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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.
Now let's go ahead and animate our scene in After Effects. So I'm going to go ahead and open up After Effects CS4 and we're going to go ahead and open a file here called Woman_ Stage and that's in the Chapter 7 folder of your exercise files. Now, this actually has a number of different compositions. The first composition is the actual storyboard and then we have a composition with just the woman rigged and ready to go, kind of like a blank slate.
Then as we go through all of these other compositions, it just gets more and more animation. So these are all the stages in the process, finally ending in the composition called Woman_07, which is the final scene. So let me go ahead and play that so we can see where we're going. (Female Speaker: Welcome to the show.) (Female Speaker x2: Welcome to the show.) So let's go ahead and start working towards that scene. Now, let me describe the setup a little bit here. Now we have a Null object here at the very bottom.
This allows us to position the entire character. So we can go ahead and position her wherever we need and then each part of the character is basically just jointed. So we can just rotate the joints. Now I did not use the Puppet tool in this because for these types of joints, it's probably easiest to just use rotations and use hierarchies. Everything is kind of put together in a hierarchy, so that when you move the shoulder, the lower arm moves and so on and so forth. Now, the one thing I didn't do was I broke the hierarchy at the hips.
So the legs are not connected to the hips. This really lends itself to the way that I like to animate, which is to animate the feet and the hips, and then just put the legs in between them. That's basically my choice and how I like to animate. I think it works really well. Then the rest of the parts of the character are kind of just put together, so we've got the head and so on and so forth. So let's go ahead and set up this first pose. I'm going to go ahead and take a look at this storyboard here. The first pose really just has a character ready to start walking.
So she's stage right and with both feet facing forward. So here I've got her feet kind of facing out. So let me go ahead and grab the left shoe and go ahead and just scale that in the opposite direction. In fact, if I want to get that very accurate, I can go into the Scale function here, and just go ahead and type in -100, so it's exactly of the right size. If I want, I can go ahead and zoom in and get this position exactly the way that I want. Now once we have this basic pose, then we're ready to actually start animating.
Here is the actual pose that I'm going to start with, which is called Woman_01. So before you start animating anything in After Effects, you need to get your character position properly on the scene and get everything set up and rigged and ready to go, which is what we have here.
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