Rigging a Face in Flash Professional
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating the D head (3-quarter rear)


Rigging a Face in Flash Professional

with Dermot O' Connor

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Video: Creating the D head (3-quarter rear)

Next up, we'll do the transition from the profile to the three-quarter rearview. And I'll say it again, don't feel like you're under some obligation to get the tweening transition to work. You can pretty much at this point say, right, I'm happy enough to not be able to do a motion tween from here to here. Sure is nice to have it though. More control is better, but it does become a little bit of a puzzle. So let's puzzle that out and I'll show you what's involved. Again, let's make a vertical column and keyframe it, and let's go to Outline and hide everything, and look at the reference.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 14m 16s
    1. Introduction
    2. What you should know
      2m 0s
    3. Setting up Flash
      8m 35s
    4. Dos and don'ts
      2m 59s
  2. 59m 26s
    1. Establishing the directions
      7m 9s
    2. Setting up layers for the head
      6m 58s
    3. Drawing the head
      19m 2s
    4. Creating the mouth
      11m 27s
    5. Drawing the eyes
      4m 31s
    6. Animating the eye blink
      10m 19s
  3. 48m 0s
    1. Creating happy mouth dialogue shapes, part one
      10m 24s
    2. Creating happy mouth dialogue shapes, part two
      7m 43s
    3. Creating mad or sad mouth dialogue shapes
      10m 7s
    4. Creating neutral mouth dialogue shapes
      7m 36s
    5. Building unique mouth shapes
      12m 10s
  4. 29m 27s
    1. Creating jubilant expressions
      11m 47s
    2. Creating furious expressions
      6m 4s
    3. Fine-tuning expressions
      11m 36s
  5. 1h 9m
    1. Clock rotation demonstration
      2m 23s
    2. Creating the twelve-o'clock pose
      9m 2s
    3. Creating the six-o'clock pose
      5m 19s
    4. Creating the three-o'clock pose
      10m 16s
    5. Creating the nine-o'clock pose
      9m 35s
    6. Creating the remaining poses
      13m 17s
    7. Fine-tuning the head rotation
      11m 54s
    8. Fixing layering issues
      7m 42s
  6. 2h 10m
    1. Introducing the turnaround
      2m 55s
    2. Creating the B head (3-quarter)
      6m 45s
    3. Creating the C head (profile)
      8m 51s
    4. Creating the D head (3-quarter rear)
      13m 2s
    5. Creating the E head (rear)
      8m 59s
    6. In-betweening symbols manually
      9m 58s
    7. Creating the H head
      6m 41s
    8. Creating the G head
      11m 33s
    9. Creating the F head
      19m 18s
    10. Creating the B mouth (3-quarter)
      13m 41s
    11. Creating the C mouth (profile)
      14m 33s
    12. Adding detail to the C mouth
      7m 42s
    13. Creating other mouths
      6m 28s
  7. 54m 24s
    1. Putting together a head rotation
      14m 29s
    2. Moving frames between symbols to make a rotation
      10m 23s
    3. Using the rig with audio
      14m 59s
    4. Adding expressions to the animation
      14m 33s
  8. 1m 0s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 0s

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Watch the Online Video Course Rigging a Face in Flash Professional
6h 46m Intermediate Sep 19, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Setting up layers for the head
  • Animating blinks
  • Fine-tuning expressions
  • Fixing layering issues
  • Adding expressions to the animation
3D + Animation
Flash Professional
Dermot O' Connor

Creating the D head (3-quarter rear)

Next up, we'll do the transition from the profile to the three-quarter rearview. And I'll say it again, don't feel like you're under some obligation to get the tweening transition to work. You can pretty much at this point say, right, I'm happy enough to not be able to do a motion tween from here to here. Sure is nice to have it though. More control is better, but it does become a little bit of a puzzle. So let's puzzle that out and I'll show you what's involved. Again, let's make a vertical column and keyframe it, and let's go to Outline and hide everything, and look at the reference.

