jellyfish Animation and note that the jellyfish actually will animate from that point on up. So if I click back on scene 1, notice that I probably need to move this jellyfish down off the bottom of the stage.

So I'm going to go ahead and change the view to Show All. That allows me to select that jellyfish and then move it on down. I don't want that jellyfish to start animating when all the fish start coming in. I want it to come in later. So I'll just move this keyframe on down to about frame 30. With that in place, let's go ahead and take a look at this animation. Then there it is.

So you can see how the legs morph, and that jellyfish animates upward. The reason he disappears is because it's actually playing through the timeline. So it actually goes to the end of this timeline and then restarts everything regardless of where it's at. I'm going to fix that later, but do you know that the morph is happening. And if I test this one more time, you'll see the jellyfish animate across. From there, since this is the jellyfish animation, I can actually add as many movie clips as I want, create quite a few jellyfish, if I want to as well.

But again, that's just a simple example of how you can take just what is simply a line and morph it into pretty much anything you want.

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Flash Professional CS5: Animation Projects

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