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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 it's time to take our hand and correct the three-quarters hand that we created and turn it into the profile hand. So let's open our file, character_rig_03. That's where we left this thing off. So let's just move out a bit first and let's delete the body profile and we'll hide everything except the reference image and the hand image. So, let's fine-tune this a little bit, because as we were throwing down the symbols when we were rigging the body, things were a little loose. So, what I want to do is just firm it up a little.
This is going to be our pivot point that the hand's going to move around. So let's just make sure that we have our three-quarters hand in the same position, and let's have a look at the right arm and I want to make that a little more precise as well. So this area of the wrist should align with this little crosshair. So, using the Free Transform tool we'll rotate the hand, and as you can see the upper arm now isn't quite matching. Let's look at this thing and color this thing. So it's a little off. So let's correct that. Here's something to remember from the previous. You may have forgotten.
When we created the profile symbols, we did so by adding a second frame. So the first frame that you're looking at now, that's the three-quarter hand position, and frame two on the comp or the internal arm symbol, that's the profile position. You can check this in the Properties panel under the Looping Options. So we have our arm set to Single Frame and we're looking at frame 2 of the arm symbol. So, if you double-click on that, you'll default to frame 1. So be sure you're on the right frame, you're on frame 2, and if you do your work in here you'll start creating problems.
So, the thing to do now would be just to fine-tune. Now we've rotated the outer symbol, so I'd like to be a little picky about this and make our arm match as close as we can. That's pretty sharp. So, let's go back out and I want to look at this in color again. We've made some changes to the cuff and that's already affected. That's opened up a possible problem area here. So let's move the cuff down slightly, and we have our wrists on the lower layer. So one thing I want to do with that is just pull it up a little bit. Give ourselves a bit of a safe area.
Now, we've also got a little piece of gap opening here, but again this is the three-quarters hand. But nevertheless, it might be a good idea to maybe round out the wrist a little better. Let me move the hand up slightly and again this isn't the hand that'll work with this particular frame. So, I think we can tunnel into the hand and we're going to create an empty second frame, and we're going to make new hand layers that look like this, on top of this reference area.
So let's make some layers. We could do it all on one layer, but I'm going to be a little more advanced with this one and create different layers for the finger. So we can then, later on, we can animate these fingers. So, I think we need about five layers for this. I'm going to work on them directly over the original hand layer for now. So we'll need a layer over the palm. That's this area. Let's hide the green. So we'll need the palm area and four for the fingers. So the top layer will be this, the pinky, that little finger. Label the fingers with thumb, finger one, two and three.
It's easier to call them by numbers I think. I'm going to call the pinky finger 3, the middle finger will be finger 2, and the index finger is finger 1. Then beneath them will be the palm. I call it the palm rather than the hand, or I can call it the body of the hand, but palm is I think the least confusing. And then thumb. The other thing we can probably do is correct some of these color outlines. Just pick some nice colors from the top line of the new color palette.
Something reasonably dark and strong that'll stand out from the white background. As long as they're all different then you'll be able to see at a glance that you're working on different layers. These are good. So, at this point, I'd like to work in Outline mode and the other thing to do, since we're working like this, let's just make sure that we use the Eyedropper tool and select the skin color and that'll activate in the color area. That way as we begin to create the shapes, we'll be working the right color.
It'll save us a step. So let's select the Rectangle tool, and let's begin in the palm area. Of course, don't forget too that the Rectangle tool creates a line. So I'm going to Ctrl+X and get rid of that. So, let's move this into position, snap on, so that we snap to this point and then back off again. We can hide that, the green layer. That's a little, the nice arc, okay.
Okay, that's the palm area done. Let's do the thumb. Again, I'm going to use the Rectangle tool for this and double-click on that line, get rid of it. Great! So we padlock them as we do them. Finger one, we'll start working on the lower one, work our way oup. Again Snap on because I want to snap to this point, back off again. Get rid of that line again. Just double-click around the line area, and Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V, and just take the duplicate finger and just again match it to the lower one. Oops! We lost a point there. Bring that back.
Keep hitting Undo if that happens. I've said before Flash likes to combine your points and that's the kind of crazy stuff that can happen as a result. Again we'll copy that and paste into the final layer and again I want this to snap to this point. So put Snap to Objects on, then back off again. I'm going to Free Transform this one to scale it in a bit, and now start pulling the points in again. We have a little bit of an overlap here for the middle finger is going to be seen on top of the small one. Don't forget.
It's all on layers. So, we would like the layers to be correctly structured, so that one won't be visible on top of the other. Great! So now, if you look at this in Color mode, you see the immediate problem. All the fingers are the same color. So they all blend into one homogenous area. So, in the next section, what we're going to do is add some little highlights and shadow areas, so that we can differentiate these different forms. Then we'll symbolize and pivot the different fingers so that you can motion tween them and create some animations on the fingers to make lots of different hand shapes.
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