i am designing an animated flash webpage, and would like some advice on the best way to animate the growing stalk of some 'flowers'. I have watched an online tutorial on drawing curved lines, and in this tutorial the line was drawn using a mask manually, i.e. the mask was transformed manually for each frame, which is OK for a few frames, but I would rather do this automatically if possible, as there will be 8 lines and quite a lot of frames. The trouble with say creating a motion tween for the mask layer is that this doesn't give enough control with curvy lines. So I was wondering if there is another way, either in Flash CS4 or After Effects CS4. For instance, is there such a thing as a fill/stroke tween, which would fill a predefined line with a particular colour at a variable rate? Here is a rough draft of the kind of page I am wanting to design:
So each of the stems would grow from the edges of the screen, then divide and continue to grow. the 'flowers' will grow and follow the end of the lines/stems as they grow larger.
Thanks for providing the image, it really helps when trying to answer these questions.
Unfortunately the keyframed mask reveal method that you learned about is probably the most beginner-friendly method. But as you have noticed it is very tedious and gets very complicated once you start adding lots of curves as it becomes difficult to maintain a mask that reveals the entire line.
What you want to do is very possible via actionscript but unfortunately requires: a) a great deal of actionscript knowledge and b) a good bit of math / trigonometry.
Here is the last step of an 8 part tutorial that I found. It probably won't solve your problem but will help you understand the complexity of something so seemingly simple:
For further research try googling "flash drawing api animating"