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eCard Project - Spray Brush Tool and Snow Tween

Our FlashR CS4 eCard is nice as is but it will be more interesting if we add a snowfall animation. This can be done in several ways including coding a particle system in ActionScript. However, we are working on a short animation and we can create the same look of a snowfall by tweening a movie clip. We will draw the snow for our movie clip using Flash's new Spray Brush tool. Open your working file into Flash.

1. Add a new layer at the top of the Timeline and name it "Snow". Lock all layers but the Snow layer.

2. Click on the Spray Brush tool. In the Properties panel, change the color for the Spray Brush from the default black to white for the snow. Check the box for Random Scaling which will make the snowflakes random in size. This randomness will show up more if we increase the maximum size for our snowflake. Using the sliders, increase the Width and Height to 120 pixels. If you want larger snowflakes use 150 or even higher.

We want our snow to start falling when the eCard starts (Frame 1) and still fill the stage when we reach the end of the animation on Frame 75. One way to do this is to draw the snow over the entire stage and also above the stage. As the snow on the stage moves down, it will be replaced with the snow that is above the stage, keeping the stage covered in snow for the entire animation. We will draw the snow as one large rectangle that we will make into a movie clip. Let's draw the snow object as a large rectangle shape that is twice the height of the stage and the same width as the stage.

When using the Spray Brush, Flash creates a new object each time you click your mouse button. For example, if we spray three times with the Spray Brush, we will have three objects on the stage. We could group these three objects to animated them together but it would be just as easy to create one snow object. To do this, we need to start spraying at the top of our snow rectangle and keep the mouse button pressed until we reach the bottom of the stage.

3. Imagine a large rectangle over the stage that is twice the height of the stage. Starting at the top left of this snow rectangle, hold down your mouse button and spray the snow in a zig-zag movement back and forth until you get to the bottom right of the stage. If you have a small monitor like I do, you may want to set the view to 50%. Now we are ready to create the tween.

4. You should still be on Frame 1. With the Selection tool, click on a snowflake to select the snow rectangle. Drag it upward until the bottom of the rectangle is touching the top of the stage. Right-click on the rectangle and convert it to a symbol. Set the Type to Movie Clip and name the movie clip "Snow". Right-click on the movie clip and choose Create Motion Tween.

5. Go to the end of our animation (Frame 75). Drag the snow rectangle down until the top of the rectangle touches the top of the stage. You will notice that Flash has added a Tween Path above the stage.

6. Test your eCard and you should see the snowfall move down along with the Let It Snow message. The snow should continue until we reach the end of the animation and the eCard starts again.



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