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Freehand MX Extrusions, Part 3

Controlling static extrusion contours By Dave Nagel
We've so far examined, pretty extensively, the basics of extrusions in Macromedia Freehand MX, as well as some methods for using this functionality to generate complex, abstract objects from simple polygons. This time around we head into more practical areas with a look at how to control static extrusion profiles for creating objects (or text) that zoom out at you in weird and winding ways.

You're familiar enough by now with simple object extrusions designed to look like they're popping out at some imagined camera from some imagined vanishing point. And Freehand MX is perfectly capable of reproducing this simple effect with nothing more than a click and drag with the Extrude tool. (We covered the basics of this in Part 1 of this series, which you will find here.)

But Freehand MX also goes way beyond this to provide many, many more options for controlling the exact look of your extrusion. It's this wealth of options that has provided the basis for what is so far a three-part series on this one feature of the program.

Now, it's not terribly obvious how this particular aspect of Freehand's Extrude feature works. But it's related to the Bevel feature we examined last time around, so this shouldn't be too much of a leap for you.

The extrusion profile
As with extrusion bevels, we can also use custom paths to define an extrusion profile. What does this mean? It means that we can use paths to tell Freehand the contour and direction of the extrusion. For example, instead of the simple straight extrusion seen above, we can make it curve, like this.

And we can get a lot more complex as well, as you'll see. First, you need to understand how this works and what the relationship is between the custom profile you create and the effect on your extrusion.

For the example above, I used a simple curved path and copied it to the Clipboard.

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