So we're trying to do the transition from the profile view to this view. And actually, it's not as crazy as it might seem. Some of the levels are going to change here, but for now we don't even worry about it. Let's just worry about lining the different layers and it should become apparent once we're in color what needs to be done. So let's hide it all and we'll just do the neck. And again, if my outline colors are too light, let's go and maybe darken that a little bit. Zoom in a little bit, it will be easier to see.

You'll notice too the virtue of working like this is that you have the same layer hierarchy for all the different directions. So even without the tweening, this is a great way to work, because if your character turns from one direction into a completely different direction, this way you've already worked out all the different layers that you'll possibly need. So this is the way I do everything now. It's much easier once you get used to it. So let's do the left ear and, again, I'm not worried too much about this ear. It's really just occupying the approximate space. We can even hide that, it's kind of distracting.

The skull, let's use the Snap to Objects and just line that up with the back of the neck, even though we can see it, it's still nice to make them line up. I'm going to go in and switch Snap off. I need to really be able to move this finely. The left hair area; I think finally we get to move this to the bottom level. I'm not sure we can cheat it much longer, possibly maybe. If we make it small enough, no one is even going to see it.

That's pretty good. And the hair, right? I'll keep going through layer by layer, make sure that snaps to that. Let's zoom out so we can see it better. Ah! I completely misinterpreted that with all the lines. Let's go back and hide the left hair, and what's going to happen here is that the right side of the hair is really going to take over the entire head. Let's zoom out again. Let's move this all the way over to here, Snap off.

I'm switching Snap on and off as I go, and you'll develop your own habits. Let's pull the hair over, zoom in a little bit. Okay, that's pretty good. And I'm trying to do this with a single vector, that will make the shape tweening a little bit easier. So this is a case of making a compromise with the original pencil drawing. I think it's well worth it, because this will make the tweening of the shape just so much easier than if I was to put like a little bump or a shape in there to match that contour.

Let's Snap Objects on and line up the jaw with the skull. Now the jaw clearly is going to change level somewhere around here, and I'm going to use Free Transform and click on that, just to push it into a slightly smaller area. And again, go in and using Snap, I'm going to line that up. It's good. And again, padlock as you go. At this point there is no mouth, it shouldn't be visible at all.

So for the moment let's just delete that, and the same with the eye. None of these are going to be visible on this one, and I think nothing is going to be visible of the right eye either, apart from the brow, so we'll keep that, move it over with the arrow keys. Now I'm going to use Free Transform again to try to get it into some semblance of shape, using V on the keyboard to select the Selection tool so that I can pull the points.

Padlock all of these. Now the hair on the top, which will be moving to a lower level very soon so that it can appear behind the forehead here. Let's switch Snap off, I need to be able to position this very carefully. Zoom in a little bit. That's pretty good! There's nothing to do here.

The ear right now, this is going to have to be in this position. Now you can see something that's immediately apparent in that the actual shape of the ear should be different, and we have a basic ear that was done in a different viewpoint and we should like to be able to turn it and in dimension. Now we can do this, but not right now. At this point in the process all I want to do is to get the actual spatial position of the ear correct. Later on we'll go back and we'll add this line art that will make the ear look much better in this position. Padlock that, and finally we'll do the nose.

I'm just starting to loop around the side of the head. I'm just going to push in a little bit further back than we actually can see in the drawing. Okay, and now the moment of truth, and that's when we assign all of our classic motion tweens, and we have issues here. We'll deal with these as we go along. As you can see, anytime you see dots that means we're missing a keyframe or something is wrong on the other end. Let's look at it in color, and we have several issues that are now hitting us full square.

We have the fact that some of the shape tweening is behaving weirdly. Instead of being subsumed by the entire thing, let's just switch off all of our layers and we know that the jaw is going to be a problem. We have the neck first, let's look at the neck. The neck is being very good, so we'll padlock that, and the skull is very important as well. And the skull is doing something between here and here. So let's lock down the skull, because it really is very difficult to get anything working if the skull itself is distracting us.

