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Optimizing the explosion

From: Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional

Video: Optimizing the explosion

So now what I'm going to do is take the previous animation of the smoke cloud clusters, and find a way to make it a little easier for Flash to handle this. There is an awful lot of layers going on here. Let me switch off the sky, and just look at these in Outline. So let's take two of them, and as you can see, where they cross the material on the yellow layer is actually mostly invisible. There is no need to have that being thrown around by the engine, so there are various ways we can flatten this out, so let's take a look at how.

Optimizing the explosion

So now what I'm going to do is take the previous animation of the smoke cloud clusters, and find a way to make it a little easier for Flash to handle this. There is an awful lot of layers going on here. Let me switch off the sky, and just look at these in Outline. So let's take two of them, and as you can see, where they cross the material on the yellow layer is actually mostly invisible. There is no need to have that being thrown around by the engine, so there are various ways we can flatten this out, so let's take a look at how.

So I'm just going to go into one of these symbols, let's right-click on the top one, and we go Edit. And again, we have yet more nested symbols. I want to find a way to flatten these into one completely self-contained image. The first step to do that is to go as deep as we can, and remove anything that's not needed. That will be for one, this reference layer. And I'm assuming at this point that you don't delete any of your previous work. I would do all of this work on a new FLA file, just in case something goes wrong. So let's delete the reference ring, and now we'll go back into here. And I think probably the quickest way to do this is just select everything, and hit F6; that's a lot of black dots.

So the next step will be to Edit Multiple Frames, and then to the right of the multiple frames icon -- they've changed the naming of this in the latest versions of Flash, but you will have something like Edit Multiple Frames, or some other word there, and I would select that. Once that's done, you should see this grayed out area with these little black brackets at the top of the screen, so that means everything is now potentially selectable. So we'll hit Control+A, and you'll see a lot of lines surrounding all your symbols. And then hit Cintril+B and wait a moment. Depending on the speed of your computer, this could be a fast or a slow process.

If it's really a slow process; sometimes I do it layer by layer, and it does require a little bit of patience. So there we have our explosion. Let's switch off Multiple Frames now, where you'll see everything at the same time. And we're still on layers; the only difference is they're not symbols anymore. So this is actually maybe a little less efficient if anything. So the next thing to do is to flatten all of these columns of symbols into a single layer. So at this point, I think it's good to know about this great Web site called toonmonkey.com, and these are free extensions for Flash.

And the one that's super useful would be Merge layers. Very simple to download from here, and you install them using the Extension Manager in Flash. Once that's done and installed in Flash, you'll find that under your Commands menu. We covered in an earlier section how to install extensions, so no need to do that now. I'm actually not going to do that, because once in awhile, merged layers doesn't like something, and it won't work. So I would say it works maybe 95% of the time, but that's why it's good to know how to work around it when it doesn't.

So first of all, let's make a new layer. Fill it full of empty keyframes by just hitting F7. And what I'm about to do is change the outline color, right-click on that layer, and this new layer, let's give it something strong like black that we can't miss. I'm going to change all these lower layers to Outline, and then in the first column select all of them, copy them, and in the top layer Control+Shift+V, and you should see the new artwork pop down, and it should match exactly the one beneath. Same thing, very carefully to the next one, Control+C, and then on the top layer, Control+Shift+V. As we move from one to the other, these might be a little bit confusing, because some of these outlines are different colors.

So you might find it easier to make them all consistent. So make them all red, or green, or whatever. So again, when I copy here, you'll see that's beautiful; perfect! So where before we had, in this case, seven layers, Control+Z, Control+Shift+V: we have one layer, and it is helping us to remove all of the intersections. Okay, that was great fun! I want to scrub back now and check everything; make sure all my cutting and pasting went okay.

So basically if I switch off my upper layer, this black outline should pretty much match the one beneath it. So I'm just going to pick a few of these. Make sure everything went normally; looking good. So as you can see I've got many of these, and where before there were 12 layers, now I can delete them, and I've only got one. And Flash will thank us for that when it's starting to create larger clouds. So now each one of these symbols, which used to be 12 nested symbols, is only one symbol. So now we have four nested symbols, where before there were 48, or 50, or whatever it was.

