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In this chapter, I'll demonstrate a technique for really loosening up the head of the character, because the last thing you really want is to have them in the same static direction over and over again. So you'll find yourself tilting their head up, tilting it down, moving it left, a little bit right, and making it very tedious. So why not put all the tedium and all the strain in one place, and then you'll be able to get it over with. So what we're going to do is to create a comp or a symbol that contains all of the angles and directions you'll need in one place, and then you'd be able to play with it.
Now to demonstrate that, I use what I call the clock system, and that is starting from the A pose which is looking directly out at the viewer, we have the head tilted up into the 12 o'clock position over to the 1 o'clock, 2, 3, and so forth, all the way through. Let's take a look what that looks like. Now when you look at this, you're looking at it in place. You can see, okay, it's not 3D, and this is of course a tutorial, so this has not been pushed anywhere near as far as it could be pushed, and how realistic and how nuanced this is really boils down to how many hours you want to put into doing it, and how much animation you think you're going to need from a given character.
To give you an idea about how I would implement this in a single scene, here is a simple head turn. This was done simply by pulling in one of these, one of these, and so forth, and then simply dragging and dropping those frames over to here, as is needed from point to point, correcting an occasional shape hint which I flagged here with these little red flags. And the end result is a head turn. This head turn took me about two minutes to do. Now had you asked me to do a head turn of a character from scratch, I guarantee you it would take the fastest Flash animator substantially longer than 2 minutes, and the beauty of this system is that all of these angles more or less will work with any of the others.
Now there are issues, as you can see, red flags indicate shape hints. There is no way around it with something as aggressive as this, but again, this is a very, very small sacrifice to pay for this level of fluidity, and of course, this animation don't forget is nested. So in an external clip you can move the head even more on top of this to get a really, really lifelike animated performance from the character. So that's what we're going to be dealing with in the subsequent movies.
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