trouble exporting swf with transparency

I’ve created a scene in Animate2 (non-pro) using characters that have a basic layer hierarchy. I put all a character’s layers under a character peg and then put all those layers under a transparency effect layer. Now I animate the character fading in, looks great within animate.

However, when I export to swf the transparency works BUT causes all the individual parts of the character to be transparent on top of each other. In other words, when the character fades in you can see all the joints and overlapping parts during the transition

Does anyone know how to get around this? I remember in flash you had to use a special layer mode but I can’t figure this out for Animate.

I have Animate 2 as well and can confirm that when you try and have a character with transparency set up as you do it doesn’t export well with SWF.

Now if I render out a movie the transparency works fine. It flattens the character and there are no issues at all. I just assumed that some things don’t play well with the SWF export.

The odd thing is that shouldn’t the report for the SWF say that the transparency failed or won’t export? Never understood that.



I don’t know if this will help, it’s just a general point. When using any Animate 2 effect with *.swf target file, I find I’ve saved a lot of time by exporting a “trial” first. Sometimes, it may be necessary to abandon the effect or employ the effect in a different way.


I’m also finding that masks are non-functional when I try to export to .swf format. It basically just disregards the mask entirely. And if you use an inverted mask it just hides the entire layer that should be masked. Is there a method for getting around this?


Hi Matt

.swf is my main target format and I never have problems with masks. They work in playback in Animate2 and after export to .swf. Have you got masks that work in .mov but not in .swf?


Hi Bob,
I was totally wrong about the masks not exporting from to SWF properly. I just set up a simple test using a mask and it worked in the SWF export. I’m guessing that the scene I was working with (which had dozens of layers) had some conflict that I just missed. But thanks for the confirmation that it does in fact work.


Yes Flash is funny that way. As I recall, it does that to its symbols and movieclips too. Very silly.
One work-around is to copy the section of the background art which is positioned behind the character, and place the background copy in FRONT of the character, to act as a cover slip. Then apply alpha effects to that cover slip, starting as completely transparent and fading in in order to hide the character. This of course assumes the background art is a single drawing element rather than made of multiple layers, which would cause the same issues you’ve observed for the character.

Would your project happen to be applying a color-override effect to the mask?
One of the bugs I’ve experienced is that color-overrides do not interact well on any art used for the mask layer (that is, the shape of the mask itself, not the contents to BE masked.) If the color swatch used for the mask’s shape is overridden, the swf export would typically not display the mask for me. Instead using a non-overridden swatch for the mask’s shape fixed the problem.
Hope this helps.

Thanks everyone for you help.

I’m still having trouble with masks and highlight/tone with SWF export. Per Lilly’s suggestion I apply the cutter and mask shape before applying the highlight module. I am getting the mask to work, but the highlight is being ignored on SWF output.

Is there a composite, group, or other module trick to get a masked animation to have a highlight.


What happens is that we can only support what Flash supports when we export to their format. We cannot flatten an image in the SWF export, therefore the transparency effect is applied on each layer individually.

The reason that the SWF report doesn’t say that the transparency failed is because it is, from its point of view, rendering the transparency correctly - it is applying the transparency to the layers it’s connected to. Perhaps we can put a special note in the report that overlapping transparencies will be applied individually.


The type of mask that you could have trouble with is a highlight or tone mask. It doesn’t automatically clip this mask to the drawing with the SWF export, and there should be a Report on this one.

In this case you would just need to clip the mask first then do your highlight on it.


Maybe you had better email so that they can take a look at your scene file.