How to use the free 'Anim8or' app to make 3D stills and movies

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Free 15 Day Trial of $50 Macromedia Flash .swf Movie Producing "Swish 2.0" Program
Understanding Swish 2.0 Tutorial One "My First Swish Movie" and the basics of Swish

David Virgil Hobbs
You can use Swish 2.0 free for fifteen days, to create and use Flash movies without any marks appearing on them or any restrictions. The $20 Swish Lite Trial Version by way of contrast never expires but its output is scrambled so you cannot create anything useful with it.

After using the links below to download Swish 2.0, in Swish 2.0 click help->tutorials->first swish movie to open their introductory tutorial; and hit ALT-F, M on your keyboard and then first.swf in the toolbar panel to open the swf flash format movie that they supply to work with in the tutorial.

After this you are instructed to click ALT-F, T, P to test the newly loaded movie in your player. If that does not succeed in opening and playing the swf movie, even though heretofore you have had no problem playing swf flash format movies found in web pages, do not panic. In general you might only be able to open swf format movies that are embedded in html pages, because you have not taken steps to officially associate the flash player with swf format movies. If such is the case you will need to officially associate the flash player with the flash movies, by clicking on an swf format movie on your hard drive and then taking the steps required to associate the player with the swf typefile. IF you want you can skip or delay this step and still work with swf format movies with the Swish editor if you are able at least to view swf movies embedded in web pages. Just do something their instructions (which are sometimes not that well presented) do not specifically advise, and hit ALT-C-P or ALT-C-S and the Swish application will play their sample movie.

Next follow their instruction and click alt F N to start a new swi format project. The swi file is the Swish editor set to all the specifications that create a given swf flash movie. For example one swi file might have all the codes used to produce an animation of a bike and another those used to create an airplane. These swi file are by a couple of steps transformed into usable swf flash movies.

The swish editor structure you will be confronted with features a timeline row on top, a movie properties box in the bottom right, a layout panel in the bottom middle area, and an outline panel in the bottom left.

In the timeline panel at the top you can see a frame by frame representation of your movie in its current state of development. By right or left clicking on various areas of this panel you can do some things you cannot do with other panels or that are more difficult to do working with the other panels. In the movie panel you can set specs for entire movies and scenes or speficic segments of such. You can see your movie play in whatever state it is currently in, in the layout panel. In the bottom left outline panel you can select various scenes in the movie and insert text into those scenes, by hiliting the scene you want to insert text into, clicking the text button and then clicking "insert text". If you click "insert text" in the bottom left box the text panel will appear in the bottom right, replacing the movie panel; in the text panel you can alter the style color and content of the inserted text which is at first inserted as the word "text". To return to the movie panel click the movie tab to the left of the text tab. To get back to the text panel again, you can simply click the text tab which will apear next to the movie tab, if the text in the scene is hilited in the outline panel or in the layout panel.

The various panel positions I am talking about here can get wild in the course of the use of the swish editor. The positions I am talking about are the default positions of the various panels within the Swish editor window. To return the Swish editor to these default positions, hit ALT-P, D.

After this there are a few simple steps; then follow tutorial which commands you to in the timeline row panel at the top, in the bottom row of the timeline, the row where the word of text you have inserted in the first scene is listed, to click on frame zero in this row and then click "add effect" in the left of the top row of the timeline row. Click "fade in", uncheck continue from previous, because you are at the beginning of first scene of the swf movie, hit the "start at" tab, set the x scale scale factor to 20 and then click enter. Setting this to 20 will result in the text starting out at a size that is twenty percent of the size it ends up as during the fade in you have assigned it to undergo. Then clicking the motion tab set x scale resize to 100 and close dialog box.

(double clicking on a frame in the timeline will open the add effect dialog box for the particular maneuver once it has been instated for that section of the timeline).

To see what the swf format flash movie you have created looks like, hilite the movie or scene or element you want to see play in the bottom left outline panel and click ALT-C-M or ALT-C-P. THE FLASH MOVIE AS YOU HAVE CONSTITUTED IT SO FAR WILL PLAY IN THE BOTTOM ROW IN THE BOTTOM MIDDLE LAYOUT PANEL . ALT-C, T will stop the play of it.

Next follow the Swish tutorial instructions and click frame 14 in the bottom row in the top timeline panel, the row with the word appearing in the first scene of the movie listed in the extreme left of the row. Then click add effect, open the fade out panel, and close to accept the default fade out settings. You can click play in the fade out panel to see the fade out effect play in isolation. To see the panel corresponding to a particular effect such as a fadeout, right click on the effect in the appropriate row of the timeline panel, and hit properties.

When several pieces of text have been inserted into the movie, you will be able to see them in the bottom left outline panel when the box next to the scene listing in the outline panel is set to the negative sign. If it is set to the positive sign click on the positive sign to change it to a negative and expand the scene listing so that the words appearing in the scene can be seen. To change the settings for a given words in a scene hilite it in the outline panel. This will cause the text panel to open in the bottom right so you can change how the piece of text appears in the swf format flash movie you are creating.


