Beginner's Guide to Adobe Flash/Filters and Blend Modes
Applying Filters in Flash
Filters are a quick way to add some visual polish to your Flash designs. Instead of spending time editing shapes to make drop shadows of adjusting gradient fills to create bevels, you can apply live filters and use the pre-made settings to adjust the filter effect. These filters are rendered “on the fly” and do not create new symbols and add them to your Library. You can also always edit your content, even with the filter effect applied. You can also edit and control your filters with Actionscript, but there are some quick and easy ways to apply filters in the authoring environment without any code. Filters are rendered in real time as you create them, so what you see is what you will get in the final movie.
Blend modes are a feature new to Flash 8. You may already be familiar with blend modes from using Photoshop or other image editing software. These blends are tools that render an image that is a mix of two overlapping images. With different types of blends, different pixel values will be generated. Blend modes can be applied to both Movie Clips and Button symbols using the Blend mode menu. This menu is located in the Properties panel. The blend image will affect any image underneath it, even if the images are on different layers.
You can add multiple filters to one item and they will be rendered in the order they appear in the live list, from top to bottom. Changing the order of filters by dragging a filter name up or down in the live list will change the final result of the combined effect, but the settings for each filter will be preserved and editable.
If you have created a special combination of filters or found a custom filter setting that you would like to reuse, the Presets option makes it easy to save and access your own list of filter effects.
To save a filter setting or filter combo to the presets menu, follow these steps:
1. Select the item that has the filters and settings applied that you would like to save.
All filters in the live list for the selected item will be saved with the preset - including any filters that are toggled off. When the custom filter is applied from the Presets menu to another item, the settings will be identical.
2. In the Filters panel, click the plus icon (+) to invoke the filter menu , and from the Presets submenu, select Save As.
3. Enter a name for your custom filter settings or filter combo and click OK.
4. The named preset will be added to the bottom of the Presets submenu, along with any other saved Presets, and can be applied to other items.
After a Preset is applied to an item, the settings can be modified on that item without corrupting the saved Preset. Unfortunately, the Presets list doesn't have a centralized edit option, but you can select the Rename or Delete option from the Preset submenu to load your list of currently saved presets into dialog boxes that enable you to rename an item or remove an item from the list. If you'd like to share your filter presets with someone else, all you have to do is provide them with the XML file that is saved for each preset in theflashConfigurationfolder. The standard file paths saved filter presets are as follows:
- C: \Documents and Settings\username\Local Setti ngs\Application Data\Macromedia\Flash 8\language\Configuration\Filters\filtername.xml
- Macintosh HD/Users/username/Library/Application Support/Macromedia/Flash 8/language/Configuration/Filters/filtername.xml
Once the XML files are copied into the same location on someone else's computer, the presets will appear in her Presets menu when she starts flash 8. filter swapping is an easy way to share creative resources and to keep effects consistent for projects that rely on filters for a specific look.
Although you may occasionally find it helpful to combine filters, it is best to try and achieve the result you want by first adjusting the settings of a single filter and/or modifying the symbol instance using the Color Effect settings in the Properties panel or the Transform tools. As with any intensive effect rendered at run time, multiple filters will have a negative impact on the performance of the published flash movie.
The following areas are covered in further detail: