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2D Character Animation
Illustration by John Hersey

Animating the body in Flash


From:

2D Character Animation

with George Maestri

Video: Animating the body in Flash

Now that we have the feet animated, we can go ahead and start animating the body to match the motion of the feet. Let's go ahead and see where we are at. We have basically the feet moving into position over the course of about 26 frames. Now, let's go ahead and take a look at the upper body. What we need to do is basically make the hips float above the feet to make it look like she is walking. Now we also need to animate everything else. Now when we are animating something like this in Flash, we want to set keyframes for anything that's on a layer.
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  1. 2m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 16s
  2. 48m 21s
    1. Designing characters
      3m 22s
    2. Tracing characters
      4m 32s
    3. Creating joints that work
      3m 53s
    4. Working with outlines
      4m 0s
    5. Accessorizing your characters
      2m 21s
    6. Creating parts for replacement animation
      1m 41s
    7. Rigging hierarchies in After Effects
      5m 33s
    8. Rigging replacement animation in After Effects
      5m 52s
    9. Rigging with the Puppet tool in After Effects
      3m 16s
    10. Rigging Flash characters
      5m 50s
    11. Rigging replacement animation in Flash
      4m 25s
    12. Rigging with the Bone tool in Flash
      3m 36s
  3. 55m 29s
    1. The first law of motion
      3m 3s
    2. The second law of motion
      3m 45s
    3. The third law of motion
      3m 19s
    4. Using slow in and slow out
      5m 34s
    5. Arcs and smooth motion
      5m 4s
    6. Understanding overlap and follow-through
      5m 16s
    7. Animating overlap and follow-through
      5m 46s
    8. Understanding squash and stretch
      3m 10s
    9. Animating squash and stretch
      4m 40s
    10. Squashing and stretching characters
      5m 16s
    11. Understanding weight
      3m 27s
    12. Understanding anticipation
      4m 54s
    13. Animating anticipation and weight
      2m 15s
  4. 45m 50s
    1. Internal vs. external forces
      4m 45s
    2. Bringing characters to life
      4m 57s
    3. Animating blinks
      4m 37s
    4. Animating changes in eye direction
      2m 43s
    5. Animating head turns
      8m 1s
    6. Creating a strong line of action
      4m 16s
    7. Creating strong silhouettes
      2m 19s
    8. Pose-to-pose animation: Blocking
      4m 32s
    9. Pose-to-pose animation: Animating
      4m 21s
    10. Pose-to-pose animation: Finalizing
      5m 19s
  5. 46m 53s
    1. A walk in four poses
      2m 27s
    2. Motion of the head and body
      1m 32s
    3. Walk cycles and backgrounds
      1m 40s
    4. Skeleton motion and walking
      4m 2s
    5. Animating a walk: Contact position
      3m 0s
    6. Animating a walk: The feet
      9m 10s
    7. Animating a walk: The body
      5m 19s
    8. Animating a walk: The legs
      8m 21s
    9. Animating a walk: The upper body and arms
      3m 46s
    10. Animating a walk: The head
      2m 50s
    11. Animating a walk: Squash and stretch
      4m 46s
  6. 26m 52s
    1. A run in four poses
      4m 10s
    2. Animating a run: First pose
      4m 39s
    3. Animating a run: Second pose
      3m 45s
    4. Animating a run: Third pose
      3m 27s
    5. Animating a run: Fourth pose
      5m 1s
    6. Animating a run: Upper body
      5m 50s
  7. 37m 6s
    1. The basics of dialogue animation
      4m 35s
    2. Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes
      5m 33s
    3. Phonemes and lip-syncing
      8m 36s
    4. Animating dialogue: Animating the body
      6m 27s
    5. Animating dialogue: Assigning mouth shapes
      4m 10s
    6. Animating dialogue: Finalizing
      7m 45s
  8. 1h 27m
    1. Animating a scene
      2m 0s
    2. Setting up the scene in After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Animating the feet in After Effects
      10m 40s
    4. Animating the legs in After Effects
      4m 21s
    5. Animating the upper body in After Effects
      9m 44s
    6. Animating the mouth and blinks in After Effects
      7m 5s
    7. Setting up the scene in Flash
      4m 6s
    8. Animating the feet in Flash
      9m 0s
    9. Animating the body in Flash
      5m 23s
    10. Animating the legs in Flash
      7m 24s
    11. Animating the hands in Flash
      11m 54s
    12. Animating the mouth in Flash
      12m 26s
  9. 33s
    1. Goodbye
      33s

