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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 now we have our character walking and all of his joints are moving nicely, so let's proceed. And we will now do a little squashing on the body, a very simple thing. Definitely, I think, worth a little bit of time. Let's click on our character. Let's get in there. So I think we can get rid of our little reference image up at the top now, unless you still think you need it. I think we're well advanced at this point. So let's look at the walk.
One thing that isn't really doing anything drastic is the torso. So again, we want to keep things looking as lifelike as possible. So I'm going to put some keys in here, hitting F6 for all this, this just duplicates the first. Let's switch this entire layer to shape tween. Let's look outside first to see exactly where we are, where we're going to. So here is our recoil, before our little fellow hits the ground, so let's just squash him out a little bit.
And we might even consider trying to change this curve at that line, maybe move it down a bit rather than up. Now he is leaning through the passing position into the high-point. That's more or less one continuous action, so let's delete the passing position keyframe. I'm just going to try to stretch him on the high-point. And don't forget what a material is made of. This could be like a light fabric for a shirt, in which case it will billow and be more prone to react into the air.
The other thing that you can do is even more drastic, we can try to put a little reversal on the back. Use this to completely change the angle of his body. Don't forget we're in motion. Some of these frames could look a little odd by themselves. One of the cool things about animation is that it's possible to have a frame that looks weird as a static image, but looks fantastic when you see it in motion. I'm just going to pull the body up behind him. So now we have a more natural line of action on his back.
I'm just going to pull this in a little, so we see a little bit of negative space between the shirt and his arm. I think we might be seeing the lower torso through that, so let's move that back a little. And again, anytime you like these changes, you want to zoom out a little to make sure that you haven't broken anything or made anything else look strange. So that's good! So now that I've done that. We could be a little bolder on this down position.
Push out his chest a little bit. See what that looks like. Still in place, looks fine. It's shape tweening very stable. But that will also give us a stronger transition into this pose here. And the other thing we can do also if we want to move faster into this up position is take our Ease and do an ease out, and that will move us much quicker from here into here. It's much snappier.
Let's see what that feels like. And this is also one of those things that it's happening pretty fast, but it's a sensation more than anything. You'll feel it in the walk. So I want to copy these frames, hold down Alt+ Option, just drag the second part of the walk. Don't forget to make sure that all of your keys are behaving and one matches the other side, because we want it to be symmetrical on each step. That's really great! So I'm noticing the lower torso.
Always watch out for symbols that are sliding under one another, so the torso lower area. That's this one. It's misbehaving slightly, so I'm just going to padlock everything except the lower torso. Let's go ahead a bit closer. Maybe rotate it, position it, so that it's inside the upper body, and let's scrub through the timeline. Just maybe rotate it around and over. Same here. You see it's peeping out and that's going to catch the eye. Okay. So now we're all safely inside.
You might want to, if you're really doing this very carefully, you might want to just switch off the arms. Great! So let's move out. Much better! Simple thing, but it's made a hell of a difference. I'm noticing a couple of little breaks, as you will, right until the bitter end. Now that we've moved the body, that's exposed some of the shoulder area up here. So let's just select that. Maybe pull the arm back in.
Find any of these points that are now misbehaving and just use your numeric arrow key to pull them over. Again, go through frame by frame. I am noticing a little piece of air now appearing on this arm, the right one, so either we can make a change inside that symbol. It will be on this frame. It's shape tweening anyway, so we can do things like that to cover those little gaps. Beautiful! Okay.
And those little alterations don't seem to have caused the arm to get stuck or affect the overall flow of the scene. So I think we are good. The final step will be to show you how to use our finished walk cycle to walk across the screen, how we reposition him, and that's a very simple process and we'll cover that next.
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