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Animation Trick o' the Day #7
I learned this trick from Adam Phillips, and although you can't use it for all that much, it's still really cool and easy to do. I think I learned it from his chapter in the "New masters of flash" book (http://www.friendsofed.com/newmasters/f lash/content/ap/1.html) but I'm not sure, it could have been from another of his books.
Anyway, the "magic light" requires a mere two objects in order to work, simply by using masking - (a feature of flash which I think is far under-appreciated.)
The objects are simply multiple lines which diverging from a single point. They can even both be the same drawing - well, sort of. As anyone who has ever worked with masks should know, the mask layer can only use "fill" as the area upon which a masked layer will show through. And that's really all you need to know.
It's also worth mentioning that as far as this series goes, I don't like having to point out minor details like "the mask layer has to be made of fill" because this series is actually intended for people who can figure that out because they have already mastered flash and now want to learn the really complicated, intensive, difficult stuff, and/or push flash to the limits. That's really my target audience here. Just keep that in mind.
However, a lot of people seem to like these, so I'll try to add more detail like that for some of the more elementary stuff too.
Magiclight.(swf/fla) is probably the most useful file for learning this technique. Discoball.swf is an interesting but generally useless variation on the magiclight concept. The magiclight file by Adam Phillips is the file I originally learned this technique from.