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2D Character Animation
5h 50m Advanced Nov 13, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Creating character joints that really work
  • Building with the Puppet tool in After Effects
  • Understanding internal versus external forces in movement
  • Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes for dialogue
  • Setting up a scene in both After Effects and Flash
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Author:
George Maestri

Animating the body in Flash

Now that we have the feet animated, we can go ahead and start animating the body to match the motion of the feet. Let's go ahead and see where we are at. We have basically the feet moving into position over the course of about 26 frames. Now, let's go ahead and take a look at the upper body. What we need to do is basically make the hips float above the feet to make it look like she is walking. Now we also need to animate everything else. Now when we are animating something like this in Flash, we want to set keyframes for anything that's on a layer.

So, let's go ahead and expand all of these. Now, one thing I'm noticing is that her arm is actually all the way down here and the rest of her parts are up here. So, I'm actually just going to do a little bit of a cheat here. I'm going to Shift+Select all of these and go ahead and just move them up into this folder here. So that way, I can have all of these together when I animate. It's just going to make it easier on the timeline and once I get everything animated, I can always re-layer them and put the hands back where they belong.

So, let's go ahead and start doing keyframing. Now, the first major keyframe is here is around frame 6 where she actually takes that first step. So, let's go ahead and select that frame and hit F6 to lay-in a keyframe for that. And then we are going to go ahead and position her. So, what I'm going to do is actually bring her down and forward just a little bit. So, you can see she snaps down and then I'm just going to go ahead and select all of these, right-click and go Create Classic Tween.

So, now we've got her coming down. Now, the next major pose is where this foot passes the other foot. So, this is somewhere around frame 10. So again, I'm just going to go ahead and select the upper body parts, F6 to create the keyframes and then just drop her into place. Now, when she comes into this passing position, she is actually going to be a little bit higher. Again, I want to center her above the feet and lift her body up just a little bit. You can see this is ghosted, so I can bring her over and then up.

So, I'm just going to bring her up just a little bit here and there we go. And again, let's just go ahead and just keep doing these classic tweens. So now you can see what I'm doing is I'm actually getting that body into position. Now, one thing I can also do is I can start to rotate her. So, as she comes into this pose here, I can take her and I can rotate her a little bit forward. So, I'm going to take the pivot point of all of these and then just rotate her forward just a little bit.

So, she is just going to lean forward going into this and then come up. So, the next major position is at frame 14, where her feet are completely apart. And again, I'm just going to go ahead and select all of those frames and F6 to put in my keyframe and then position her. So she is going to be halfway between these, a little bit down and then maybe leaning forward just a little bit. And again, right-click, Classic Tween and there she is, one, two.

And then again, another passing position here somewhere around frame 17 or 18, and again she is going to move over and up and again just create that Classic Tween. You'd really get into rhythm here. What you do is F6, create the key, position your parts, and then Create Classic Tween. So, now here is what we've got. So, now she is going left, right, and so on and then she kind of comes into that final pose somewhere around frame 22, but then she slides up to 26.

So, let's go ahead and do 22. If you want, you don't have to hit F6; you can just choose it from the menu, Insert Keyframe. And again she is going to be right about here, leaning a little bit forward again, and now let's go ahead and Create Classic Tween. And then the last one is right around frame 26 where her feet come together. Now, what she is going to do is she is actually going to come up. So, let's go into frame 26. Insert Keyframe.

She comes over, up and let's go ahead and make sure she straightens out to somewhere like that and Create Classic Tween. So, now we've got her walking in. We've got everything but the legs. So, let's take a look and see how this works. It looks pretty good. Without the legs it even looks she is walking. Now, all we have to do is bridge the gap with her legs and we'll have the majority of her body walking.

So, now I've gone ahead and saved out the animation as Woman_Stage_02 and let's go ahead and see what that looks like. Now you can see what we have is we have the feet, the hips, and the body all animated. All we need to do now is bridge the gap between the hips and the feet by animating the legs.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about 2D Character Animation.


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Q: In the chapter "Creating joints that work,” the author uses a circular point for the joints in the arm animation. Do circles need to be drawn in the joints while tracing the character, or there is another method that can be used?
A: It doesn't absolutely have to be a circle, as shown in the video. However, that method is show because it’s the easiest way to make sure the joints will rotate easily.
It’s a matter of personal preference, so use whatever method will work best for each character.
 
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