My movie’s title is The Battle For Sha’hriza. This is completely different than my initial idea for this project; my initial idea would have included a tedious amount of work with sprite sheets and hence, I chose to tell this story. This short animation tells the story of Apenstein and Balrohg, two apes who are Keepers of Law on the Sha’hriza planet. Sha’hriza is an imperialistic planet that tries to capture other planetary bodies. This scene takes place on Earth, a planet that the apes won after a hard fought battle. They lost Earth through depletion of resources at an unprecedented rate, and, because of a traitor who was giving away their military plans to humans. The Council of Elders, the top judicial body on Sha’hriza, blamed Balrohg for it all due to preponderance of evidence. Balrohg knew the truth, he knew the real culprit – Apenstein, a corrupt, power-hungry peer. He had been embezzling resources from Sha’hriza’s offices on Earth and, was giving out Sha’hriza’s military plans to humans in exchange of riches. He was also the person to plant false evidence against Balrohg. So, due to being sentenced to death, Balrohg goes into hiding in a coal mine on Earth. Soon, he hears of Apenstein’s plans to visit this mine in order to claim the coal for himself. When Apenstein shows up, Balrohg confronts him and they engage in a fight to death. Yes, to answer the obvious question, this animation was inspired by The Planet of the Apes.
For this animation, I used a new technique called dynamic text. It makes incorporating rapidly changing texts very easy. This is especially useful when you need to put in a lot of dialog in your animation. I used a lot of dialog to give a rough idea of the plot to the viewer and, to make the fight more intense and ‘real’. I learned this technique on my own. I stumbled upon it while trying to figure out how to incorporate so much dialog in my clip because, using shape tweened text was getting difficult. Dynamic text didn’t really take much time to figure out. I used the same technique one uses to incorporate multiple motion tweens on a single layer – keyframes. After some trial and error, dynamic text was working as I intended. Apart from that, incorporating sound in my animation was something I’d never done before. To get an idea of how to do it, I referred to the first video (Importing and Using Audio) from chapter 15 of Anastasia McCune’s video series on lynda.com – Flash Professional CS6 Essential Training. The video explained how to import and use audio, and since I was only putting a single, continuous audio clip, this video was all I needed. I used the song Warlords by Audiomachine, found here on YouTube. I chose it because it is an ominous battle soundtrack. I used YouTube-to-MP3 to convert the song to MP3 and, this website called online-convert to convert the MP3 to WAV and also to cut out the 34 seconds of audio that I was planning to use. Both are free to use websites that are very user-friendly.
As mentioned before, I initially had a lot of trouble with sprite sheets. I circumvented around the problem by changing the premise of my animation. This animation uses the monkeys used in the Nested Timelines exercise file from Lynda.com. These monkeys made life much easier for me because I can individually animate their hands. After that, I had problem putting in dialog because I had quite a bit of it. As explained earlier, I used dynamic text instead of shape tweens and that solved my problem. Apart from that, I didn’t really have any problems. My artwork was partially drawn by me and was partially taken from the internet. Apart from the monkeys, I used trees as background objects, the original copy of which was taken from dryicons.com. Apart from the trees, the stars were another reusable element in my animation. The rest of the artwork was drawn by me. If I had to change one thing, I would slow down the speed at which the dialog goes by. I realized it too late into the animation but, the dialog can sometimes be too fast for people to keep up with. As per questions that I have about flash – is there an easier way to use sprite sheets? There has got to be!
[I haven’t mentioned the link to my clip yet because the server doesn’t seem to be working]