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Object Drawing Model
One of the new features of Flash 8 is the Object Drawing Model.
Prior versions of Flash only supported the Merge Drawing Model.
But in Flash 8 you can toggle between these two approaches.
Merge drawing is like it sounds, when one line/shape overlaps
another line/shape they merge, or if you put a shape over
another shape the shape on bottom appears to get eliminated. We
all have used this and also lamented this sometimes. The work
around was to group lines or shapes to protect them from these
types of merges. This is not required with object drawing which
separates line/shapes and does not merge the overlapping pieces.
TBS V3 also has this type of drawing feature. It isn't talked
about as object drawing mode or merge drawing mode but the
functionality is there. In TBS V3 you can select a menu choice
called "Draw Top Layer" which is in fact the same thing as the
Merge Drawing Model in Flash. Or if you toggle off "Draw Top
Layer" you get the same results as the Flash Object Drawing
Model. Different names same functionality.
Eraser, Scissors and Cutter
thought you might enjoy these features of TBS V3 and a
comparison to Flash for the same functionality. TBS V3 has three
tools for making cuts in drawn objects. They are the cutter,
(icon is a xacto knife) the scissor and the eraser. The eraser
is basically just like the eraser in Flash. It is a bit more
adjustable in setting the size of the erasing stroke because you
can set it just like you can set a pencil or line tool but
basically it is just an eraser. The Flash eraser has some
options that I haven't yet discovered in TBS related to
selectivity of only lines or only fills when you erase so that
still needs some research on my part.
The scissor tool works like using either the lasso tool or the
select tool in Flash to make a cut of an object or collection of
objects. You can make a rectangular cut like you would get with
the selection tool or you can make a free form shape cut like
you get with the lasso. And just as in Flash, unless you move
the cut out selection there is no actual cut made when you
But the cutter tool in TBS is a new tool in V3 and it is very
different and I think an improvement to the tools available in
Flash. With the cutter tool you can make a stroke through an
object and it is just like you cut it with a sharp xacto blade.
You don't need to move anything, just make your cut and it
exists. This is really useful for breaking up a character to
create parts for cut out animation or for any task that requires
being able to create a cut in a line or shape without moving it.
In Flash this can sort of be done by using the pencil or line
tool to cut the object in merge drawing mode but for those of us
who are use to doing that it is a tedious multi- step process
requiring cleaning up the extra lines after the cut. With the
TBS cutter tool there are no extra lines created so not any
clean up. Think about how many times you needed to cut a
connected fill shape just so you could just select part of that
shape. The cutter tool makes this super clean and easy.
I may be wrong and there may be another way to make one step
clean cuts in objects in Flash but right now I can't think of as
clean an approach as provided by the TBS V3 cutter tool.
Onion Skinning Colors
You can set the display color of the previous drawing and the
next drawing for onion skinning. This is a helpful feature
because it is easier to identify the order of the poses when
doing your inbetweening. This is certainly not a must have
feature, but definitely a nice customization to the workflow. I
often find in onion skinning in Flash, when going back to put in
the inbetweens, that I get confused about my pose order and have
to flip back and forth between frames to refresh my
understanding. This is less of a problem in TBS with different
colors on display. You can do something similar in Flash by
using the outline mode but it isn't as helpful.
Another great feature of TBS is the flexible way you can define
pens with great control over the thick and thin sensitivity of
your tablet. You can have many different pen settings with
varying sensitivity ranges and different smoothing attributes.
And assigned pen / brush colors too. I'm not sure if Flash 8
addresses this better than Flash 7 but this is certainly a nice
feature. Again I am not trying to create a Flash VS TBS
comparison except to point out features that TBS has that are
interesting. Flash having an open architecture has more
potential flexibility but that's plug in dependent.
TBS comes with the capability to create character color
palettes. You can create a pallet and name it for each character
and call up these character palettes as needed when painting.
You also can customize versions of these character palettes for
different environmental reasons like a night time version that
is shaded to look different from a bright sunlight version of
the same character's color scheme. And it auto updates your
existing work if you change an existing named pallet color
swatch which is a real time saver.
Paint All Feature
Another interesting feature of TBS 3.01 is the "paint all"
feature. This is a shape recognition multi-frame painting
feature. If you have a series of frames with a character on them
TBS can automatically recognize common "paint fill zones" and
when you fill these common zones on one frame TBS fills them on
all the other frames at the same time. Now this works really
well for speeding up the paint process for a common character
where you would normally have to paint the same part of the
character on each frame one frame at a time. With this feature
you can reduce your work significantly. The design of the
character is a factor but it is a nice feature.
Color Management System
One of the very positive strengths of TBS V3 is its paint and
color management functionality. TBS provides for the creation of
customizable color palettes. Each character or object can have
its own color palette which is uniquely named and reusable. A
color palette is a collection of swatches and each swatch is
also uniquely named. So you can, when designing a character,
break that character up into paint zones and by naming those
zones and their corresponding color swatch you create a color
model. Then you can change the colors of your character just by
changing the properties of the associated color palette swatch.
It is a global change for each scene where you used that color
palette. A swatch can contain a solid color or a gradient color
or a bit map texture. This is a very nice addition to your
cartoon making tool set because you can now have very good
control and consistency of your painting. But there is a lot
Not only does TBS have the ability to support customizable
reusable color palettes and to perform global color replacements
by swatch, but it also supports color styles which are
variations on basic color palettes for individual effects in
different situations. So two copies of the same color palette
can have the same name but have different color style names. So
you can have the basic color palette for a character and then
have many color style variations based on things like lighting
or environmental situations. You can copy or duplicate a color
palette and give it a new style name while keeping the original
palette name, then you can use really quick tools like tint
offsets which let you adjust the colors of all the swatches in
that color palette at the same time. For example you could
adjust all swatches alpha setting in one step or you could apply
a tint blend to blend a specified amount of a color to all the
individual swatches in that color palette. So if you wanted to
have your character in a situation where you wanted a particular
cast lighting effect over their normal color model for example a
twilight mood or a fire side mood you can do this with just a
single tint blend offset for your color palette for that color
style. Oh yes, and if you go back and add a new color swatch to
any of the same named color palettes that swatch gets updated on
all of the other palettes which share that palette name but have
different color styles applied.
TBS provides all of the expected color editing and gradient
editing and texture editing features you expect to have and it
also provides this really powerful color management system.
One of the areas of deficiency in previous versions of TBS was
the lack of a text tool or at least a proper text tool. This has
been addressed in V3 and TBS now has a text tool that is
functionally like that of Flash. You can add text and set all of
the usual parameters. You can also select a text object and by
using the break apart menu command the text is separated into
individual text objects for each character. And just as in
Flash, if you apply the break apart command twice to a text
object it is converted into a filled shape.
Text objects can be transformed (moved, rotated, skewed, and scaled)
and as expected when converted to being a filled shape they can
also be deformed to your heart's content.
So by using the break apart command
twice your text is no longer a text object for the purposes of
being editable with the text tool but now that it is converted
to a drawn shape which you can attach to a peg and contort it to
produce all sorts of cartoon like activities.
Additionally, You might want to produce two initial drawings
with your text. One where you leave it as a text object and a
copy of that drawing where you break it apart into drawn shapes
that way you have both forms to play with in your animation
work. And if you really want to go crazy you can just keep
copying the drawn version of the "text shape" and paste it into
new drawings where you can do all sorts of character animation
with the individual letter shapes.
All in all, the text tool does what you want and need for a text
tool to do.
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