Friday, January 23, 2009

Gradient Masks in Flash

Flash does gradients. Flash does masks. But combining the two? Not so simple.

It took a few hours of web searching, but finally somewhere I found a pretty easy solution.

For me, gradient masks allow for smoothing effects of alterable doll parts. I first used them in the mermaid. You'll notice that some of the tails "blend" into the body, yet both the color of the skin and tail can be changed by the user.

1. Your mask must be in a movie clip, the object to be masked must be in a separate movie clip, and BOTH of those have to be in one all-encompassing movie clip (see bottom picture at right).

2. You actually don't use Flash's "Mask" function at all, so stop touching it! It's all done through the "Blend" toggle, in the Properties panel. Set the Blend as follows (see bottom picture at right):

- All encompassing movie clip: "Layer"
- Masking movie clip: "Erase"
- Movie Clip to be masked: "Normal"

3. The tricky part: The mask will work in reverse of the regular Flash mask (see top picture at right). The parts you want to show must be BLANK, and the parts you want to hide must be OPAQUE.

The good news? You can go to town on the gradients here, and it should work. Eg. A mask with 25% opacity will let the object below show with a 75% opacity etc.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Old School Flashback

How's this for a contrast?

Deep in my harddrive I found this picture; a relic from my centaur-obsessed past. It must be from high school, making it like 8 years old!

Interestingly, my style hasn't changed much since then. Not surprising, since I hardly drew at all during college. My degree was in genetics which had no requirement for drawing, and didn't leave much time for doodling.

This character was from the centaur comics mentioned in the last post. The Okapi people lived in Grecian-style white houses on the sea-side. They were the peaceful, well-read species (every sci-fi world has to have one). I'm not sure why they were so scantily clad...

I don't think okapi's are known for intelligence though. They're just not very well know, period. They live in Africa, and are the giraffe's only close relative. My "Mammal Handbook" says they were initially known as "forest zebras" and it took the geniuses a while to figure out that they're a separate species.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Centaur Underway/First Blog Entry

When a visitor e-mailed me requesting a "centre" doll, I spent a few minutes trying to figure out what in the world a "centre" was. When the Google image search returned no hints, I just started saying the word out loud.

"Centre... Centre... oooooh, CENTAUR!"

This was great news. I LOVE centaurs. I remember in grade 9, instead of paying attention in English class, I would draw centaur comics. I imagined an entire island where different types of centaurs lived in different geographical regions. There was an okapi centaur (like pictured to the right), a tiger centaur, polar bear centaur... anyway, I thought it would be quite Divine to have a kick-ass centaur maker. Goal #1: Go waaay beyond just horses. I don't want to give away too much, but let's just say that this Centaur Maker will span a large portion of the animal kingdom.

Stay tuned!