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In this course, author Dermot O' Connor offers experienced Flash designers a step-by-step guide for creating and animating a full-featured cartoon face in Adobe Flash Professional. The course begins with some best practices for setting up the rig and moves on to building facial features such as the mouth and eyes, sculpting the mouth to simulate dialogue, and creating a range of expressions. The course also shows how to rotate the head using poses, move the rig along multiple axes, and incorporate audio.
Let's do the final of our mouth shapes, and that's the profile mouth, or the C mouth, as we are calling it. So let's double-click on the stage, if you're not already in the symbol, on the hd 1 turnaround, or just double-click on the symbol in the Library panel, and let's go to the C direction, the C label on our timeline. And the symbol that we actually placed in here when we were doing turnaround was basically just a placeholder of the A symbol, and that's obviously not ideal for us to work in.
So let's just get rid of that. And what I have done is I've taken the A symbol, I have created a duplicate and called that duplicate the C mouth. So let's click on that in the library and drag it to the stage. And I am going to use this little crosshair to line up that crosshair to the edge, and then I'm going to go in and fix the pivot, which is a circular object down here. If we were to rotate this, it would rotate around the wrong spot. So let's put Snap on and drag that little circle to the center point, that's where we really need it to be, and that's it.
So now we can double-click on this symbol, which is mt C. So now we are inside the C mouth, let's zoom out so you can see a little more clearly. I have sketched in, very lightly here, a series of mouth shapes, from the close mouth, the B, which will make the e sound, the D, the wide-open mouth, and then the oo shape. So the actual artwork is a duplicate of the A mouth, none of this is any good. So we are just going to keep these frames here as a reference for our general timing, but let's get rid of all the elements that we don't need.
So just select these, right click and go Clear Keyframe, and let's go back to the very first frame here. I think the best place to work from is the mouth inner, so let's do that, and unpadlock it, and let's try going to outline. And if I click on the Subselection tool, or A on the keyboard, and then click on this layer, you see that we have this six-point geometry, which was great for the front view, but not really ideal for the side view. So what I am going to do is chop it right here.
So let's just select the Selection tool and delete the rest just draw around it and hit Delete. And now we can use this shape, get into the habit too of holding down the Alt/Option key and just duplicating that to the end, so we match our begin point and our end point as the same, and we'll create the D mouth, or the wide-open mouth. So let's padlock the Reference layer, unhide it, and now we are going to make some alterations to this to make it closer match the source. So let's zoom in as close as we think we can get and what I am going to do is make some modifications to this shape, Snap is not needed for the moment, so off that goes.
I am going to distort this for a bit just so I can see where my edges are, pull this in, pull that into here and any change that I make here, again apply to the end, and now we will do the D mouth, zoom in a little bit, constant zooming in and zooming out, pull that into here, last little check, make sure that our points haven't merged into one another, so we can still access these little corners, hit Undo, and now let's go to a solid color and play it through.
That looks really good. Don't worry about the size of this for now, this will be dealt with later. And now I'm going to duplicate the A mouth onto the F position to create our oo shape. Just click it and drag it over so that the corner aligns, go in really close with this. So now we can play the whole thing, and we have it blocked in, in general outline form. The beauty of this method, as you can see, right from the beginning, more or less what the range of motion is going to be, and that looks really good.
So now that we have that, let's duplicate this a few times. So the first thing to do is to duplicate it to the mask layer and to the lip lower layer and to the lip upper layer, and this is the same process that we used for the A and the B mouth. So let's hide out everything except for the lip upper and the lip lower, and what we are probably going to do is color these black, so that they have their right color for the lip outline. So we'll select black for here, paint that, and just go through and paint all the lip layers black. Same for the lower lip, there we go.
Okay, and I'll scrub through, oh, we missed one, I have the beginning here, okay. Next step, I am going to click on the inner mouth so we can see that, activate the upper lip and go to the D mouth now, and we are going to pull these shapes up so that we can share the upper level of this shape, but then alter the lower one, so that we can create the illusion of the upper lip. Zoom in a little bit, looks good. Same with the F mouth, also looks good.
I've noticed that Flash has done the thing where it's hidden this point, so now if I pull on this, the entire line moves. So let's just do a little bit of busy work here and get that back. I am just going to draw a box around that shape, hit Delete, and now we get control over these points. Again, put Snap on and just push and pull these until they connect together again, and we are back down to two points that we have control over. I said earlier, some people use the Spline Tools to do this, I really don't like the Spline Tools, I think they cause issues, and this may seem like a little bit of extra work when the point is still there, but it really is nice to be able to go in and just grab it like this, without having to deal with the spline handles.
So let's see if we still have access, there it is, and it's tweening beautifully. Now we will repeat the same process for the lower lip, zoom out again, pull the corner down here and something weird is happening here, the curves, the curves. Okay, let me go in and try to figure out why we're seeing this little flicker, and if in doubt, the nice thing about this system is--I will just hit Undo, this is why it's nice to have a good number of undoes available, I am going to keep going back further, zoom out.
