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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're ready to colorize the character and I think we'll start with the head on colorizing. If you're just doing this by yourself for fun, then you can pick any colors you like. It's up to you. If however you're working inside a studio system with a bit more structure, and if you're adapting an animated character from some of that already exists like a book, [00:00:2080] you're going to need to scan that image or take in a JPEG or a photograph, and pick the colors from that and apply them to your character. So, I want to show you how to do that since that is probably more important to most people.
So, let's move the character in that position. Double-click on the symbol on the stage or double-click on bd figure in Library. Let's start with the head. So let's un-padlock that layer, double-click. So now, we're inside the head layer and everything's padlocked, but we're going to be filling everything with paint soon. So, one little thing you'll notice, you can't really tell the symbol we're working in. We're inside the head comp, but everything looks black. Everything looks exactly the same. So first thing, let's go into View > Preview Mode and select Anti-Alias, and that's much better.
So now, we shade out the body level. We know that we're working inside the head and it'll make the process a little easier in terms of seeing exactly where we are. So let's zoom in on the head. I'm going to widen the stage a little bit and make this as big as we can, so we don't have to scroll around the screen quite as much. We're ready to start painting. So, one thing I want to do first is import our reference material, and that is contained inside your project folder, inside the character design folder, inside color model. There he is.
So now we have him in the Library. So let's give him a little level of his own, just temporarily. Oops! Undo that, padlock everything, just drag him down. This is probably a clean way of doing. it So we're going to match him a bit more closely. So now, if we want to grab these colors, it's very simple. Eyedropper tool and select and you'll see the right color appearing here. You might want to be careful where there is a lot of anti-aliasing. Try to pick from inside one of these clean spaces.
So let's hide him now, and we can start painting. Making sure we're on the right layer, and so I'm just going through all the areas that would correspond to skin. The nose, you can see immediately, probably we missed him. So I'll pop that in, and I would say just at this point just block at him. don't be too focused on worrying about details. If you close to the lines, sometimes it'll do it wrong, but oftentimes it will be pretty smart. So let's pick simple white color for the whites of the eyes. Oops! Just on the inside.
There we go, black for the eye itself, and I think we had a brown color for the eyebrow or a darker color. I'm not sure if that's totally black. Don't worry about the detail of the eyeball yet. We're going to do that in a later class. If I get a black for the mouth and there is this dark color here for the inside of the ear and maybe the lower lip. Don't worry about upper eyelid as well. That will also be added later on.
Now I'm going to pick the black for the mouth, and now you'll easily say, obviously the ear is on the wrong layer and this is the part where we can really fine-tune the layering. So I just pull it up until it stops being wrong. And, you'll also notice that on the reference material, I'm going to slide it out so we can see them side-by-side. Hold down the Spacebar to drag. So you'll see that the nose has a dark area here and the reason for that is without these fake black lines, you can't see the nose.
So let's go in and add that. The basic lining is done, but this is where we can really fine-tune some of these layers, make them look right. I will select the area that you're going to be painting into. So this if where we'll add highlights and shadows, things that will help to differentiate some of these spaces. I'll make sure that Snap is off for this area. Snap, I find very keen to combine lines. So, that's good. Go and select our dark color, drop it in, and already you can see a slight problem that's going to arise.
There's a big ugly white triangle here, and we can fix that fairly easily by just pulling the jawline over a little bit and actually probably helping as well by pulling the ear out just a bit. Maybe bring that ear lobe in slightly, and that should eliminate the ugly white triangle. So now, I think we're pretty much done. Ah, there's one more thing. I previously suggested that we add a white highlight to the top and a dark to the bottom because that'll help areas of overlap on the hair. So let's add them as well. Oops! It's very easy to forget. Just make sure you're working into the right layer. Put Snap on.
Make sure these are clean. Hold Option to add a point here, another point there. It's very very important that all these corners line up exactly. There can't be more than four points combining at these corners. If one of your lines were to join just short of the corner, you will have multiple points, and then when you begin to animate this, it will go crazy. You simply won't be able to control the forms. So, if that happens, if you find that you've got additional shapes here, simply delete them, start over.
A quick demonstration of that. I'll do it wrong, so you can see exactly what I'm talking about. So now we have this kind of thing happening and that's not going to go good when you start adding in the different shapes. So, how I would correct that? Sometimes you can simply drag that point onto there and then you're good. If you have a real cluster of points, I like to go in, delete them, and do this and then you're good again. So, I'm going to undo all that. So that's the process. Just watch these corners. Very very important that they are always kept nice and tidy.
So, the next thing I'm going to do is try to match these little triangular spaces so that we can add our highlights and lowlights, and this is when the Subselection tool is also handy. So I want to make sure that these points are roughly corresponding to one another. You can see one of my earlier mistakes is still there. So now we're fine. And then the last step will be just to make sure that our colors are roughly corresponding to one another. I want to zoom in. And there we are. So let's get rid of the guide layer.
And then, the last thing we do in this particular case is we will delete the lines. I'm going to leave them in for now, even though they look quite ugly, but we leave that till the very last phase. So I want to colorize the body as well, and then we'll begin the process of removing the lines and testing everything to make sure that it's solid and all the layers work together. We've done the head. Time to advance to the body. Don't worry about that small area of hair behind the character's neck. That will actually be colored in the body layer, not in the head layer. We have more on that in the next class. So, the head layer will cover how to not just color the body, but to color it with gradients, which will make it look a little more interesting.
So, I think that's good for now.
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