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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've colorized our character's head, and now it's time to move onto the body. So, let's double-click on the symbol on the stage, or if you prefer, double-click on the bd symbol in the Library panel. Let's padlock the head because the head is done and unpadlock all the body layers, and we also would probably benefit if we had our color_model from the Library on the stage, so we can refer to this and grab colors from it. Then apply them to our character or vectorized liner. So, let's use the Eyedropper tool, that's this one, and grab the relevant colors, and just drop them in.
Now, you'll notice when we do this that any of the errors that we've made in the layer hierarchy will very very quickly become apparent, and that's not a problem. Very easy to fix this. Notice also, we have a gradient on the body. We're not going to worry about that in this class. We'll do that in the next one. But for now, let's just go with the basic flat area. Okay, there's one last little area that you might see and that's this little white spot in here. So we want to shade that with the darker shadow area on the skin, grab that with the Eyedropper, and just drop that in.
Let's zoom out and have a look. Okay. Now to fix the little layering errors, just click on the layer that's too high or too low and just drag it down until it looks good. Same thing with this hand here, and I think this leg should be, or I actually think the torso might be a bit lower. Oh yes, and this is a little mistake that we made earlier on. Notice that we accidentally drew the foot on the wrong level. That's okay. Easy to fix. Just select the foot, copy it, and cut it, you grab the layer that you want, and into the right foot, Paste in Place, or Ctrl+C and then Ctrl+Shift+V. Now we're good.
So, at this point, there's one last thing that's really going to be an issue, and that is the color on the hands. We can see the potential problem with this. If we double-click on the black line and then hit Ctrl+X to get rid of it, you can't see where the fingers are. The solution to that, while we could keep the black line, but it looks kind of ugly, is something like this where we put a shadow color separation. We could also, if we wanted to, put a highlight one on the other end. So, I'm going to go in and I'm going to add that. So let's just select the hand layer, we'll hide the rest, and usually we favor one side or the other.
So I like to imagine the light coming in from one end and be sure when we apply these points that they snap to the corner to keep the geometry nice and clean. I like to grab a bunch of points, put them on here first, and then since these are very finely positioned and Snap can be kind of aggressive, I have to switch it off for this part. And back on when we have to connect to these corners precisely, and I think one more up here, just to mark that out.
Now, I want to find that color for the skin shadow color. We can get rid of that line. Pull it from there. Double-click on the line to get rid of it. So let's see what that looks like without the line, and that looks pretty good. So now, we repeat the process over here, and again let's just select the right layer, get rid of everything else. Oops! Again, this is one of those points when we want to get rid of Snap for a little bit. Maybe zoom in.
I'm going to just throw down some temporary positions here. Put Snap back on for this, so we hit those corners exactly right. Maybe round off these areas, wherever you think looks best, and color them in, and little reminder to make sure that Don't Close Gaps has been selected for this. Oops! Ah, we have an open line there. The reason why I don't like to have the gaps set to that point is because if you have it selected to don't Close Small Gaps or Large Gaps, these little areas oftentimes will be left white or empty, and that will cause problems.
Okay, that looks good. So, let's unhide everything. Let's just hide these for now. Then if you want to test the character without their lines, very-very simple, Zoom out, make it quite small, and select the Eraser and just have it select to Erase Lines. Make sure you've erased everything on the stage, zoom in, looking pretty good. Let's do the same thing on the head layer. Unpadlock that, click in, and erase everything, just the lines.
Now, we're starting to see our character begin to approach the end state. So, now we have the character fully colored. There is some little work still to be done. We need to add a gradient to the body, and we need to symbolize the hands, and the feet, and all the body parts. Then to add pivots, but the next step will be to add this little cool color gradient to the torso.
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