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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.
So let's get started setting up Flash so that it works pretty much the way we want it to work. So let's create a new file on the template; ActionScript 3.0 should be fine. I like to make sure that the toolbar is on the left side of the screen. I feel it's a little too cloistered over here. So to move it, simply select this gray bar, click and drag. And as you move it around the program little blue columns will appear, and once you see this vertical blue line, you can release, and there it is.
And now you can resize it to whatever horizontal or vertical structure you prefer. I like -- two vertical columns works nicely; I find this easier to find what I'm looking for over there. The next thing you want to do is make some adjustments to the Preferences settings. So let's go Edit>Preferences. And the big one, the most important one, is to select Object-level Undo from the Document-level Undo dropdown, and click Yes. This will provide every symbol in your project with its own completely independent history of Dos and Undos. This is very important when you're making changes.
If you select Document-level Undo, all the actions that you make, and all your different symbols, will be recorded in a single history. And it can be very confusing when you start hitting Control +Z, and you begin going back through your history, you can get lost in that very quick. And it's very useful to have Object-level Undo selected. And also, make sure the Contact- sensitive Selection and Lasso tools is off. This means that you can select a symbol only by drawing a box completely around the symbol, and not by touching it.
If this is on, then you can simply select a symbol by clicking on it; it's simply too sensitive for me. So just make sure that that's set to the off, and I think that covers that. The other thing that bothers me is the default color palette. A lot of people work with that, I think because they just think it's too much effort to change it. So I've made a better palette than this. To access that palette, go to the project folder and open 1_02_Color_palette. Nothing has changed, but the palette has.
So let's click on the Swatches tab, and this is the new palette. And the next thing to do is very simple: left-click on this button, and Save as Default. Yes. And this means that every time you make a new project from now on, you will see this palette. If for any reason you think, "I want the old one back", it's very simple. Click on the button again, and select Web 216, and you will have access to the old palette. And then simply go Load Default Colors, and you can get the nice and more subtle one.
So now you have the option of working with a slightly more artist-friendly palette than the original. The next thing I would like you to know about is some options from third-party developers that you have that would really give you some extra tools; these will come in very useful when you're really getting to the serious work. There's a fantastic Web site called toonmonkey.com and this contains many free extensions that you can install. So you may not have installed an extension before, but first let me walk you through the extensions, and then I'll show you how to install them; it's very simple.
So the first one -- I really don't use this one myself, I'm happy with the internal timing system in Flash, but it's a timing chart that allows you to have different spacings for tweens. Toggle Outline, which allows you to toggle back and forth. I don't think you need that honestly; it's not a part of this course, anyway. Layer Color is very useful. This allows you, if you want to, for example, change the color of seven layers at the same time to green or red, so you can see them all at the same outline color. It saves you from having to left-click and change the outline color one by one by one.
Very useful later on, and we will definitely be using that. New Anim Clip is useful for converting a series of layers in the Timeline into a single nested clip. Tween 2 Keys is something that I don't use much, but it may be useful to you. I would definitely recommend you spend some time looking through all of these. FrameEDIT was useful in older versions, but actually seems to have been integrated into the later versions of Flash, and certainly working with CS5, and 5.5, so I don't think this is needed for the newer ones.
Multi Swap is very useful if you're going to change a batch of symbols on the Stage from one to the other. And Merge Layers; this really should be built into Flash. It combines 3, 4, 5 layers into a single flattened layer. It saves you from having to go through it one by one. So those are the main ones. So let me go and install; show you how it's done. We will go to Layer Color, click and download, and that's it. So we should have it on the Desktop, or wherever you've saved it on your computer; wherever your browser saves it.
And the next thing to do is to open -- you should have somewhere on your computer, under your Adobe folder, the Extension Manager. Click on that and select Install. And wherever you've saved the extension on your computer, select it, Open>Accept. And now we have installed the extension, so let's close that. And to see that I'm going to have to restart the program, so let's do that first.
So we've restarted Flash, and you'll find the new extension under your Commands menu. And there it is, LayerColor. Let's see how that works. I will make some extra layers, I will select these four layers, go to Command>LayerColor, and let's say I want them all to be blue. They are all blue now. Very, very useful when we have 25 layers of different shaped objects, particles, and you want to group them together visually so that you can see precisely what's happening when you have lots of different elements swarming together. It saves a lot of time.
So that is the process of extensions. I will go through and install more extensions that I think I will be needing in the course. If you see me in later classes open this Command menu, and you see other extensions, mysterious commands that you don't have in your version, that's where they came from. And I will flag them later on if I use them; I will remind you. With that I think we are ready to proceed with the rest of the course.
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