So we can now, guess what? Do the same thing here, and we're almost there. So let's hit F6, for all of these, same with these, and here, and there. Look at these one by one; I think just test that they pop out at the right point. So if you want, you can make a blank -- F7 for an empty frame there, so we see exactly how much stuff we have got.

Identical Procedure: Edit Multiple Frames, Marker Range All, Control+A to select them all, Control+B to break them apart. And then switch off Edit Multiple Frames, make an empty layer, a lot of F7s up there to make our new flat layer. And the same process as before: Control+C, Control+Shift+V. I'm going to put the top layer into Outline mode, so that as I go I can just very quickly double-check to make sure -- and actually let's make it black like the other one; right-click Properties, black outline, there we go.

So I'm not seeing it until I actually paste it in. I'll make it solid instead then, that way I see it immediately. So now we have our top layer done, and it should be identical to the four nested layers beneath, so I can delete them now. And now we have one layer, and this one layer will definitely be played faster than the ones beneath. There's things that we can do on top of this now. We can optimize the shape, Modify>Shape>Optimize. And depending on how you want this optimizing to work, sometimes you can be more aggressive with it than might be needed, so be very careful with that.

Let's go into the Full mode now so we can see where we at, and that's probably pretty clean. And if let me go into Outline mode; you can see, it looks like a single drawing. So at this point I would save this as a final project file, and I think that gives you a very good idea of how you can do some traditional animation, but use some of the Flash tools to help you construct extremely complex forms.

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This video is part of

Image for Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional

46 video lessons · 13419 viewers

Dermot O' Connor
Author

 
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  1. 6m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      51s
    3. Common keystrokes and shortcuts used in this course
      4m 40s
  2. 1h 24m
    1. Understanding video versus SWF
      2m 30s
    2. Overview of shortcuts, extensions, and setup
      6m 27s
    3. Understanding linear and radial gradients
      2m 39s
    4. Overlapping and animating the colors
      3m 53s
    5. Lighting a scene
      10m 24s
    6. Creating lens flares
      10m 40s
    7. Animating ripples
      7m 2s
    8. Creating a gradient globe
      11m 41s
    9. Creating a gradient bottle
      10m 26s
    10. Applying gradients to a character's eye
      10m 2s
    11. Applying gradients to a character's skull
      8m 49s
  3. 56m 53s
    1. Tweening a circle to a square
      10m 9s
    2. Using thumbnails
      4m 39s
    3. Animating a magic carpet jump
      10m 12s
    4. Setting up a magic carpet walk cycle
      7m 41s
    5. Animating a magic carpet walk cycle
      9m 33s
    6. Shape tweening hair
      3m 50s
    7. Intro to overlapping hair
      1m 57s
    8. Animating overlapping hair
      8m 52s
  4. 1h 8m
    1. Animating waves
      8m 7s
    2. Animating clouds
      7m 48s
    3. Animating a flame
      11m 38s
    4. Animating an explosion
      9m 1s
    5. Adding in-betweens to the explosion
      4m 36s
    6. Adding explosion clusters
      6m 43s
    7. Optimizing the explosion
      7m 30s
    8. Animating smoke with particles
      12m 45s
  5. 32m 18s
    1. Introduction to staggers
      1m 5s
    2. Animating a simple stagger
      5m 8s
    3. Animating a diving board
      6m 15s
    4. Animating a tremor
      5m 56s
    5. Animating a scream
      7m 12s
    6. Refining the scream
      6m 42s
  6. 47m 49s
    1. Introduction to Virtual Camera
      5m 4s
    2. Animating parallax
      6m 9s
    3. Animating a crane shot
      6m 26s
    4. Animating a zoom and rotate shot
      9m 30s
    5. Animating a track shot
      11m 0s
    6. Lighting a 3D shot
      9m 40s
  7. 19m 48s
    1. Animating a cross dissolve
      6m 10s
    2. Animating a wipe
      3m 34s
    3. Animating a fadeout
      10m 4s
  8. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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