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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.
Before we begin the course there are some issues that have to be dealt with. One of the problems that you're going to hit; everyone's going to hit this problem, is at some point you're going to throw so many effects at Flash that it will slow down. What you're seeing right now is an animated smoke effect, and we will be doing this later on the course. But I want you to see what's going to happen when you throw a lot of these different particles at the Flash program; at the SWF, or the swiff, format. I am going to make it even worse than it is right now by hitting Full Screen.
And this is a fairly fast computer, and what you're seeing -- it starts pretty fast, and then as the particles begin to really hit their maximum number, it slows down, and then it speeds up again as the particles have dissipated. And what's happening is a combination of stresses on the player. All these gradients, and the number of them, is simply too much for Flash, even on a fast computer, to keep up with. The solution to this; there are a couple of cheats that we will definitely cover, but the quickest one, and the one that I use most often is to simply render out the animation as a movie file.
Now here we have a QuickTime movie of the same animation, and we want this to loop. So I am going to select Loop. and I also want it to play full screen, so we can really compare it. And we let it loop a couple of times. So as you can see, we're getting a full 30 frame per second playback, and this is something that you're going to have to decide yourself case by case. You will have a different computer than me, a different video card, you have different animations. At some point you are going to hit this wall.
You will try to do everything that you can with different effects, and nested effects, and you'll see it happen. One minute Flash will be keeping up with your animation, and then you will hit that little hump. This is the most common way that I have to work around it, so that I can test my animation truly by rendering out a movie file. We will cover this in greater detail later. I really want you to know about this in advance, because you might hit this wall yourself in the next lesson, the one after that, or the one after that. So that will prepare you.
So don't get disappointed. If at any point in this course you feel like my computer is too slow, there are all kinds of tricks and workarounds that we will be deploying. This is one of them. So please keep up and we will guide you through it, and help you to really squeeze every last ounce of performance out of Flash and your computer.
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