HM3: Backgrounds and gradients

I've just uploaded the first set of Background items, "Shapes", to the HeroMachine 3 Alpha. I've included 21 different backgrounds for you in this set, which is a lot more than the first 2.x Background-Standard group, including your basic rectangles, circles, triangles, Union Jack, concentric target circles, a yin yang symbol, etc.

In addition, the basic program now has six more "Pattern" options, to allow you to apply basic dark-to-light gradients from either the top, bottom, left, or right, as well as one goes from the center out and one that's in a circle. They're not perfect, but they do let you do some things you couldn't before.

You might also play around with using this big giant Background Shapes to create some funky uniform elements, as well. Just move the Background item to the front using the "To Top Layer" button in the Transform tab. Hit the Mask button, and click on the basic Body. This works particularly well with the Background Shapes that have gradients built in, especially if you set both of its colors to 0% Alpha -- it removes the colors so the underlying Body can show through, but leaves the gradient, so you get a cool effect.


23 Responses to HM3: Backgrounds and gradients

  1. Avatar Fabien says:

    There is a problem in the color repartition of the union Jack background. The “cutting” don’t look like a real union jack. A color for the little line and a colr for the rest would be look more ressemblant.

  2. Avatar Kublajkan says:

    I have a question, dont know if it was replied earlier.
    Will every item from Lordi and Zombie Heromaschine be included in the final release of Heromaschine 3?

  3. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    It looks right to me, Fabien. Here’s an example from Google Image, which looks just like how I have the colors partitioned …

  4. Avatar violodion says:


    Not an obvious one color background. However, it can be quickly achieved by use the first or second two color background and having Color1 & Color2 the same.

    Rotating a background 90° makes it suitable for “Widescreen view” screen shots.

    Good idea on use background on uniforms & insignias!

  5. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    @Kublajkan: That’s a good question, which I don’t think has been asked before. The answer is no, unfortunately. Some (a lot) of the Lordi items are their own creations and so I don’t feel comfortable “borrowing” them. I mean, LOOK at those guys, would YOU want to mess with them?! My middle name is “Coward”.

    Second, some of the zombie items are just too violent or gross for me to be comfortable with them. I even debated over whether or not to include the “blood streaks” on one of the cleavers in BladesTwo, I think there’s a certain level of expectation a lot of parents have with this thing, and I don’t want to get into severed heads and whatnot.

    The horror genre has, I think, gone mainstream enough with Halloween and movies and whatnot that I am fine with skeletons and zombie faces and all, but overt blood and guts make me uncomfortable in this kind of venue.

  6. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    @V: Yeah, it didn’t make sense to have a one-color background. It’s been pounded into me (by you, no?) that every item needs to have two colors, so that’s what I tried to go for. As you say, any of the split-down-the-middle ones can be set to the same color for both swatches and you’re good to go.

    I had to put the line down the middle in the “preview” box because otherwise the first two items, for instance, would look the same, even though the line isn’t there in the actual item. Hopefully that’s not too confusing.

  7. Avatar Eric says:

    I just discovered if you mask an item onto another, then remove the base item, you can still sort of see the outline. Is that supposed to happen?

  8. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    Well, “supposed” is a loaded word … 🙂 I don’t think that’s what I want to have happen, and it’s not something I did on purpose, so it’s probably classified as a bug. I’ll look into it on “Bug Squishing Week”, which if I recall correctly is right after Shark Week on the Discovery Channel …

    Basically though, I think it might be something with Flash more than with my code, it seems like the mask gets removed when the item is deleted (which is what I want), but that what you see doesn’t get updated til you move the item in question. I need to make it refresh automatically.

  9. Kaldath Kaldath says:

    I am glad you added the backgrounds today jeff, the right background can make a character pop, not to mention with the transformation tools you can do more with the background then just backgrounds ,, for example I just redid Britannica with the new backgrounds and I like him sooo much more then the version without ..

  10. Avatar Kublajkan says:

    Thanks for the answer Jeff. I find the Heromaschine series very useful in my hobby as a storyteller, so with, or without the blood and gore items, its a wonderful work. Thanks again.

  11. Avatar The Imp says:

    Jeff: You WANT me to spend all my productive evening time on Heromachine, don’t you? Go on, you can admit it: you want to make an addict out of me.


  12. Avatar Andrew says:

    Hey, the alpha is looking great, I just have one quick thing to bring uo. I don’t know if it’s already been mentioned, but items don’t really fit into the hands. When layered on top it clearly doesn’t make sense, but when layered under the hand, it is also under the thumb, which makes it look as though the person isn’t actually holding it. Minor problem, otherwise really good work!

  13. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:


    You have to mask the item with the hand, which is different than 2.x. Pick the hand you want, then pick the item you want. Click the Mask button (it looks like a mask), then click on the hand. Voila, the item gets masked to look like it’s being held in the hand.

  14. Avatar The Imp says:

    I”m seeing an odd bug. When I select Backgrounds, then pick an option from the right-hand drop-down menu, that right-hand menu stays visible, effectively blocking me from choosing colors in the top few tiers.

    Hmmm. It also seems to be locked; even though I can choose other options on the left drop-down menu, the right one is still locked on Background choices.

  15. Avatar The Imp says:

    Weird. Now it seems to work fine.

  16. Kaldath Kaldath says:

    Here is one more example of the background helping define the character (FWI can get some real nice effecs mixing patterns with the backgrounds like this star feild for example )

  17. Avatar Ghislain says:

    When you apply a mask to a Item, and then add another of the same type that you mask, the first mask become unmasked and the new item become masked.

    you take a Body.
    You Add a “Patterns/Standard” (Star) (not applying a pattern to the body, a new Item of the category “Patterns/Standard”)
    You use the mask fonction to mask the Patterns with the Body.
    The Star is masked by the Body.
    Tou add another “Patterns/Standard” (Heart).
    Now the Heart is masked by the Body and the Star are Unmasked (Normal)

  18. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:


    That’s correct, Flash only allows you to have an item serve as a mask for one other item at a time. That’s a limitation of the program. If you want the same item to serve as a mask for two different items at once, you have to trick it. Make two copies of the mask item, and use each for one of the masks you need.

  19. Avatar Hakoon1 says:

    I really love the Union Flag Background and I’m coming up with a character to mask on his body.

  20. Avatar Ghislain says:

    That not what I was talking about,
    I do not want to add the Star AND Heart as a mask.
    What happening is when I place the Star pattern as a mask,
    and then add another pattern, the star pattern revert to normal, and the new pattern is masked.
    I was thinking that if you mask a Item then add another of the same categorie, the first one stay masked, and the new one appears as normal

  21. Kaldath Kaldath says:

    I have been seeing that bug with things other then patterns most notably weapons since the masking can cause about half a sword to disappear depending on position I have been using two of the same item one layered under then hand and one masked into the hand. Well if I add the Masked one first, and then bring up a second one ( say an axe ) the first axe that I had already masked becomes unmasked and the new one that I just added is now masked. Not a big deal in that case, but when using a different item then the first it can be real annoying ( like when using different insignia )

  22. Avatar Jeff Hebert says:

    The intended behavior (which might be a bad intention) is that if you do not have “multiples” selected and add a second item in a slot, then the new item takes on all the properties of the old one, including its Mask. Maybe that’s a bad idea. But it also sounds like maybe it’s not working right.