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Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
Illustration by John Hersey

Understanding linear and radial gradients


From:

Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Understanding linear and radial gradients

Flash has a gradient feature. This gradient feature has two forms: one is linear, and one is radial, and in your exercise files folder you'll see the project file for this. Linear, as it suggests, is a simple left to right. It can go up, down, or diagonally. And the radial feature can be of circular form or elliptical; it can even be tweaked them to an egg shape. So it's fairly limited; quite straightforward. It can't do anything organic, so if you want it to curve to an S shape, you're not going to have a good time with it. Nevertheless, as simple as it is, it can be used to pretty great effect as long as you work within those constraints.
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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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Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
5h 16m Intermediate Aug 09, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Overlapping and animating colors
  • Creating lens flares
  • Animating hair with shape tweens
  • Animating an explosion
  • Animating smoke with particles
  • Animating a scream
  • Using Virtual Cam
  • Lighting a 3D shot
  • Animating cross dissolves
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation
Software:
Flash Professional
Author:
Dermot O' Connor

Understanding linear and radial gradients

Flash has a gradient feature. This gradient feature has two forms: one is linear, and one is radial, and in your exercise files folder you'll see the project file for this. Linear, as it suggests, is a simple left to right. It can go up, down, or diagonally. And the radial feature can be of circular form or elliptical; it can even be tweaked them to an egg shape. So it's fairly limited; quite straightforward. It can't do anything organic, so if you want it to curve to an S shape, you're not going to have a good time with it. Nevertheless, as simple as it is, it can be used to pretty great effect as long as you work within those constraints.

Click the Zoom tool, or Z on the key keyboard. So if we look at the frame 1 of this file, you'll see what I call the "bowl of light". This is what it was called back in the golden age of animation where you could combine variations of different gradients to create an illumined spotlit area and favor that area for your animation action, or your staging. So that's the basic principle that we will be applying throughout the course whenever we use gradients. I'm going to show you the big problem that plague gradients in this program, and that's banding. This can happen in many programs; you will see it in Photoshop too if you get very, very subtle.

I find that this happens much more often when you use subtle gradients. And these red lines here; they are the transitions. Ideally of course, we would like to see a completely smooth from dark to light, and we're not seeing it. So this is something that we are going to have to continually watch out for. I've also noticed that depending on the monitor that you're using, you might see it or not see it. So depending on your output -- if you are going to be working for an iPhone this probably isn't going to be something that you need to be worry about. If you're going to be working for something that's going to be seen on a television screen or a larger screen, you really have to watch out for this.

I work on a Cintiq at home -- if you don't know, the Cintiq is the monitor that you can draw directly onto -- and I find that one of the drawbacks of the Cintiq is that the screen is a little bit darker. It's a tradeoff in the design of that Cintiq, or any of those screen tools. I would strongly recommend, before you get too deeply into this, that you test this pipeline for yourself; for your own workflow. Make sure that you are comfortable with whatever artifacts might or might not emerge. It comes down to your project; what it looks like. If it is going to be subtle like this, as you can see there is very little banding here.

I don't see very much evidence of it at all. You might see some beginning to appear here, but that falls within that band that I'm comfortable with. You might not be; you might be extra intolerant of it. It's just something to be aware of as we proceed through the course.

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