So when something like this happens, what I like to do is just do one change at a time and then move forward a frame and back. I am going to use the Subselection tool on the first one to make sure we have five points here, check the second one, and I think we have 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 points. So the problem seems to be that some other point became generated by mistake. So I am just going to delete that by drawing over it, and let's straighten this out a bit, there we go, back and forward, and you see that's a great way when you get those flickers, and you start wondering where are these things coming from, this is the most controlled way to stop that in its tracks.
Then you can target the exact point where your shape tweening gets into trouble, and there we go, that's exactly how you deal with that. So now we go on do the same thing for this mouth here. Okay, now we zoom out, and let's just look at it with the mouth inner and the lips. So we have the upper lip, the lower lip, and the mask layer, and it's all working exactly as we like.
The next thing we need to do is fix the teeth and the tongue, and that's pretty easy because they're just symbols, so these are much more stable. So let's padlock everything and hide the mask layer and just unpadlock the teeth And they are kind of hard to see, so let's go into Outline Mode and start at the beginning on the A, and as you can see, they are jutting out too far. So let's just select all three of those and just Shift and use the numeric arrow keys to get them to where you think they should be. Don't worry about this part up here that's sticking outside near the nose.
I am going to mask that out in a little bit. So when you have that where you liked it, select all of these three and hold Alt/Option and drag to here to copy them, right click and go get rid of that tween, and the next thing we do is we position them as we need them for the D mouth. So, most of the work here will actually be on the lower teeth or the blue outline layer. You might even rotate them slightly as the jaws moving down, let's get the tongue, slide that down as well. What I'll do is I'll just again select the a frames for the teeth and the tongue, hold down Alt/Option and drag them to the F position and just move them forward like that.
Again, don't worry about the red area overlapping, that's going to be our mask. You can hide that if you think it's kind of hard to see. So, I think looking at this, we can probably move the upper teeth down a little bit. So I'm going to hit Shift and move the numeric arrow key down one click, same here, same here, same here. Let's see what that looks like. So I am going to unhide everything and make sure it's all padlocked.
Looks great, and let's hide the mouth inner, because it is a little bit too big for now. So what I am going to do is correct the inner mouth layer, because it's a little too large. What we did was we created a mask that's quite big, it completely covers the entire area where we would be seeing the teeth and the tongue, and that's doing double duty, it's also working as the inner mouth, but the inner mouth is far too big. Let's unhide the lips, so you can see what I mean. So what I want to do is to make it a little bit smaller than that.
So put the lips into Outline Mode, and if you remember, the geometry of this shape for the mouth, let's click on that is 1, 2, 3, 4, 5 points. I want to get rid of everything to this side and just limit this to a very thin triangle. So let's go really close and see if you can get that exactly right. So I'm going to hit N for the Line tool. Be sure that Snap to Objects is on, and let's make sure that our line is black, so we can really see it. Just draw a line in here. Let's hide the lips now, so we are just working with this area, and if you need a reminder about the points we are trying to snap to, they are here and here.
So let's pull the line to connect there, and we want to make sure that we create a shape, I am going to delete that now, that is three points, and there it is get rid of that black line just select it and hit Delete, and we repeat the very same process for the rest of these frames. I am just going to draw a line, and you'll feel that Snap to Point, it's pretty much a feel thing, and again, if you want to check, hit the Subselection tool, and ah, see, here we--we may have gone a little too close.
I hit just the wrong spot, so let's undo that. Let's see if that was the right one. I seem to have overshot it again. So what I'm going to do, it's pretty close though, if I delete this and delete that line, and then we look at those points again, we're still only three points, I think this will be fine, it's very, very near to what I wanted, and let's pull that line in, so that we get a more natural curve and then the same thing here. I am just going to use the Line tool again, and we can maybe bring in a little closer than that, delete this, delete that, and again, check the points 1, 2, 3.
To be super sure, sometimes I'll even do this to make sure that there aren't two of those points very close together, it happens sometimes. But since this A is working now, smoothly into here, and there, let's copy the start to the very end and move the tween at the end, and now when we look at all of our layers together, we are seeing a very believable mouth. And the last little piece to do is this lip, and right now it's a crescent shape, and I think for this angle, a triangular shape will be better.
So I am going to delete the right half of it, thicken it a little bit, and we have our Reference layer down below as a very simple guide, so it's fatten it a little bit here. I am going to push it out. I like it, so copy that to the end, remove the tween, copy it for the B direction. It's way too high now, so let's grab that and pull it down, and let's grab it again, copy it again for the oo shape, and again, push it up, I am using the arrow keys.
Pull the corner down a little bit, hide the Reference layer, and let's scrub through that. And if you find this confusing, looking at it against the head, let's just double-click on the mt C symbol in the Library, and there you can see. It's kind of hard to see the teeth beneath it. So one quick way of testing is just to draw a placeholder color behind it, let's pick a blue, and there you can see the teeth are working, I can see the tongue peeping in.
That's really good, I am very happy with this. So let's get rid of that little temporary layer, and we can go back to the main stage. In the next section, I'll show you an issue that arises when you want to do dialog C now from the profile position because as you could see from that, when you do the oo shape, for example, there is no skin where there should be skin, there should be an upper lip area, a lower lip area. In the next movie, I am going to show you how we handle that, there's a very simple workaround, it will solve this little problem.
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