Making the text-glow is generally
easy to do. The key is to use the Soften Edges
feature in Flash.
In Flash 4, this command is available in Modify->Curves.
In Flash 5, this command is available in Modify->Shape.
There are some pitfalls, though. For example, sometime
the program will have a hard time figuring out where the
edges are. This is more likely to happen with
object that has many curves, such as texts.
Set the Movie size to 500x150 pixels, set background
of the movie to black.
Click Text Tool, set text color to white.
Set the font to _sans, size to 100, Letter
Space to 30. Apply.
Make sure all the text are inside of the movie canvas.
Click the text, break it apart (Modify->BreakApart)
Make sure all the shapes are highlighted, then do Modify->Curves->Soften
Edges. You should get a Dialog box as shown
Enter the parameter above. (Note: I'm using
30 for the Number of steps for illustration purpose
only. In real life, try to find the largest
Number of steps while still maintaining a good result
in terms of speed and appearance. This is because
Flash accomplishes Soften Edges by creating outlines around
the shape. The Distance parameter sets how many
pixels the shape should be expanded. The Number
of steps sets how many steps the distance will be traveled.
So If both Distance and Steps are 30, then Flash will
create 30 outlines, each outline will be of 1 pixel thick.
If Distance is 30, and Number of Steps is 5; then Flash
will create 5 outlines, each outline will be 6 pixels
thick. Too many curves might slow down the
movie, so again, in real application, try to find the
largest Number of steps while still maintaining a good
result in terms of speed and appearance. )
You can make more improvement, for example, you can
draw outlines and color the inner shape of each letter:
Just fill and use the pen tool on the innermost shape
to do that.
Use large font. This is because Flash will
have a harder time adding edges to a small shape with
many curves. The bigger the size of the shape, the
better. (You can shrink the text "after"
adding the soften edges).
For example, Flash can't soften the edge on the smaller
W below because the distance between the edges are too
small, so I enlarged the text, which produces a better
Before breaking up the text, set Letter Spacing to at
least the same number of pixels for the softened edges.
For example, if you want to set Soften Edges distance
to be 50 pixels, then set letter spacing to 50.
This will prevent the edges to touch each other.
(The maximum Letter Spacing value in Flash 4 is: 60 pixels.
If you need more spacing, you might have to break apart
the text first, then space the letter individually by
moving each letter so that they're farther from each other.)
Don't use too many Steps in the Soften Edges.
Try to find the smallest value as possible while still
maintaining good result. Because Flash will create
a curve for every steps, the larger the value of Steps,
the more curves Flash will create. Too many curves
will slow down the movie.
This is unfortunate, but don't expect to get a good
result every time. Sometimes, the curves are just
too complex for Flash to handle even after enlarging it.
In this case, I suggest using less complex font, or use
smaller soften edge distance.
You can also use soften edges
to create glowing buttons. (Move the mouse over the
button to see.)