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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 let's finish off our profile rig and at that point we will be able to move on and animate the walk. So they character_rig_profile_2 open that. Here we go. We have got the body and profile. Let's finish the thing and do the head. So let's double-click on bd profile and just as we made a duplicate of our three-quarter rig to create our profile, we will do the same thing with the head. So let's click on the head in the bd profile symbol and duplicate it and we're going to call head profile.
So let's activate the reference image beneath. I'm going to hide all the body layers make it easier to see and let's double-click on the head and start working on it. So let's begin. There's a big layer at the top. We don't need that purple thing. It's empty. Get rid of it. So the hair upper layer is a good one to start. Let's zoom in tight. And go into Outline mode and usually working around the pivot is good. So Shift and numeric arrows so we can click that over to here and I'm going just go directly in and do the rest of the work by just pushing the points.
So let's make second keyframe, hit F6, grab the point to the hair, pull it over to match. And just yank the other points over, until you get a fresh forelock for the character. Great! So same as ever. We need to reset the Properties panel to Single Frame, frame number 2, so that we call the right symbol. So let's move down the stack. We will padlock that icon.
We're on the earmark this one. Should be simple enough. Shift and numeric click over and then Free Transform. You'll find we're using the same small set of tools over and over again, which makes this easier to pick up and learn. It's not like 3-D where you have to learn dozens of different elements. So I'm going to do the same thing with this hair. I'm going to make a second keyframe, F6, and pull this points to match the original. This hair is going to go beaneath the ear levels so I want to give it the room.
So maybe draw through a bit, match that point closely to there. I think on this one, because the profile, the layer structure's slightly different, I think we can actually create draw right through. I think this will work. If you can remember on three quarters view this part of the hair had to go in a completely different layer outside the head because it was beneath the neck but in this case it's above the neck. So we don't have to worry about that. We can actually keep it inside here.
So let's do the same thing as ever. I will make it number two, make it Single Frame because we don't want the timeline looping through. So let's move that to outline and we will keep going. So the beauty of this again you notice these points, which are connecting to one another, we don't have to change them. So I'm going to go to outline here and change this hair to match the one beneath and see if we can get this to roughly line up with the line of the skull.
Because you can imagine what's going to happen when you begin animating and this hair flaps up. We want to be able to see hair beneath it. So you have to try to think ahead of the range of motion of the different symbols and comps are going to be. Lock that. I don't think we need this one anymore. We would need it in three quarters view, but really it's on the wrong side of the head right now so I'm just going to delete that. I want to leave that level there, even though it's empty, and you make it easier if we have the same number of levels on the profile and three-quarters view, if we want to try to tween between one of the other, which we maybe want to do.
So let's do the right eye. Move that over. Again we want to be pretty close for this. Always be very careful when you're working with the eye. Okay. So I want to duplicate this eye because that's the three quarters one. I'm going to make one specially for this profile and I want to use the Free Transform tool to get as close as we can and go in, and the pupil is the one that's really standing out as looking not quite right, so let's do that and see what that looks like.
When we go back out, that's better. We might even give it a fresh pupil there with the black layer and the white and blue all on different layers. We can easily do that too. So but for now I think it looks pretty good. The nose, again I'm just moving things horizontally. I am not doing anything too drastic. That's great, the eyebrow. Now here is the thing. The eyebrow in theory we should really just not have been able to see much, but I think it's important that there should be some little hint.
So I'm going to carve this and just move it there, just so we see the slightest little outline, just a hint, that we would not in a pure three quarters view, which can look very flat. It's a big danger with an absolute flat-on three-quarters view, so it's sometime just a slightest hint that we are already-- The head is just tilted towards us by a couple of degrees. And now the far eye, I don't see anyway that we can elegantly incorporate this eye without it looking weird, like a tiny while slice.
But what I'm going to do is leave it on the rig here and that will guide it out. So it'll be there if it's ever needed. If we have to rotate this head towards us, it's nice to have the symbol there on its right layer. So let's right-click on the eye layer and go Guide. Let's guide it out. So you won't see, it wont export, but its there and it's accessible, like I said. If we ever want to rotate the head to the screen left, you have access to it. You won't be hunting it down in the library, which is a really dismal thing to have to do.
So let's get the jaw, fix this, and as you can see the jawline really should be going up to the ear, so let's try to make this as close to anatomically accurate as we can, okay. Now the one thing that you're really going to notice is that the profile mouth is a different animal completely from the recorders mouth, so we're probably going have to make a new one of those things. So let's make sure the skull level is lined up with the jaw. That looks good. A slight tweak here on the upper level of the skull.
Now you can see me flying through this. Feel free please to take your time. I mean I have done hundreds of these, but the basic principles are pretty simple. Once you get into the habit you start throwing the stuff around like it's confetti. We do one and the principles are applicable to most of the things you will work on. So now I just take the mouth and the three-quarters mouth is, you see, it's not going to work here. So what I'm going to do to rig a mouth on this is a totally different architecture and really it's a little bit beyond the scope. It would involve cutting a hole in the jaw area here and it's an angle that you really don't actually talk from very much to be honest. Most of the dialogue will come from the three-quarter front position even, but if you did, you are into more or less do the same process that you did in the three-quarters mouth, which you have curve a hole through here and paint this out and shape between the entire jaw area.
It still uses the same principles that we have already applied, but it's something for another day and another course. So for now, instead of doing that, I'm going to simply take this mouth and just create a static mouth that will look just like this, but it won't have this area and this lip floating around in free space. So let's select the Rectangle tool. I'm going to pull it over the area that I want to cover, and add a curve there, Alt/Option to pull this in here. That's the quickest way to make this particular shape inside the mark beneath and I see all the colors as well. Let's paint that. Great.
Double click on the line, Ctrl+X to delete it. Nice. There we go. So let's pick the old mouth, Ctrl+X, get rid of that, pick the new one, drag-and-drop it in, delete the temporary layer, and there we go. He looks friendly. So let's see if the rest of the body looks fine. The one thing that jumps out? The old tuft of hair that I mentioned earlier. We don't need that any more.
I still leave the layer in. It's not be taking up much space. I think we can probably loose the guide layer now. The only thing we might need for later will be this hand. I'm going to leave it for now, but I might remove it later. I'm not 100% sure on that here. We can walk with this hand. I would like to show about some point how to customize these hands. That's a separate lesson. I would like to be able to split these fingers off and move them separately. That would be the nice. It's a subtle detail. But for now we are more than capable of getting on with this rig here.
So we'll save this, call it number 3, and we are done. Next we'll move on to fine-tuning the hands detail and then the walk.
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