Archive for the ‘Class Exercises’ Category


CE 21: Flash along a path

April 7, 2010

Here, exercises in applying a Guide Layer. A path drawn in this Guide Layer will steer the course of a Classic Tween applied to its parent layer.

First, right-click on blank parent layer to choose Add Classic Motion Guide. In the Guide layer, draw the path that an object is going to take. (Note: use only pen or pencil for this, not the brush or other fill tools.) Back in the original, blank layer, create a shape and drag it to the start point of the path. Apply Classic Tween in the usual way and place the shape at the end point of the path. (Also note: Classic tweens apply to shapes, not to symbols. A symbol has to be Broken Apart before this will work.)

In the first example, I also applied a transform to the same Classic tween to make the ball larger at the endpoint.

The tweening got confused when I made a path a complete loop, so in the second example here, the square path actually doesn’t complete – the start and end points have a gap of half a ball-width or so between them. The motion still looks smooth.

Two examples:


CE 20: Flash tween with shape hints

April 5, 2010

Class exercise in shape tweening using “shape hints” to guide the transformation. First, two simple text letters go into keyframes 24 frames apart for the start and end. Text is a “symbol” in Flash, so before a shape tween can be applied, each letter has to be converted into pure shapes with the “Break Apart” command. Once a shape tween has been applied to the run of frames, then Modify > Shape > Add Shape Hint can add a hint dot to the start frame. Each dot is dragged to a good spot on the edge of the start letter, and its corresponding dot to a matching place on the end letter. After some trial and error, the shape hints can constrain the transformation to something that makes sense.

First image with no shape hints, second with. This animation uses four shape hints, two on the tips of the C and leftmost points of the K, and two matching the upper and lower edge of the C to the pinched-in points in center of the K.


CE-17: Flash intro: Shape distortion (or: Tormenting squares)

March 29, 2010

From top to bottom:

Square cut by subtracting a triangle from it. The triangle was a different color during the process, so that it could be deleted from each frame after it removed parts of the square.

Square with another square subtracted from it.

Distorted “breathing” rectangle made by distorting each frame, then by copying the set of frames and reversing them.

First distorted rectangle, made frame by frame in class, then reversed.


CE7: Color guide exercise

February 10, 2010

Done for this class exercise: using the Color Guide in the top right corner of Illustrator. This dandy tool automatically chooses a set of colors to go along with whatever color you’re currently using, and not just one – it generates a whole pull-down menu of sets related to each other by different rules.

The Color Guide.

List of possible color sets.

All the colors in a set are chosen automatically by the program, because their relationships can be expressed through geometry on a color wheel – and by opening the tiny Edit Colors color-wheel symbol, those relationships can be visualized. So colors that complement each other instead of clashing have a definite mathematical relationship, the same way that harmonious music does.

Here’s my finished class exercise:

CE7 color guide exercise.

(The rectangle tool makes the boxes, with Shift held to constrain them to squares. Then the Select arrowhead tool moves them or changes their size; use Select with Option to drag an exact duplicate of whatever box needs to be moved. Making the background black was peculiar: use the Rectangle tool with black fill, and Select to drag the resulting black box right out to the edges of the image, behind all the other text and shapes.)

The Triad and Pentagram sets, among others, are named for the arrangement of lines that join them on the color wheel: they are equidistant from the center (which means they have the same intensity), and equally removed from one another.

Triad wheel

Pentagram wheel

The Shades wheel.

The Shades wheel takes all five colors from the same point on the wheel, with the same shade (the angle of the line to center) and the same intensity (distance from center). The shades vary only in the amount of black.

Analogous 2 wheel

Complementary wheel

The Analogous colors are closely related to the main color, so their angles from center are similar. For the Complementary wheel, the reverse is true: the colors are as far away from the main color as possible.

Compound 2 wheel

And the Compound wheel chose colors related to two main colors: the initial gold color, and a dark purple that I had accidentally chosen earlier.

These sets of colors convey different emotions or expressions when applied to an image; but the study of what color conveys is an entire class or three in itself.


CE-5: Logo process sheet

January 27, 2010

One-hour exercise in brainstorming logos on the concept “the environment”. Half an hour on paper, ten minutes learning to scan, and twenty minutes or so wrestling with the pen tool in tracing what I think is the strongest one, the Zebra Leaf. But I need some serious Illustrator practice for my brain and my hand to agree on where the pen line is going to end up.


CE4: Battle of the pen tool

January 25, 2010

Working on the assignment given here, tracing a variety of shapes with the notoriously counterintuitive Pen Tool in Illustrator. It doesn’t draw lines as such; it draws math: you set point A and point B as “anchors” and bend the line between them by pulling on little gravity wells called “handles”. Each anchor has two handles, one for the line segment trailing it, one for the segment ahead. So each line segment is influenced by two handles, one at each endpoint.

The pen tool in its native habitat

(how to take a screenshot on a Mac: Cmd + Shift + 3 for whole screen, +4 to mouse-drag a selection)

First two “easy” pictures, one done in class, one that evening. The battery was mostly done by clicking anchors very close together instead of curving the lines… not an efficient method.

Battery outline

Pipe outline

(How to color the line that the pen makes: go to the Color palette and make sure the solid square is slashed out, [ / ], and the hollow square that looks like a picture frame is colored.)
(How to fill in a pen trace: go to the Color palette and change the solid square from [ / ] to a color.)

Next began the all-out battle to make those lines bend the way I wanted them to bend. Figuring out which of the two handles on each anchor did what, by trial and error, experimentation, and begging advice, took about eight hours and several separate sessions. Thanks to Avery in the anime club, and to the pen tutorials on Veerle’s design blog here.

The first boat image has had the underlying picture layer removed. The second boat image shows how much edge was left around the imperfect pen tracing.

Boat outline

Boat outline with edge showing

The second of the Moderate level images, the boat anchor, took less than an hour. This image has NOT had the underlying picture removed, yet it shows almost no leftover edges at all. Finally I’m getting the hang of this.

Anchor outline

(How to cut out the windows and holes in a pen-traced image: ….still working on that part as of Feb 8 )

(Video tutorial on using Pathfinder to cut out shapes: here )