So don't forget to backup your file before you proceed, because you don't want to lose anything should we have a crash. So we're going to add another Shape Hint here, make a space, hit Enter, and now we have our red flag to remind us. Ctrl+Shift+H to apply a Shape Hint. And I'm going to apply two, maybe we can get away with just two of them here, A and B. Nope. So let's try B here. That's better. There's a slight little wiggle, I can see it happening here where it's not totally clean, so I'm going to add a C Hint there to tie it down, just to be picky. That's working.

So now we have the jaw. Let's put them in Outline, and the skull, both working pretty well. And the other big one that was causing the problem was the jaw level, so let's go into that and see what he's doing. Actually, the jaw seems to be tweening fine. The problem with the jaw was a layer issue, so let's look at this in layer. As we turn from here to here, the jaw should really be behind the neck. So let's find the point where that happens. And I think the best place for that will be right before here, at the very end.

So I think we need to make an extra keyframe right about here and then drop the jaw onto this lower jaw level down here. At which point we go back to the top and hit F7 to blank that out. Now we right-click and go Remove Tween, and let's activate the bottom layer, and let's see what this looks like. So some things are happening. It's really not moving as smoothly as I like, and I think the solution will be to fix the actual shape itself.

So let's reverse that. I'm going to push the jaw back up and thin it out, because don't forget, we're meant to be moving around the head. Switch off everything for a second and let's look at the position of the ear. So the jaw should be moving from this point here, so I made a mistake in terms of the position of the jaw line. Let's move it to about there, and make sure it lines up with the skull. It's very easy to fall out of place. Be sure we have Snap to Objects on for this. Okay, I'll make sure it tweens. It does.

Nice! Repeat that process. I'm going to put a keyframe here, drop the jaw onto the lower level and hit F7, right-click and just remove that tween, and let's look at that. Let's see it in color. There we go. Nice clean transition from here to there. Let's look at the rest. And I think we probably need to help the eye transition off the screen.

The left eye at this point right here can just cleanly disappear, so put an F7 in there. The right eyeball, which we see here, I think we need to give him another keyframe, so let's put them back here and go Remove Tween. And let's see if we can push it over with the arrow keys. Oops, just the eyelid, the pupil, and the ball. And use the Free Transform tool to skew them really, really tight.

This is exactly what we did with the left eye on the previous keyframe. Gets very, very tricky to really get the handles working when you get this thin with it. So there we go. And then they'll disappear here. And finally, we're almost there, the hair on the top seemed to be moving fine, but he also should really go to a lower level. So let's copy him to this layer here, hair top, holding the Alt+Option key.

Let's make a keyframe here, and then delete the upper level, and that way we move hair from this level, then he transfers down to this one. And then we have the right ear, the neck; you can see it's not quite matching to the ear, so let's go in and fix that. See it in Outline. Let's padlock this, go to the neck, and just pull it behind the ear like that, and let's hope that he still tweens. I think he does.

And the last element was the nose, and obviously the nose very, very soon should go to a lower level, probably immediately after this one. So let's make another keyframe right there for the nose. Let's select these two frames, drag them down to the bottom, and don't forget to put a blank keyframe in here. Switch off tweening just to keep things clean. And there you have the transition from the C to the D. Now we need to make a little fix to the mouth.

Let's just blank the mouth out at this point, and let's switch off the reference images, and there we go. So it's from here to there. There are a couple of spots that we need to polish a little bit at the upper edge of the hair there, but fundamentally this is pretty sound. And as you can see we've been thinking as we went. The first pass we simply got the thing tweening. Don't worry about the layers. Once you get the layers tweening correctly, then you can worry about splitting one thing off from another and trying to figure out what goes where.

I've already done some of the thinking in terms of trying to figure out, okay, what elements here are going to have to move? When I do this from scratch, believe me, it's a dynamic process and I'll be changing my mind as I go along, but trying to keep the overall number of layers to the absolute minimum. The good news is now that you've got this layer hierarchy figured out, it's a lot easier to get into the next pose, the E, and the one after the F. So that will be what we do in the next movie.

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