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Lesson 9. Creating Animations and Movies > Creating a Blend for Animation

Creating a Blend for Animation

Your drawing should now look like the aperture of the camera. If you were creating a static image, your drawing would be complete. However, you want to animate the aperture, and you want to use this image as the starting image in the animation. You want the aperture to open, so you need to make another version of this image with a larger opening. Then you will use the Blend command to create the intermediate steps of the animation. You used the Blend command in Lesson 8, “Symbols, Brushes, and Hoses,” to create subtle shading for objects. In this lesson, you will use the Blend command to morph a complex group (the aperture) into another group. Each step in the blend will increase the opening of the aperture.

Clone your grouped object and then create a new layer. On the Layers panel, select the new layer.

Your cloned object moves to the new layer. Normally, you would name your layer, but in this task, the layer is only temporary. By placing your clone on a layer, you retain the position of the object, but isolate it from the original object.

Click the checkmark next to the Foreground layer to hide that layer. Click the keyline icon on the new layer.

You need to select the points on the inner circle of the copy. In step 9 of the previous task, you used the Pointer tool and selected the inner points by dragging. Now your shape is filled and grouped, so that method won’t work. If you drag within a filled object, instead of selecting the points on the object, you move the object.

Switching to Keyline mode on the layer displays only the outlines of the objects so you can use the drag selection method, as you will do in the next step.

Make sure the new object is selected, hold down Alt (Windows) or Option (Mac OS) and drag around the points on the inner circle. In the Scale section of the Transform panel, type 180 in the Scale percentage text box. Deselect Fills and Strokes. Type 0 in the Copies text box and then click Scale.

You hold down Alt or Option to select points within a grouped item. You could also use the Subselect tool. The inner points move, making the inner circle larger.


You may need to adjust the scale factor for your circle. You don’t want any overlapping lines on your new inner circle. To check your object, zoom in on the page. You can always choose Edit > Undo and try a new number for the scale factor.

Choose Merge Foreground Layers from the Layers panel Options menu.

Both objects are placed on the Foreground layer and the new layer is deleted.

Choose Xtras > Create > Blend.

FreeHand creates a blend with 25 steps. That number should work fine for this project.

Check your blend.

Look at the geometric shapes formed by the blend. You should still be in Keyline mode. If not, switch back so you can see the shapes within the blend. If your blend has a consistent geometric pattern, your blend is fine. If you see some inconsistency in the outlines, you can generally fix the problem by undoing the blend, selecting both shapes, and rotating the shapes 10 degrees. Then repeat the Blend command.

Clone your blend. Add a new layer, name the layer Reverse, and then move the clone to the new layer.

You’ll use that copy to reverse the animation of the aperture so that the aperture appears to be closing.

Save your file.



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