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In Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation, Dermot O' Connor explains the process of character animation in Flash, using nested symbols and motion and shape tweening to create believable characters. The course covers the process from start to finish, from rigging a character to creating a walk cycle animation. Along the way, Dermot demonstrates techniques such as animating eye blinks, head turns, and mouth movements during dialogue. Exercise files accompany the course.
So we have our contact positions and our passing positions all laid out. So it's time to continue to the recoil position. So go into our Chapter 5 Exercise Files and open file number 11, and let's tunnel into our symbol. Let's take a little peep again at the sample image. So here we have our contact position, our passing positions, and our contact positions, they are all done. So the recoil is next. That's where the character actually impacts into the ground and this will give us the feel of weight and of mass. So how far we push this will give the character's weight a greater amount.
As a less extreme recoil position, he will feel a bit lighter. Just bear in mind that this foot is going to be flat on the ground and this rear foot will be completely off of the ground and ultimately in the final version, this rear foot will actually be slightly curved and right now it's slicing through the ground layer. We are not going to worry about that just yet. So let's hide this preview. Center our character. A couple of things that are worth saying more than once. Go into your Preference panel and make sure the Contact- sensitive Selection and Lasso tools is off and that you are on Object-level undo, not Document-level Undo.
This will actually control your undo's to the symbol you're working on, and that's much easier to follow the undo's. And contact-sensitive means that it will only select an object if you are completely surrounded with your selection area. Whereas the other way, you'll select that just by doing that and that's too sensitive. It's hyper sensitive. So let's start adding in our recoil position. So I am going to draw an F6 to make a keyframe. Now the next step will be to select the upper body, just a big box around all the upper body layers.
Sometimes you can miss levels so that they don't get selected properly, so I also like to just drag everything. Move the down arrow, five or six clicks, maybe one more. Now let's pretty quickly test this. You see, he seems to float from the second step from here on. He doesn't have a recoil yet, but here, boom! We are already seeing a bit of a bounce. Sso I am actually going to push this a little bit further, a couple more clicks.
But further down you go, the more weight he has, but the more difficult it can be to make these legs line up. So bear that in mind. You have to balance that out. The other thing to remember about the recoil -- let's look at this position here. I am going to put a sample image back on. The recoil is the point of maximum impact and the arms being swinging, they are more prone to reacting to that, so they'll flare out slightly on the impact. So let's go into the arms and from the contact to the recoil, I am going to actually push them out a little bit further from the body.
Much harder to do this with a nice angle on the rear arm so we'll just concentrate more on the leading arm. And we will change the bend of the arm later now, but for now I'm more concerned about the position of the hand and seeing how much we can get away with. This might be too much, but it's good also sometimes to over animate these things and then pull them in, to under animate them. Okay. And you might want to tilt the head a bit down on the recoil, because it's shocking a little bit. Now I can feel it.
So let's go in here and I am going to fine-tune the legs. I am using the Shift and the numeric arrow keys for these big crude movements just to get us into a rough position. We can use the regular keys after that. So let's look at this in outline. Okay. So also it's good to have your sample image up here. To give you an idea about what the legs are going to do... So for example, we are going from the contact pose, this, into the recoil.
So look at the recoil leading leg, the left leg. It's actually going to be bending at the knee, so rather than trying to deform the entire leg, I am just going to tween the lower leg on the internal symbol. So make sure again we are on the right frame. We are on frame 5 of the outer timeline. I'm going to also on frame 5 of the leg symbol. So when we go into the leg. Be sure that we are working on frame 5 of the leg. Let's go in closer, let's go into outline, and let's see if we can put a better outline color on this to make it easier to see.
Try not to change the direction of the upper part of the limbs. Just work on the lower part. That's flexible a bit. And then we will do something similar for the right leg. I'm looking at something where the leg is reasonably down. It will bend at the knee. So I am going to move the leg forward a little bit, and use frameEdit, our favorite third party extension from toonmonkey.com. Always remember make a new keyframe or you will be changing the wrong keyframe. That will cause problems. So pull this up, and you can bend this too.
We will do more work, actually changing some of these curves a little later on. Okay. Now to give you a foretaste of what we are really going to be doing at the final stage of this, I am going to go into this symbol and activate shape tweening, and you can see it's working. That's nice and have look at what the final result is as we are looking at this leg here. Let's do with the other one, and that's moving. It's not getting jittery or anything.
So no need for shape hints at least for this case. So that's going to be the technique. We have a shape tween inner comp doing this action in place, which when it's on the outer symbol, this motion tween to line up with the foot. So we can still do things with the float like position it, move it, we can still control or skew to affect the outer symbol, but we do have the shape tween in our form, which is taking care of all the joints. So that's that.
I think we are okay there. Now we need to do the second recoil. So I am going to do a familiar process, I am going to copy all of these, Ctrl+C, Paste them over here, turn them in to an outline. This is a temporary level. It's just here as a guide to give us an idea. Switch off the background and that will give us an idea of the pose that we have to copy, because we want both recoils on each side to be pretty much the same. The arms will be in opposite positions, but we want the upper body and the rest of the poses to be as similar as possible.
So let's draw a box around the upper layers and again just test that we have selected everything. Pull it down a bit. There we go, and I would still use the reference layer for our positions for our hands. Let's see. It's easier if you just pull these completely free. I want to make sure we are working on the correct arms. On the original, the right arm, is out and to the up and so we want this arm to do the same thing on the opposite side. So I want to match it as close as we can.
Again, it doesn't have to be exact. It can be slightly off centered or at a different angle. As long as the pose is the same and the height is close enough. And the same thing with the feet. Let's zoom in on that. I am going to pull these legs apart. Make sure that the foot is on the right line. So we are going to outline mode.
The green is the right side and that's nearer to us. And the green should be a bit lower here. That's right. So let's pull that in. We will keep this reference layer for now. It's still good for helping to position the legs. Let's go and rotate it, so again, most of our work will be on the inner symbol. frameEdit in, and don't forget. Make the keyframe here. Done.
And let's position the leg, frameEdit again. Make a keyframe. If you add anything new in here, add a keyframe first. Okay, so now we can delete that. We will find all these shapes later on. This is a blocking pass. This is still in the process of making sure everything is basically correct, fine tuning can happen and all this is sorted and clean. Okay, we are still seeing the pops, but those are happening where the pipe points would be on the next part of the course.
So I am going to go through it a bit more slowly. It's good. That's good. We are all connected, good. Same here, same there, and there. So let's save this, and then in the next episode we will move on and we will add the final of the four keys, to high point.
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