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Rigging Flash characters

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Rigging Flash characters

Let's take a look how to set up another character and this time, we're going to set her up in Flash. I have this woman character here. Now, we're starting in Illustrator so I can show you the workflow from Illustrator to Flash. What I've done is I've set this character up very similarly to how I set up the bear in Photoshop, in that I have individual layers for all of the different parts. These layers are labeled so that I know what they are. Once I have these layers and I can just import those into Flash, and the layers will come right up and then I can start arranging things in Flash.

Rigging Flash characters

Let's take a look how to set up another character and this time, we're going to set her up in Flash. I have this woman character here. Now, we're starting in Illustrator so I can show you the workflow from Illustrator to Flash. What I've done is I've set this character up very similarly to how I set up the bear in Photoshop, in that I have individual layers for all of the different parts. These layers are labeled so that I know what they are. Once I have these layers and I can just import those into Flash, and the layers will come right up and then I can start arranging things in Flash.

So let's go ahead and go over to Flash and we're just going to go ahead and create a new document and just do File > Import. I'm going to Import to Stage and then I'm just going to select this file called Woman and hit Open. Now all I need to do is make sure everything is checked. I make sure I have Convert layers to Flash layers checked and I make sure that I have Place objects at original position. Then I go ahead and hit OK. Now when this comes in from Illustrator, you'll see what happens is that every layer in Illustrator becomes a layer on the Timeline in Flash.

Now this can be good, because it's an easy way to select and organize things, but the best way to animate in Flash is to use symbols and also to reduce the amount of layering. So let me show you how to do this. Let's go ahead and start with the head. Now we have all of these different layers here on the head. In fact, let me go ahead and readjust this here so we can see all of these at once. So I'm going to go ahead and take the hair, the hand and the hair front. I'm going to take all of these, turn those into a symbol.

So I'm just going to go ahead and hit F8, and that creates the symbol. I'm just going to call that Head. Now this symbol has actually been pulled from three different layers. So when I create it, notice what happens is that this Head layer is going to kind of pop up to the front. In fact, I think what it does is that actually pops up to this Hair_Front. What I can do now is just go ahead and delete this and reinsert it. So I'm going to delete this Hair_Front. In fact, delete the layer, go back down to this one here I have called Head, make sure that's highlighted, and then just pull this symbol in and rearrange it.

So now I have all of my head on one layer, which is great. Now, this way of doing it actually creates a layer for the hair and the head. All of the objects that are on the head, such as the nose, the eyes, the pupil and so on, are separate. So what we have to do is in order to move, for example, the head, I just have to select everything and then move it. Now, another way to do this is to make what's called a nested symbol. So let's go ahead and just select all of these and I'm going to go ahead and make another symbol.

This symbol is going to be called Head_All. What this has, as you can see here in the description, the eyes, the nose, the mouth and everything. So what I can do is actually delete that original symbol and again, just go back down to Head layer and drop in this Head_All. So now I have a head where I can just animate it. It's much easier to animate this than it would be to animate individual objects. So, for example, if I wanted to, I could remove the pivot position here and then just animate the head.

Now, if I wanted to animate something within the head, such as the eyes or the mouth, I have to double-click on this and go into the symbol. Now, when you go into a symbol in Flash, what you do is you get an additional secondary timeline, right here, which has its own layer. So, for example, I could create another layer for the eyes or the mouth. So, for example, I could do Insert Layer here and I could take the mouth and I could cut it just using the standard Cut function, and then just paste it back in.

Now I have the mouth on a separate layer. But when I double-click outside of this, you can see it all goes back to this original composition. So, what we have here is what is called nested symbol. So you have a symbol inside of a symbol, inside of a symbol, which is kind of like a hierarchy. You can see it's operationally a little bit different, because they each have their own timeline. So when I go into this symbol, again I've got this different timeline. Now, we can do the same for just about anything, such as the arms, the legs, really any part of the character.

In fact, I have one that's already set up, and let me just show you how that works. So we're going to go ahead and open a file. I have a file here called Woman. This has a much simpler layering and a lot of nested composition. So we can just go through how it's ultimately going to be set up. Now what I have is I have a separate layer for each arm. So, for example, if you select the left arm, you'll see I have three different symbols. So I have the hand, the forearm and the upper arm.

You'll notice here I also have these symbols here. I have the forearm, the upper arm and the head as well. For example, within this head, I've got a number of different things within this layer. So this makes it much easier to animate. So if I wanted to bend the arm, I could actually select all of these symbols here. Then if I wanted to, I could just select the Multiple Transform tool here and then just rotate the entire arm. But if I wanted to rotate just a little bit of that arm, again, I can just select this and rotate it as well.

So this makes it almost like a hybrid of nested symbols and layers. You've got layers for each individual part, but you also have within those nested symbols. So this is a good kind of way to organize your scenes within Flash.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for 2D Character Animation
2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 22238 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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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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