Build Date: 2004.08.12+
When you want your text to explode, what’s the first thing you think of … the Explode effect! That effect has its place and is generally fairly believable; however, what if you want a little more detail – more pieces to the explosion? Enter SWiSHmax’s clever feature – Break into Pieces … So, you click a button and break an object into smaller pieces – then what do you do with it ? Hopefully this tutorial can answer those questions … a quick and easy way to turn your text object into dust (or any other object for that matter!)
Create a Static text object and place it on the Stage.
In the Outline panel, right-click on the text object and select Copy Object. Then, use the Edit menu and select Paste in Place. You should now have two text objects at the exact same location on the Stage.
Select the bottom text object and use Modify Menu | Break | Break into Pieces.
In the Break into Pieces settings window, use the drop-down menu next to ‘Break With:‘ and select Random Polygons.
For the Number of pieces, a good rule-of-thumb that I use is 10 pieces per character. So, if your text object has 10 characters in it (as this example does) you can break it into 100 pieces. You can use less pieces per character (larger ‘dust’) or more pieces per character (smaller ‘dust’).
Note: The more pieces you create, the larger the file size will be. Also, the more pieces you generate the more time it takes to process (on slower CPU’s this may cause the system to go unresponsive for a while).
Random Seed … It’s fairly safe to leave this set to the default value (you’re welcome to experiment, but the results are generally unnoticeable the smaller the pieces get).
Allow non-triangular or Triangulate all pieces … again, this is up to you as it is difficult to tell any difference at such small sizes.
I choose to Inflate all pieces by 0.25 pixels. This helps seal the seams in between in each piece.
Cascade order. Personally, I use the last option (the zigzag in all directions). Dust is unpredictable in nature, and I feel this option gives a more realistic effect. However, don’t take my word for it – play around with different cascade options to achieve different results.
If you are happy with all your settings, hit the OK button to start the breaking process.
When SWiSHmax has finished breaking the object into pieces, you should end up with a Group.
The reason I had you first duplicate the original text object, is so that you would have one solid, untouched text object on top of the broken one. In most cases, the naked eye can see the jagged edges on the broken copy. For that reason, the broken copy will be hidden until the moment the original object is turned into dust.
In your own movies, this process will surely be different; however, for this example let’s just create a simple animation to test it.
In the Timeline panel, right-click at Frame 1 on the row for the top text object and select the Place effect.
Next, right-click at Frame 1 on the row for the Group object and select the Remove effect.
Next, right-click at Frame 20 on the row for the top text object and select the Remove effect.
Next, right-click at Frame 20 on the row for the Group object and select Disappear from Position | Wild – Splatter
I tried a lot of different effects, but I found that Wild – Splatter had the most realistic effect when it came to “dust blowing away”. There are a lot of effects in SWiSHmax, so try out as many as you can to find the best effect that suits your needs!
Well, there you have it – a quick and easy way to turn your text into dust. This same method can be applied to other objects as well, but be very careful when trying this with images – it can very well crash the program if you try to break a large image into too many pieces (simply due to the amount of CPU power needed).
Again, please keep in mind that this effect can create enormous file sizes, especially if you are breaking a text object with a lot of characters in it. As with any text effect, use it sparingly (it’s easy to get carried away with animations, so try to use some restraint!) There is a way to dramatically cut down the file size by using scripting only, but that will be a different tutorial!