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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.
It's important to know how to take your existing mouth comp or rig and create your own shapes with it. So I'm going to show you a very quick example of how we can take the existing happy mouth and make it not a happy mouth. So let's open up file in your Exercisedolder, dialog_turn_03. This is the one we've just been working on. We added a dialog to it. (Audio recording: What's happening now? What's happening now?) So we did this by taking our existing rig and playing with that. So what we want to do is go back into our basic rig. This is our bd headturn scene with our audio.
So let's go back into our basic three quarters pose. This is the one that we've been working from the early part of the course and this also contains, if we turn into the mouth symbol, the original 6 mouth shapes that we've been using to create the dialog. So these are great because they give us six happy mouths. But what if you wanted shapes that were outside of this range, what if you wanted to make our guy sad or angry? Then you'd want a mouth that was turning down at the corner like this, rather than up.
So let's do that and I'll show you how it's not as time-consuming as you think. Now one thing we could do is we could duplicate this mouth symbol, have one mouth symbol that's happy and one that's sad. But I've come to do them all in the same one. I think it's great to have as many of these symbols in the same Timeline. It really makes working between them a lot easier. So let's select all of these shapes, hold down the Alt or Option key, and just drag it over here. Now we have two at the moment. We have two sets of happy shapes. So the first thing I'm going to do is make another label so we can see where one ends and the other begins. Make a new label, hit F7, and we want to put a label in here that says happy.
Now I'm going to want one here that says angry or sad and again I'm just going to make this one an outline white layer and I'm going to call it emotions. So let's start working on converting our first set. So let's take these dupes and change them into angry or sad mouths. So step one, simply delete the in- between, the secondary keys, and that's the B and the C and we are going to get rid of the E. Clear that.
First thing first is make the change to the A mouth and we've got to hide the secondary shapes. So pick out the ones that are the most important, the drivers, and that will be the upper lip, the lower lip, and the month crease. So let's grab the mouth crease. If you have a Cintiq or a Wacom tablet then you might consider doing a quick sketch. I don't so I'm just going to make a little imaginary one, something like this. That will be actually enough just to give you a crude idea. So you are working from something.
So let's grab that crease layer and use the numeric arrow keys. We'll pull it down and then let's grab the corner of-- we will hide the lower lip for the moment. I am just going to grab the corner of the upper lip and just pull it down to match this. Then, as you'd padlock that, we can go to the little sketch now. Let's have a look with the other lip layer. Snap should be on for this, because we want this points to snap.
Taking care as you move these lines that they don't wrap over themselves like this. For example what's happing here, you see how the two points have crossed and then these kind of ugly shapes happen. That can make things unstable. So I usually pull them carefully, little steps at a time. Sometimes I pull them into shapes like this so that I can keep them nice and separated. It's great and now the corner here. Let's zoom in a bit. I can see that didn't quite snapped the way I wanted. There we go.
It's curved out lip a little bit so it's got enough room. That's great. So that's our aim of angry. Currently, tweening out back into the happy mouth. Let's that's bring the wide open mouth down at the corner to match the A mouth. Now the other thing you might want to do is make a temporary reference of the A mouth out so you can position your other layer accordingly. So I'm just going to do this, switch it Outline, make it purple. So that's where we are coming from.
So it gives me something that I can compare it to. So I want to pick that corner. Let's make sure Snap is off for this. So we are going to pull the mouth from this start positions down to somewhere about here. Okay let's lock that and let's hide the reference for a minute. Then the question becomes what should the relative motion be between the A mouth and the D mouth. So I think in this case the upper lip should definitely move up some, just like it did on the happy.
We can reuse the upper position of the happy D mouth. Now let's pull the corner of the lower lip down, the blue layer, to match. Oh! That's sensitive, very sensitive. Luckily you only have to do this once. Okay, it's good and the same thing for the ooh mouth here. I'm just going to pull the corner down, lock that, and then just pull these two points down here and these two points down there.
It's very frustrating. Let's pull this into here, okay. We have to check the tween shapes. They seem stable. Now we can play with these. Definitely sort out your designs of these mouths now before we go into the secondary part of this. Let's make it a slightly better shape on the open mouth here. Don't forget that to be pretty similar to the -- in some respects anyway -- to the open.
Just facing a different direction, so maybe we can pull this forward slightly and again scrub through. Make sure it all works, okay. So now that we've got this and you notice too these shapes will almost certainly in between with any of our happy mouths. Although the most important thing is that they in-between, motion and shape tween between themselves. I'm pretty confident they'll also work with any of these six happy shapes.
So let's save this right now. We have our three keys safely stable and outlined and in the next section we'll go on and we'll make sure that the internal shapes match as well. That won't take too long and very quickly create the B, the C and the E mouths.
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