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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.
Moving on from the previous chapter where we did a lot of work on the mouth, and where we created all these dialog actions and custom mouth shapes, now it's time to turn to face and to see how we can adjust the face to match those mouths so that they all work together in synchronicity. So I've done a little a bit of housecleaning in the library just to clean things up, because as the project grows, you have to, obviously, keep on top of your symbols and how they're named and so forth. So what I have done, I took the mouth symbol, which is previously called mouth, and renamed with space mt A. The reason why I put a space in at the beginning is so that all of these symbols go on top of the folders where I store all the reference images and all the secondary symbols. And I put the head symbols at the top, as well as the mouth symbols, because I regard the mouth symbols as almost as important as the head, and I don't want them getting lost inside the hd Folder. If I was doing a body, I would call it bd, and I'd put the body bits in there. So here are the other symbols for the different parts of the head, the nose, teeth, et cetera, and the mouth.
I call it mt A because A of course is the front view, the portrait view. And I've taken the hd 1 turnaround symbol. I duplicated it, so we right-clicked and duplicated, and created the hd 2 Facial acting scene, and this is the scene in which the symbol in which we will create all of the facial work. So lets double-click on that. And what I've done is I went inside the mouth symbol, took the emotions label level, copied those frames, and then pasted those frames inside the hd 2 Facial acting scene. And if you scrub along, you'll see that here we have labels that will help us time and synchronized the mouth with these.
So that's pretty much where we are. On top of that, if you scroll down to the bottom--let's collapse the head folder for a second and hide that. And at the very bottom level, I've put some reference images, and what we have--let me zoom out, so you can see all of these pretty much in full. We have the jubilant face, the furious face. As you can see, I've pushed the expression on the eyebrows so you can see a good strong contrast from one to the other. So okay, let's open up the head folder . And as you can see, too, we kind of having to scroll up and down at lot, and I really don't like doing that, so let's adjust our workspace back to the, I think the Vertical will work much better than this. And I am going to move it forward just a little bit and try to squeeze these so that we get as much real estate as we can. And we're going to be working almost entirely within--well, entirely within this area here. You can see beneath the head as I scrub through, the reference images are flickering through. So let's click on the mouth and get that mouth in the Properties panel to play once. And you can see that the timing matches one to one. You'll see it more clearly if I hide all the layers except the mouth, and if we see the reference beneath.
Okay, so the next step is to set up keyframes on the head level, so select these and hit F6. And pretty much not everything, but most of these layers are going to be animating, in particular the eyebrows, the nose, and let's look at the face by itself again, or the reference I mean. So the jaw certainly will be moving; the mouth will be moving, or motion tweening; the nose would be moving; but maybe lot of these won't, so let's just go through one at a time. We need the jaw. Let's make that, I believe he is a Shape Tween, the mouth, the Motion Tween, Classic Tween that is. You will see the eyeball will Shape Tween. The pupil will Motion Tween. The eyelid will Classic Tween. When I say Motion Tween I mean Classic Motion Tween, which comes up as Create Classic Tween. The brow will Shape Tween, and whether or not it Shapes or Motions, if its a symbol, it will Motion Tween. If it's a shape, it will Shape Tween. And you can tell by something click on it. If you can see a blue outline, it's a Motion Tween. And I think the nose as well, the nose will also, so let's set that up. Okay, so once again, lets switch things off and let's work with just the things that we need to work with. So the first thing, well the big one, I guess, the jaw. And you might find out that the outline color is a little washed out.
