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  • N_C_H_josh changed the title to animated snowfalls
  • 2 weeks later...

Hello CorinneCC,

I don't know if you want a realistic snow effect, there is nothing like that ready made in Express Animate. If you are thinking of making a light snowfall, for something like an animated Christmas card or a snow globe, I have a method which might suit. It takes just a few minutes.

Open a New Project (Ctrl+Alt+N).

Use 'New Object > Ellipse' to draw a small circle anywhere on the Canvas.

Right Click the Shape and use 'Change Fill' to set its colour to white (HSV=0,0,100 or RGB=255,255,255).

With the Shape selected use 'Effect > Video > Pixelate' from the top menu and increase the Pixel Size (at the bottom of the Shape's Composition Panel) to something like 25. This depends on how big you drew the Shape, you are looking for about 5/6 pixels across and down. The circle will look irregular and hopefully snowflake-shaped.

Right Click the Canvas background and use 'Composition background' to set Background Fill to a light blue colour (if your scene is daytime). You won't need to do this if you are animating over some other media.

Right Click the Shape and use 'Blending Mode > Multiply'. This will cause the shape to blend with the background colour so that its edges appear pale blue.

You are now ready to animate the Shape in the Composition Panel.

Use Position to raise the Shape off the top of the Canvas. Set a Key frame (click the diamond for 'New key'). Move the timeline cursor (grab the white handle under '00:00s' and drag to the right) a few seconds along the timeline. Then lower the Shape beyond the bottom of the canvas - a quick way to do this is to select the Position Y value and change the number from minus to positive by deleting the minus symbol.

Now scroll back about halfway between the Key frames you have just set by dragging the white handle to the left. You see your snowflake at the middle of its fall. Use the X value in Position (the first number) to move the object a little to one side or the other. This will look like the snowflake is drifting as it falls. Run the animation a few times to see how much looks right (Ctrl+Space), and perhaps drag the Key frames closer or further apart to set the rate at which it falls.

Go to the start of your animation (Home) and use Rotation to set a Key frame. Move the timeline cursor to meet the last Position Key frame (click > 'Next key' in Position) and set another Rotation Key to be 1x or so. This will cause the snowflake to slowly rotate, and appear to 'twinkle' as it falls. Add 50% Blur and it shimmers.

Select the Shape in the Object Panel and Copy it. Paste for as many snowflakes as you want - you can get a nice effect with only about ten. Collapse All Panels and drag the blue coloured bar for each one along the timeline a little to set them falling at different times.

Now go into the Composition Panel for each one and alter the Position property to spread the snowflakes across the Canvas and change the 'drift' for each so that none are exactly alike. Use Scale to make them look big or small. Move the Position Key frames apart so that smaller flakes fall more slowly. Change the rate of Rotation and play with Pixel Size - perhaps even setting Key frames in Pixelate a few pixels different up and down during the animation to make the Shape 'flutter' as it falls. Copy and Paste these properties over and over as each shape drops off the Canvas to make the animation last as long as you need. Unless they follow on the next frame after, you will need to hide the Shape (Opacity=0%) as it travels back up to the top each time.

If you want a more cartoon-like snow effect you can probably find a piece of snowflake clip art and animate it over and over in the same way.

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