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Reference

In this tutorial you will learn...

• How to create an animation
• What each feature of the animation pane does

In this tutorial we'll be covering animations. Now, this is quite a tricky thing to get the hang of, so if your first attempt comes out completely rubbish (as mine did!) do not dispair - just keep having a go, and study the other animations already made. So... here goes nothing!

Open the animation pane in your database and create a new entry. Your pane will look like this...



1 - The name of the animation. This is only included in the database for convinience.
2 - The graphic that is used for the animation cells.
3 - The position in which the animation is shown, in relation to the player, and the number of frames that the animation has. Here is where you change the number of frames, like a Change Maximum button for the frames.
4 - A list of the frames in the animation. You can scroll through using Back and Next, or just by clicking.
5 - Any flashes or Sound Effects in the animation. When you select this option, you will be given a box looking like this:




The frame number is which frame the effect starts in. This can either be an SE (Sound Effect, which is chosen in the box next to the frame selection) or a flash. The condition button is for selecting when the flash or Sound Effect is played: when the attack hits or misses. The flash can either flash on the target or the whole screen, and you also have the option of hiding the target for a number of frames. The flash tone and strength is defined below, and the duration of it is also defined in a box below that.
6 - The area where your animation is previewed. '[ED] Battler...' changes the battler graphic in the editor only and has no effect on what happens in game. The 'Paste Last' button makes the current frame identical to the previous one. The 'Copy Frames...' is for copying multiple frames at once. You'll see a box like this...




The Frames boxes are for choosing which frames to copy (this includes the numbers in the boxes), and the final box is for choosing which frame is the starting point for the frames to copy to. For example, if I selected frames 1 to 3 to be copied to frames starting at frame 5, then the program would copy frames 1, 2 and 3, and paste them in the place of frames 5, 6 and 7. The 'Clear Frames' box is for clearing several frames at one time. Don't forget that the values are inclusive: they include the numbers in the boxes.

The 'Tweening' feature is a little more special. This option allows you to select a couple of frames and cells at different stages of an animation, and it tries to fill in the gaps. I'll have a go at making a GIF animation as an explanation...



The first picture here is of frame #001, and the second is of frame #007. You can see (and note the cell numbers) how I have just plonked two cells on each frame, in their starting and finishing positions. Now, with this clever tweening feature, I can get the Database to fill in the five missing frames in between. Observe...




As you can see, the editor has done a pretty good job of filling in the blank frames in between (BeTWEEN: TWEENing, get it?). Of course, the more frames you leave in between the starting and finishing frames, the smoother your animation will be. Look here: the previous animation I made had only seven frames, this one has twelve...




You see how the latter is smoother? Have an experiment with different numbers of frames to see which one works best for you.

The Tweening feature also has a go at fixing together opacity, zooming and other things as well, so have a play around with it and see what it can do. It can be really handy for making quick animations.

The 'Cell Batch' button allows you to choose a range of frames and cells, and then allows you to modify their properties (probably the most-used button here). The pattern is which section of the animation graphic the program takes the current cell's picture from, the X and Y boxes decide the position of the selected frame's/s' cell(s), the zoom decides the zoom for the cells, the angle defines the angle of tilt for the cells, the flip decides whether the cell is flipped or not, the opacity defines the transparency and the blending changes the blending type for the cells. You'll have to mess around with this as well to see the real uses for it, because it's quite hard to put into a tutorial! The 'Entire Slide' button allows you to move all the cells in a range of frames using the X and Y value boxes. And finally, the 'Play Hit' and 'Play Miss' buttons play the animation when it hits or misses.

Phew! Lots of explaining there. Now, as the whole animation feature is more complicated than any other, I'll guide you through creating a simple animation.

Firstly, select the animation graphic you're going to use, by clicking the arrow next to the Animation Graphic box and selecting one. I'm going to use the Fire graphic. The cells will now be displayed at the bottom of the screen.

Now, to place a cell, click on the graphic you'd like to use, and then click on the preview screen. You can drag it around until you get the position right. When you've done this, add another frame by clicking on the 'Frames:' box's arrow. Now, select the next newly added frame (#002) and you'll see a blue box on the preview screen. Where did that come from? It's the outline of the graphic from the previous frame! Handy, eh? Now you can place the next cell on the next frame in relation to the other one. See how I'm doing...



You can see the blue outline of the previous frame's cell. Now, if I continue adding cells until I'm happy with the look, I can add a flash. Scroll through the frames using the 'Next' button below the list. When you think you've got to an appropriate point for a flash, stop on that frame. Now, go up to the Flash Timing and SE box at the top of the pane, and right-click. Select Edit. Now, make sure that the flash radio button is on 'Target', and play around with the sliders until you get the colour you want. Then, set the condition to Hit (because normally there is only a flash when the target is hit), and set the duration. See how I did it...



Now, go back to your preview pane and Play Hit. It should flash. Now Play Miss. It shouldn't flash. Pretty good, eh? Now, just before we move on, I'm going to touch on how to use the 'Cell Batch' button. Select it, and then make sure that the numbers include all your frames. For future reference, if you only want to edit one frame or cell, set both the numbers to the respective frame number (E.g. To modify only frame #001, put 1 in both the boxes). Now, we're modifying all the frames and cells, so as I said before, include all the frame and cell numbers. Now, check the zoom box, and set the value to 75. Click OK. Now, the cells should be smaller. see how much smaller mine has become...



If you want to add a Sound Effect, they're normally set to start at frame 1, so use the Flash Timing and SE to set an SE, making sure it starts at frame one. Now your animation makes noises!

I could go on all day talking about the animation feature; it's probably RMXP's most complicated database feature to get the hang of. But experimenting is the key - and it's often more fun than ploughing through other people's writing! So, good luck, and the next tutorial is on Tilesets.

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