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Lesson 6. More Animation Techniques > Creating a Circular Path Animation

Creating a Circular Path Animation

Now you'll use Modify > Sprite > Tweening to make the earth orbit around the sun in a smooth, circular path.

With the entire sprite in channel 2 selected, choose Modify > Sprite > Tweening (Windows Ctrl+Shift+B, Macintosh Command+Shift+B).

The Sprite Tweening dialog box appears with a few boxes preselected. The Path box is checked and causes Director to create the curved paths between keyframes you defined in the previous task. The other options in the dialog box allow you to make sprites circle, speed up, or slow down. You can also make a sprite change size, shape, orientation, or color, or you can blend a sprite to make it fade in or fade out as Director tweens the sprite between keyframes.

Figure .

Check the Continuous at Endpoints box and move the Curvature slider a little toward the right side of the scale.

Checking the Continuous at Endpoints box makes the sprites in an animation begin and end at the same point. If this box is checked, the sprite will follow a smooth, circular path around the stage. Notice as you move the slider that the animation path preview in the upper left of the dialog box changes: the path becomes rounder.

Click OK to apply your selections and close the dialog box.

Figure .

Rewind and Play the movie.

Now the earth orbits the sun in a much smoother manner. Try using this same sprite and vary your selections in the dialog box. If you leave the sprite selected, you can choose Modify > Sprite > Tweening again and choose slightly different parameters. Experiment to see which effect you like best. Then rewind and play the movie.

Choose Control > Loop Playback; then play your movie again.

Since the earth (fortunately) doesn't stop after a single orbit, this is probably a good place to have looping turned on in Director. With looping turned on, the movie continues playing back at frame 1 after the last frame has been played. Note that looping is in affect only during authoring and doesn't affect projectors, for example. You can, however, easily use navigation to cause your movie to loop in a projector or using Shockwave.

You still have two problems to solve: the white background for the earth sprite is visible, and the earth doesn't pass behind the sun image in a true orbit pattern. Let's fix these.

With the sprite in channel 2 selected, set the ink effect to Background Transparent.

With the sprite in channel 2 still selected, choose Modify > Arrange > Move Backward (Windows Ctrl+Down Arrow, Macintosh Command+Down Arrow).

The sun and the earth sprites exchange positions in the score. Moving a sprite backward in the score means moving it to a sprite channel just beneath its original position: in this case, from channel 2 to channel 1. If a sprite already occupies the channel into which the sprite is moving, that sprite is moved forward one channel to make room for the sprite moving backward.

Figure .

With the earth sprite moved backward, it now orbits behind the sun as it should because the sun sprite is in a higher-numbered channel than the earth sprite.

Save your work; then rewind and test your movie.



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