So let's change it. You're not stuck with what I've got here. Let's use a slightly darker one, and we will try to get the jaw as close as we can to that shape, so I am going to use the Free Transform tool rather than just pushing and pulling points from it from the get-go. There is also a Distortion tool. Let's see if it will allow us to use that. So I'm clicking Distort in the toolbar. As you can see, I'm changing the actual shape, not just scaling or skewing. And again, go back. And I'm seeing some artifacts here, so it's possible that some rogue points have been added. I believe they have. There, and let's compare it to the first one. We should only have five points and somewhere along the line we've been given extra ones. So let's get rid of them. Let's hide the reference layer for now and let's put to snap it back on. Usually you can get rid of this by doing this. So I'm going to use Selection tool again. It's also possible to delete these by doing this, but the problem I found with doing that is sometimes it can cause issues. I am going to try it now and see if it works. We are still having a problem here. So what I will do to get this to work is copy that and paste it into an empty keyframe directly above the original. And I am going to do what I kind of tried to avoid during the first time around, and I'm just simply going to directly pull the points. Sometimes one method will work; sometimes another method will work, so in this case I'm going to give up on one and try another. So let's take that keyframe and drag it down, right-click, and reselect Shape Tween, and let's see if this works, and this one does. Again, this is like using any approach that will work. There isn't going to be one that works for you all the time, but there's a sufficient number of different methods and workarounds that I think you can probably do many, many things you can think could be impossible. So let's select the reference layer back on and look at the mouth. And the beauty of the mouth, because it's nested as a symbol, you could really push this. You could you rotate it and move it into all kinds of wonderful positions. But right now we'll keep it where it is. And we have the--let's see. Let's do the brows; they're kind of fun. So I will activate the left brow and the right brow. Let's grab them and move them close to where they want to be. And again, let's pull the points without kind of crossing over the lines and messing everything up. Let's switch the Snap to Objects off for finer control here. And again, once you make a few changes, be sure to do a test. Well, this is where I like to activate the tweens before I begin to work, because I can actually test the health of the tweening process as I'm working. If you were ever a traditional animator, this is more like flipping paper than computer animation. Okay, that's, the eyebrows are nice. Let's do--anytime, too, I tie something down that like, I padlock it, and it's a nice way of seeing your progress as well: done, done and done. The next thing will be I think the nose. Let's look at an outline and compare.
Maybe we can push it up just a little bit, padlock that, and I think the lower lip down here. Well, that's inside the mouth symbol; I don't need to worry about that. So the next thing would be the eyes. And we have three layers that constitute the right eye for example. Now for this, I like to just switch off the pupil. And it's very important, I can't stress enough, that you move the invisible eyelid which contains the eye blink and the ball together. Don't let them drift apart, because they are designed to work as a pair. If I double-click it to go inside the eye blink, we have this guy. Let's go back out again.
We got lost here, easy to do. Let's go back into the library, double-click on the facial acting symbol. So like I was saying--and let's just look forward to the point that we were at--we want these two to go together. So if you have padlocked everything around them, you can just simply select them with a vertical click, and you know that all you have got to worry about now are those two. So when you adjust these, when you play with these, then any operation that you perform on it has to happen equally to both; otherwise, the eye blinks will slide out and you will see areas of white above and below the eyelid level. And you really, really don't want to have that happen. So by doing it like this, the eye blink is distorted to match perfectly with the eyeball area. And the pupil is a separate thing. Don't operate on that because you want to keep that nice and round; just move it by itself. Once done, lock them. Now repeat the identical process for the right.
Again I also like to do this in outline. And if you draw a bounding box to select them, just be sure that everything else is padlocked. If you have another layer that's not padlocked, you can often accidentally select the background skin color. And probably safest way to select these will be just by a little vertical line on the timeline. And here, just be sure that you're matching the other eye. It doesn't have to be identical of course--faces are not property symmetrical--but you would like the blink to at least at the start height. That's not too bad. We've got the pupil, and just drag the pupil by itself into place, and now let's look at the whole thing in full color. We can probably switch off the padlocks.
And there we have a nice little wow expression . The eye blinks are then built-in so if you want to see what they're going to look like, just double-click on them. If you feel that with all the skewing that the blink has become a little too, two sloped to this direction--that looks a little bit unnatural--then obviously we can duplicate this and change it to pull it down. We won't do that at the moment, but an eye blink symbol can be duplicated and modified as needed. And because you have one for the left eye and one for the right eye, later on, as we do turns and three-quarter views, it will be very easy to manipulate each one separately. Okay, so that's the first expression taken care of, and with that, let's just move out again. Make sure that he jaw is working, everything is working. With that, we can proceed to the next one, and I'll show you how we can test the tweening to make sure that we can remain consistent between more than one transition from the happy mouth to the jubilant mouth.
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