How to Make Electric Flash Animations

Written by aaron mullins
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How to Make Electric Flash Animations
(Lightning image by professional from Fotolia.com)

Electricity can be a potent special effect in Flash animation, from a bolt of lighting, to cracking electrodes or even superpowers. There are only a couple of basic tricks to know to get the most out of your electrical effects.

Skill level:
Easy

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Things you need

  • Adobe Flash 8 or higher

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Instructions

  1. 1

    Create a dark-coloured square as large as the stage. This will make it easier to see light-coloured electric effects.

  2. 2

    Lock the layer and create a new layer above it.

  3. 3

    Click on the new layer. This will be used for drawing the effects.

  1. 1

    Select the paintbrush tool and the colour for the lightning.

  2. 2

    Draw a wavy line similar to what you see during a storm.

    How to Make Electric Flash Animations
    (eclair foudroyant image by Alexandre Fouquin from Fotolia.com)
  3. 3

    Insert a new Key Frame.

  4. 4

    Draw branches for the lightning bolt.

    How to Make Electric Flash Animations
    (Lightning image by Justin Pirtle from Fotolia.com)
  5. 5

    Insert a new Frame.

  1. 1

    Select and copy the three frames.

  2. 2

    Remove frames 2 and 3 from the timeline.

  3. 3

    Select "Insert," then "New Symbol" from the menu bar. A property window will open.

  4. 4

    Paste the copied frames into the timeline.

  5. 5

    Exit the symbol by pressing "Scene 1" at the top of the stage.

  1. 1

    Open the Library.

  2. 2

    Drag the lightning symbol onto the stage.

  3. 3

    Select the symbol and open its Properties window.

  4. 4

    Open the Filters menu.

  5. 5

    Select "Add Filter" at the bottom of the Filters menu, and choose "Glow."

  6. 6

    Define the glow settings. This step is a matter of preference, from the colour of the glow to its intensity and how far it extends. There is no "wrong" way to set the filter.

  7. 7

    Insert a new Key Frame.

  8. 8

    Delete the symbol from frame 1. This will leave a Blank Key Frame.

  9. 9

    Insert two more frames. This will let the full animation of the movie clip loop.

  10. 10

    Test the animation. With the first frame blank, the lighting bolt will have the look of a sudden strike.

Tips and warnings

  • Filters can only be used on symbols that are Movie Clips.
  • To get the most out of animating electrical effects, go online and watch videos of lightning strikes or music made with Tesla Coils. That will give you a good idea of what sustained arcs of electricity look like.
  • Video Editing Programs or the .AVI file type do not show animation in Movie Clips.

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