kirupa | 29 September 2005
If you recall, in
the first page, I had you convert your text into a movie clip. It might have
seemed like a redundant step, for we were still using the timeline and nothing
much looked different.
What the difference is, though, is that all of our animation and frames are
self-contained within this movie clip. If I wanted to shift all of our letters
over a bit, it would be a painful process to change each letter at each keyframe
to meet our new location. The same applies for special effects and filters. It
would be time-consuming to add a filter to every letter in every keyframe.
That is where the movie clip comes into play. Above your timeline, click on
the Scene 1 tab:
[ click on your Scene 1 tab ]
Notice that you are now back in your main timeline. Normally, the first frame
of contents in any nested movie clip would be displayed. Since we set the alpha
of all of our letters to 0 on the first frame of our movie clip, you don't see
You can fix that by pressing Ctrl + A or by going to Edit | Select All. Your
movie clip should now be selected. Use your arrow keys to move the movie clip to
a new location, for example, bottom-right:
[ our movie clip moved to the
bottom-right of our screen ]
If you preview your animation by pressing Ctrl + Enter, notice that all of
our letters are now centralized to the bottom-left location. You did not have to
go through and edit each letter individually. You simply shifted the container
that held all of those letters to the new location instead.
Now, let us get back to adding the cool drop shadows to our animation!
- Make sure your movie clip is selected. Since it isn't visible, you may
have to press Ctrl + A, go to Edit | Select All, or simply draw a large
enough selection box on your stage with your mouse by clicking and dragging
on an empty area in your stage.
- Once your movie clip is selected, press Ctrl + C or go to Edit | Copy.
This copies your movie clip into memory.
- We want to paste this movie clip onto a different layer. Right click on
the Layer 1 layer on your timeline and select "Insert Layer":
[ insert a new layer in your timeline ]
- The new layer would have been created above Layer 1. Click on
your new Layer and drag it down so that it is positioned below Layer 1. With
that done, click on the second circle indicating Lock Layer in Layer 1. Your
timeline should look like the following image:
[ how your timeline should look after
adding the new layer and locking Layer 1 ]
When you lock a
layer, you ensure that any objects on the stage in your layer can no longer
be selected. That is useful when you are working with objects (movie clips
in our case) that will be arranged behind another movie clip. Locking the
movie clip on the top ensures that you don't accidentally select and modify
the wrong movie clip.
- Select the empty keyframe in your newly created layer, and
press Ctrl + Shift + V or go to Edit | Paste in Place. You will see that the
movie clip you copied a few steps earlier is now pasted in the same location
you originally copied from.
- Make sure the movie clip is selected, and in your Properties Panel,
click on the Filters tab. You should see a small white text area with a blue
plus graphic. Click on the plus graphic and select the option for Drop
[ from your filters tab, click the plus
graphic and select 'Drop Shadow' ]
- Your Properties Panel will now provide you with parameters of
your drop shadow you can adjust. The default values are good, but the one
modification I made was changing the color of the drop shadow from black to
a medium gray.
Also, this is really important, make sure the check the box for Hide
[ your Shadow properties panel ]
- Now, preview your animation. Notice that your text now has a
drop shadow attached to it! Our drop shadow is not angled though, so let's
implement that feature.
- Right click on your movie clip and select the menu item for Free
Transform. Your movie clip should now have a series of boxes placed on its
[ right click on your movie clip and
select Free Transform ]
- With the Free Transform tool, you can both resize AND skew
your movie clip. Skew your movie clip right by clicking in between the
two-right and top-middle boxes and dragging to the right. Your will notice
your movie clip has a slight right-leaning slant.
- Let's resize the movie clip now. Click on either of the top/bottom
center square and drag towards the center of your movie clip. You will
notice that your movie clip shrinks a bit.
Your movie clip should be shaped similar to the following image:
[ how your movie clip should look after
- If you preview your animation, you will see the drop shadow
positioned at an angle to look as if the light is hitting your text from a
more natural perspective. Of course, you may have to adjust the position and
scale of your shadow, but those are just minor details that you can fix
You are now done with creating a simple animation in Flash 8 that employed
many interesting features from Flash 8! This tutorial is by no means
comprehensive, and there are a lot of useful features that I hope to cover in
I have provided the source file for the file you have been working on as well
as the source file for the example animation I created for the first page of the
If you have a question about this or any other topic, the easiest thing is to comment below or drop by our forums where a bunch of the friendliest people you'll ever run into will be happy to help you out!
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