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Subject: Re: FLASH: Re: Masking
From: Marc Hoffman
Date: Wed, 30 Dec 1998 18:27:34 GMT

At 07:05 AM 12/30/98 -0800, you wrote:
>>>Hi everybody. Is there an individual out there who can provide me with
>>>some tutorial advice woth regards to masking? Not only the basic steps
>>>involved, but also applications of the technique. Thanks in advance...

Hi John.

Yes, you had posted to the list but your request was a bit vague and i
wasn't sure what you were after.

A mask must reside in its own layer and the layer must be set to the mask
attribute (this is done via clicking the Modify Layer box to the right of
the layer name). The mask will then consist of a solid filled area that you
create within the mask layer. It will affect only the layer immediately
below it. The filled mask will allow whatever is on the layer below it to
show through. Nothing else on that layer will show. The mask itself will be
invisible in the exported movie.

You can set the mask layer attribute to Show Masking if you want to see the
effect in the authoring environment. Note that the effect will not display
in authoring if either of the two layers is active. If one is being worked
on, the mask effect will not show. Note also that masks are solid areas.
You can fill them with a gradient but it is the outline of the filled area,
not the quality of the fill, that determines what will show through from
the masked layer. Masks can be static or animated and they can appear and
disappear over the timeline.

Several uses for masks:
1) Use a solid symbol for the mask and motion tween it. This can give the
effect of a spotlight revealing what is beneath, or can make it appear that
objects are popping up here and there. It is a good alternative to making
the masked layer move, especially when the masked layer is a bitmap that
would be sluggish to animate. You could also stack several pairs of
mask-/masked-layers in which the masked layers are identical except for a
color effect or some other effect, and use masks that are offset to one
another so that there is an effect of the object changing as it is being
revealed. For example, if revealing copies of the same text, one copy could
be more transparent and could be revealed earlier, giving a fuzzy edge effect.
2) Motion tween the masked layer: This could be used to make text scroll
into view within a limited area of the stage rather than over the entire stage.
3) Mask an entire bitmap image, then create cut-outs in the mask for those
objects that appear in the foreground of the bitmap. Insert a new layer
between the mask and the bitmap and use it to hold small motion-tweened
vector objects. The vector objects will now appear to slide behind the
foreground objects in the bitmap. This is a work-around for creating
transparent areas of the bitmap (example:
http://www.jps.net/dartfrog/rosie/, in which the vector dog appears to run
behind the girls in the bitmap).

As noted, you cannot blur the edges of the mask. you can, however, place
(on a higher layer) a shape with a gradient that blends from background to
transparent, and this shape can give the effect of a fade-out. On my Poison
Dart Frog Media splash page, http://www.jps.net/dartfrog, there is a small
"enter" Flash movie with a breathing frog. I used the blurring technique to
give soft edges to the text "click the frog to enter" as it sweeps from
right to left.

Marc Hoffman
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
marcatdartfrogmedia [dot] com (mailto:marcatdartfrogmedia [dot] com)
View my Flash3 work: <http://www.jps.net/dartfrog/sampler>.
Play a virtual marimba: <www.dartfrogmedia.com>.
Read about Flash: <http://www.jps.net/dartfrog/sampler/flashinf>

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  Re: FLASH: Re: Masking, John Bastin

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