Tutorial: Text effects with masking

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Masking allows an object to define the outline of a movie clip. This can be used to create truly hypnotic effects!  This tutorial will explain how to create the Hypnotic effect with SWiSH Max4 and provides suggestions for possible modifications that will allow you to design your own effects.

The objects within the demonstration movie are shown in the Outline tree to the right.

The movie clip hypnotic contains the entire text effect.

The movie clip has the Use bottom object as mask option set in its Properties panel. This causes the bottom object, the text object Hypnotic, to define the visible area of the movie clip. Items that extend beyond the text object are not displayed.

The Shape object is an un-named rectangular shape with solid fill that defines the background color. In this example the chosen color is white (0xFFFFFF) although you could use any color. The shape object must totally obscure the text. Once drawn, use the option in the Outline panel to hide the shape from the display. (Click on the corresponding . underneath the eye symbol in the Outline panel.)

The ClipClone object is a component that has been used to create the diagonal lines. To use the component, drag it from the Utility component section onto the stage, set the number of items to 1 and replace the sample item with the item you wish to replicate.

The Clip clone component, allows a single item to replicated any number of times. In this case, a 45 degree black line with thickness 3 and overall dimensions of 200 x 200. The 45 degree angle can be forced by holding the shift key down while drawing the line.

The parameters used in the clip clone component are shown to the left. Note the B parameter is set to -190. With the ClipClone Horizontal and Vertical layouts, the B parameter defines the spacing between the duplicated items. As each line is 200 x 200, the use of -190 causes the lines to overlap with their centers offset by 10 pixels (200 + -190).

Finally it is necessary to add a move effect to the ClipClone component so that it moves to the right by 10 (or a multiple of 10) pixels. This effect is applied to the ClipClone component within the hypnotic movie clip. The Timeline and Effect panel settings are shown below.

Note that the Move Right by parameter is set to 20 (a multiple of 10). Setting this to 10 would slow down the movement, setting it to 30 would speed up the movement.

The speed can also be adjusted by altering the number of frames over which the effect is applied.

As there are no other effects applied to objects within the hypnotic movie clip and the movie clip does not have the Stop playing at end option set, the effect loops when it reaches the end.

This causes what appears to be continuous movement. In reality the lines are moved right by 20 pixels, then reset to the original position when the move is repeated.


The effect can be modified in a number of ways:

  • Use different font types
  • Use a different shape in the ClipClone object
  • Apply different effects to the clip clone component
  • Use the Random Color component (Component Effects | 2D | Random Color) to apply random colors to the background color or to the shapes within the ClipClone component.
  • Overlay multiple clipclone components
  • Apply effects to the objects within the clip clone component.

The example below demonstrates some of the possibilities.


The SWiSH Max4 swi files for both of the above examples can be downloaded from here.


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One Response to “Tutorial: Text effects with masking”

  1. Mark_Vj says:

    I truly agree that Masking allows an object to define the outline of a movie clip. This can be used to create truly hypnotic effects. It is quite easy to use and not doesn’t have any complicated steps.