Graphics Programs Reference
In-Depth Information
Your Director's Options for
the Script and Casting
The more captivating animations you see on the Web were
created by gifted individuals who treat web animations very
much like traditional film. Let's pare any good motion picture
down to its essentials before covering what you can do in Xara
with your “actors” and the “story.”
Cliffhangers can sometimes intrigue
an audience, but usually an incomplete story irritates
us. Before you do anything in Xara, think of something
interesting to present that has a beginning, a middle,
and an end, like any good story. The concept can
be exceedingly simple, yet make a creative point.
Animation without a complete idea behind it lacks
artistic soul and doesn't keep your audience with you.
We're not talking about keeping your audience riveted
to their seats for two hours. A bouncing ball, for
example, is a very simple story; it's complete within its
own idea. If you further animate the ball so it has some
spin, wiggle, and stretching, the story is developed
through its actor, and your audience will view it for
perhaps 10 seconds—far more of their time given to
your work than a sign that says “Sale” and merely
blinks on and off.
Xara Xtreme builds animations using the
keyframe paradigm: You set a key pose for a shape,
define a duration it occupies a frame, and then create
a different keyframe. Xara does the 'tweening—the
frames that make up the animation in between
keyframes. As the director, it's your call how long
a scene persists onscreen, how fast the animation
plays, where it might pause, and how the animation
completes itself. Flash and GIF animations can loop,
and it's usually a good idea to allow them to loop;
there's nothing worse for your ego than to allow
your animation to stop after playing once … and
your audience wasn't watching your web page yet.
Therefore, take into consideration the devices used in
Hollywood to conclude a scene or an animation. You
can create cycles (where the last frame plays into the
first frame), you can fade in at the beginning and fade
out at the end, or you can simply fade to black if there's
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