Save as (ALT-F, A) produces an swi saved to whatsoever folder you wish which is the particular movie's settings and codes opened in the Swish editor. "Export as HTML" ( ALT-F, E) creates an html page in which is embedded the link to the movie you are "exporting", along with the movie that is linked to.

Here's a tip not found in the Swish help section: In the source code of the html file that is created when you "export as html", you will see that if you add in the code, at the spot where other such parameter designations are found, <param name = "loop" value="false">, this addition will result in the movie only playing once. By default the HTML code in the HTML page produced by the "export as HTML" command leaves out this line so that the movie plays over and over again. This could be a problem even when you want want the movie to loop, because if you have in the creation of the swf movie programmed it to loop, the HTML code embedding the movie in the HTML page, by instructing it to loop by default, could add an extra redundant looping to the animation.

It is at first difficult to understand how colors are specified for the background in the movie ( More time consuming confusion to feed the insatiable computer nerd owned and operated time consumption beast! ). As it turns out clicking on the Bgnd Color button in the movie panel opens a colorful dialog box which allows you to set the background color of the movie as a whole. As for specific scenes, the scene tab appears in the bottom right movie panel when the movie as a whole or a specific scene is hilited in the outline panel in the bottom left of the Swish editor. Clicking on this tab produces the scene panel, where the background color can be set for the specific scene. If the transparency of the background color of the scene is set to 100 percent the color specified will be the exact color of the background in the scene. If this transparency is set to 0% the background color of the movie will be the background color of the scene. If the transparency color is set to some number between 100 and 0%, the background color of the scene will be a mix of the color specified for the scene and the color specified for the movie as whole, reminiscent of the way colors mix when you mix say blue paint with yellow paint in a bucket and thoroughly stir the concoction.

Clearing the "loop preview animation" checkbox in the movie panel allows you to see the preview without the movie repeating itself endlessly.

When a piece of text is hilited in the outline panel, the transform tab is one of the tabs that appears in the movie panel in the bottom right of the editor, along with the text tab. Clicking on this transform tab will open the transform panel. the "center" or other alignment button in this panel refers to the spot on the text object that is referenced for placement. Is it the center of the text object, the top left, the bottom right, etc? If for example center is selected here, if you place the piece of text in the movie by click and drag, the resulting numerical indicator of its position will refer to the center of the piece of text; if however you select bottom left the numerical indicator will indicate the X and Y coordinates of the bottom left spot of the piece of text. Likewise numerical coordinates assigned to the piece of text by input in the appropriate dialog box will assign the coordinates of the center of the text if center is chosen here but the top left of the text if top left is chosen.

RE the other settings in this text transform panel, W and H give the width and height of the object. X scale and Y scale change the size of the object by a certain percentage. Uniform means that the x and y are changed by the same percentage. The angles work the same as the x scale y scale uniform being unchecked gives you more latitude. Reset sends the specs for the piece of text back to zero angles and 100 percent scale factors.

RE angles in the text transform panel: the uppermost of the two angle inputs at the bottom of the panel, tilts the text to right at 45 flattens to right at 90 turns to upside down at 180 turns around flattens at 270 does loop at 360. 45 degrees input with this top of the angle inputs, tilts the word so that the letter at the extreme right of the word is lower vertically than the letter at the extreme left of the word. The angle input below this one however tilts the letters not the word as a whole so for example a horizontal word when tilted will remain horizontal but the letters in it will tilt to the side. negative numbers in these angle specs do the opposite of positive ones. Be careful to avoid creating something tacky looking through the use of these angle specs.

Right clicking in a timeline segment that is a fade in segment, and then choosing properties gives you the fade in dialogue box. Clearing the continue from previous effect checkbox in this dialog box, will materialize the start tab. The start tab and the panel you get by clicking it is an attribute of several special effects functions such as fade in and fade out, naturally, since such have a beginning and an end...start at x and y in the start panel allow you to set the x-axis and y-axis start position of the piece of text before the fade in or other effect, absolutely, or relative to the end point position of the text at the conclusion of the fade in or other effect.

The "Reset components to original transforms" checkbox in the start at panel: when this checkbox is cleared, the position of the manipulated object at the beginning of the effect will be whatever position the object was left in at the end of the previous effect. If it is checked, the position of the object at the beginning of the effect will be the position of the object at the beginning of the previous effect.

X scale and Y scale in these start at panels (clear the X=Y checkbox to show the Y scale input) sets the size of the object at the start of the effect before it is transformed by the effect. This is set relative to the actual original size of the object. Unchanged leaves the object's size whatever size it is, 100% sets the size back to 100% of the original size of the object if effects have changed the size of the object; and for example 200% sets the object at twice its original basic size. Color allows the object's color to be set at the beginning of the fade in or other effect.

X and Y angle inputs in the start at panels set the angle of the object at the beginning of the effect such as the fade-in. Unchanged leaves the objects angle unchanged; zero puts it at zero (the angle may have been changed away from zero by a previous scene) and angle can be specifically set. The Rotate CW by input allows you to add a certain number of degrees to whatever angle the object is at prior to the beginning of the effect.

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