As you have learned in previous chapters, in Flash you work in an area that is called the Stage area. For broadcast animation (or any other kind, for that matter), it is better to think of it as the viewfinder of a camera. The main difference between this camera and the traditional kind, or even those used in 3D animation, is this: You can't move it . So, to give the illusion of camera movement, everything within the view must move. This is not as hard as it might seem with Flash's capability to use animated graphic symbols. A good example is in Richard Bazley's animated short, The Journal of Edwin Carp .
In a scene where the view seems to pan up from Edwin's bed to show a crack in the ceiling, all of the elements on the Stage have to move to create the illusion of a camera move. Here are the steps for creating this effect, as shown in Figure 14-16:
A Graphic symbol of the entire scene of animation that was larger than the camera's view was made (so that white space wouldn't show at the edges).
The symbol was placed in the Main Timeline.
The symbol was scaled and placed on the first keyframe to frame the medium view of Edwin in his bed.
The symbol was then scaled and placed on a later keyframe to frame the view of the cracked ceiling.
By tweening between these two keyframed views, the illusion of a camera zoom out and pan up is created as the whole scene moves on the Stage.
Figure 14-16: A few shots from the bedroom scene in The Journal of Edwin Carp
|On the CD-ROM||
We include this scene and several others from The Journal of Edwin Carp , an animated feature film that was done entirely in Flash, on the CD-ROM in the R_Bazley folder inside the ch14 folder.
Richard Bazley describes some of his other clever animation techniques in his tutorial for the Flash MX Bible (Wiley) on "2D Character Animation." This tutorial is archived online for readers who wish to learn more about specialized animation techniques. Go to www.flashsupport.com/archive .
We're all waiting for the day when
Runtime bitmap caching only optimizes Web playback for Flash movies with complex background images that are static or panned vertically or horizontally. The position, but not the content, of the cached symbol can change without requiring the Flash Player to
As we mentioned previously, when you're designing with Flash for the Web, use raster (bitmap) images with a careful eye on their file
Beginning with Flash 4, Flash expanded its import capabilities to include raster video — QuickTime and AVI. When using video output for broadcast, you can export to these formats, too, and video that has been embedded in a Flash project file (.fla) will show up when output to .swf format. In the past, Flash did not recognize alpha channels embedded in the QuickTime 32-bit animation codec (which supports traveling mattes, or alphas). The workaround was to use Mask
Remember that you also have the option to link the video file rather than save it within the Flash project file (thank goodness) — Flash makes a pointer to it instead. This keeps your file sizes much more manageable. The only drawback to linking video instead of embedding it is that it won't show up when output to the .swf format.
The option of combining video with vector animation has brought tremendous functionality to Flash because animations can be keyed, or composited, over (or behind) live video without having to recomposite in After Effects. To take advantage of this, keep your live video at the same frame rate as the Flash project. Note, however, that Flash will export only the audio from the video clip in some formats, so you may need to
You can find an archived version of the "Exporting Animation" chapter from the Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Bible (Wiley, 2004) at www.flashsupport.com/archive . The chapter includes more detailed information about the various options for exporting animation and audio.
The drawing and effect tools in Flash have become more robust with each release. Flash 8 Professional finally
When creating layered backgrounds, using Photoshop and alpha channels delivers the most versatility. When using Photoshop for scenery elements, it's mandatory to work in layers and to save a master file with all layers intact. Elements can then be exported to individual files (with alpha channels) as needed. (Retaining the master layered Photoshop file gives you maximum options later, if edits or changes occur. It can also be used as a resource for
Whoops! You got to a point where you didn't use layers and now you need a mask. Some situations may be either too complicated or else unforeseeable in the original design. Flash Mask layers can come to the rescue. Here's the good news: You can mask (and animate the mask) interactively with the other elements while in Flash. The bad news is that it might be more difficult to create a precise mask in Flash than to export an alpha channel from the original Photoshop file. A classic example of masking used in character animation is the black circle that
Long pans are a standard device of animated cartoons; an example is when Fred Flintstone runs through the house and furniture keeps zipping past (that must be one looooong living room). This can be done a couple of ways in Flash. For landscape backgrounds, it's usually best to first create a very wide graphic (bitmap or vector) of the landscape and then to Motion tween it horizontally, with keyframes for stopping and starting as needed within the tween. If something is either falling or
For Web animation, it is best to use Movie Clips for looping animation, but if you are planning to output your animation to video, you have to lay out all animation in keyframes on the main Timeline (or in Graphic symbols). When it's exported to video, only the first frame of any Movie Clips will display, unless you use After Effects or Macromedia Director to translate the .swf file before final output.
You can find an archived version of the "Exporting Animation" chapter from the Macromedia Flash MX 2004 Bible (Wiley, 2004) at www.flashsupport.com/archive . The chapter includes more detailed information about the various options for exporting animation.
In the Weber cartoon scene of a chase along the beach, a camera pan was created by tweening a symbol of the whole
Figure 14-17: The chase scene from the Weber cartoon is created with a looping pan.
The Work area in Flash is now called the "Pasteboard," and it has been expanded in Flash 8 to better support workflows that require extra-long graphics that will be tweened across the Stage. This feature is also handy for developers who like to store extra elements off the Stage where they won't be visible in the final .swf. Think of it as the theatre wings of your Flash stage.
To provide 3D-motion depth during the pan, keep this rule in mind: An object that is farther away appears to move more slowly (than a nearer object) as it moves across the view. This takes some experimenting to get it right, but once mastered, this will add a professional touch to your animations. For example, in a 100-frame pan of a beach scene looking toward the water:
The sky moves very slowly at 100 pixels total.
The water moves more quickly at 125 pixels total.
The character on the beach moves more quickly than the water at 150 pixels total.
A parked car in the immediate foreground moves most
The multiplane camera was used in early Disney
Figure 14-18: The opening pier scene from the Weber cartoon has a feeling of depth created by using increasing levels of blur on the background layers.
In Photoshop, it's a simple case of using incrementally higher doses of Gaussian blur on the layers of your scenery that are farther way. The farther the object is, the more blur that is applied — just be sure that the blur is applied to the alpha channel that Flash will use in compositing. In Flash 8 Professional, gradually apply more intensive levels of blur using the Blur filter. Photographers use this technique to bring attention to the element in the shot that is in focus. Using it in animation enhances the illusion of depth. However, using it in the foreground can also portray various elements, such as fog.