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Rigging a Face in Flash Professional
Illustration by John Hersey

Creating the mouth


From:

Rigging a Face in Flash Professional

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Creating the mouth

In this section we're going to do the mouth, just a first, initial pass for the mouth to set it up with its own layers for future detailed animation. But for the moment there is one little thing I want to fix. When I initially laid in the layers in the previous chapter I put the right ear and the left ear up at the top. They're better off if they go down here. And if you think about it, they are going to need these layers later on, because right now at the right ear, for example, if you imagine the character looking a little further over this way, then that ear, definitely it's going to be behind all of these guys.
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  1. 14m 16s
    1. Introduction
      42s
    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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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
Subjects:
3D + Animation Character Animation
Software:
Flash Professional
Author:
Dermot O' Connor

Creating the mouth

In this section we're going to do the mouth, just a first, initial pass for the mouth to set it up with its own layers for future detailed animation. But for the moment there is one little thing I want to fix. When I initially laid in the layers in the previous chapter I put the right ear and the left ear up at the top. They're better off if they go down here. And if you think about it, they are going to need these layers later on, because right now at the right ear, for example, if you imagine the character looking a little further over this way, then that ear, definitely it's going to be behind all of these guys.

And as the head turns around later on when we begin animating and we begin moving the head over here, then that ear is going to be on top. So that's why I made these two different layers. Let me just undo all that damage for a second. So it's very easy when you begin doing this to get a little bit lost with, like of what layer should this go on? Basically as you go, on whenever initially it looks the best. But don't forget, later on, you have the complete freedom to move these things around. In the course of making this, I've experimented with many different layer combinations before I found the one that did the most with the least effort.

And so that's why what you're seeing right now is the result of quite a bit of experimentation. When you do this yourself, don't be off-put if you find yourself spending maybe an hour or two moving layers up and down to find what works absolutely the best. So let's go on and drop in the mouth. So I'm going to switch to Outline, and the mouth looks pretty simple. It's just closed mouth. So let's go to the mouth layer. I am going to zoom in. And let's just make a line at the moment for the mouth. Let's switch from Outline to Solid.

Okay, select that simple little line, hit F8, be sure the Registration is I think that's probably a safe enough place to put it, and we'll call this mouth. Click OK. Now to do the further line work for the mouth we'll do that inside this mouth symbols. Double-click on that. So we have our placeholder mouth symbols created, so now let's separate it out onto some layers because we want this ultimately to be able to talk and act and make all kinds of expressions, so obviously one level isn't going to be enough to do that.

So let's just carve out, let's see, maybe about 10 or 11 levels, something like this. So I'm just going to name these. The top two I'm going to reserve for Labels. They won't actually have anything on them but notes, so you can keep track of everything. Beneath need, that the upper lip, we'll call it lip upper, and below that the lower lip, which we'll call lip lower. I name them like this so that you see what they are and then where they are. This is a much more logical way, I find, to stack things and to name them in the library.

Next, we'll have a mask, because the mouth is going to have teeth and a tongue and any other inner shapes you think you might need, and these won't obviously be able to fit inside the shape that we're going to be carving out, so we need to mask them. So inside that, we're going to have the teeth upper level and the teeth lower, then the tongue. I made that the inner mouth, mouth inner. That will be like the back of the throat or the mouth color.

And then beneath that, the lip, and by lip I mean a little shaded area here that we'll add just to give some definition. So the final thing to do will be to--before we'd actually line these, just let's pop some colors in. And again for label levels I'd like to color them white. It kind of just flags them as something that you don't draw anything into, apart from making notes on. The upper lip, we'll make that dark green, the lower lip, dark blue.

The masks I sometimes like to keep white, or some other strangely bright color. The upper teeth, we'll make them medium green, the lower teeth medium blue. The tongue will be red. Let's make a really bright red. And the mouth inner, like the back of the throat area, we'll make that this subtle red color. And then the lip, let's make that like the medium blue.

So this line here ultimately we're going to just use as a basic reference. So let's start drawing the upper lip going a little tighter. Now obviously, it's not going to be a single line, because we want it to be able to do more subtle things than this. And we'll make it a rectangle as the inner shape and keep snap on so we can match these corners. Now snap off so we can hold down the Alt+Opt key. Oops, and I sense that we have Snap to Grid on, so make sure Snap to Grid is off; otherwise, we will be snapping to invisible grid lines. And I'm just to pull this in.

Let's go even tighter if we have to. Don't forget that this shape that we're creating right now, this is going to animate later on. So keep it simple, as few points as we can absolutely get away with. That'll help the shape tweening to do its work without getting too confused. Shape Tweening is a very cool tool, but it also has its limitations, and it doesn't like to be overloaded. So now we have our upper lip shape, and I'm just going to pull these to make sure that--see, here we lost one of them.

I don't like that. This is going to be very, very hard to manipulate. So let's have a look at where that point was before it got blended in. So I'm kind of got you saw that, because this is a kind of problem that emerges constantly. I need now to re-create that point, so I find that the easiest way to do that is to delete the area that was in trouble and I just rejoin. I am going to hit Snap back on and now back off, and now if you zoom out, we're good.

We've got control here. We've got control there. That's just ideal. And let's color that area in. We'll color it as we go. For now, I'm just going to make it black on the inside. One little thing to note: be sure that Don't Close Gaps is selected, because the last thing you want to have happen is to have Close Large Gaps, Medium, or Small, selected and then when you paint you miss a bit. That will cause horrendous problems. So by having the Fill tool selected to Don't Close Gaps, that means they will absolutely fill to perfection, even if there's a small space up there.

So now when you go in, you see what a nice shape that is. That's one point to control the edge of the mouth. And very easy to do the lip lower, it's going to be identical to the upper lip. And the mask as well, for the close mouth, there is no reason why it should be any bigger. And the inner mouth, the same. This is for the only framework this happens. So let's color the inner mouth, and I am going to color it this color, the intermediate red.

It doesn't matter what the mask color is. It's a mask. It's going to be invisible. The next thing to do is to add some teeth. We are not even going to see these teeth at this point because obviously they'll be hidden behind the closed mouth, but let's put them in so that we have them. And this should be white, so I'm just going to select white for that. And let's put the teeth approximately where we think they should go.

The upper teeth don't do a lot of moving, but the lowers do, so the position of the upper teeth will probably be something like this. We'll do the same thing for the lower. Padlock the upper ones if you have them in a situation that you like. You can add more detail to these later on. For now I'd just like to make them a very basic shape. I also like to symbolize them now as well. So at this point I am going to get rid of this black line.

They're still there of course, so let's just click on that. The line is gone, the color is still there. Hit F8, and let's pivot them from the top. We'll call this teeth upper (upr), click OK. Again, Flash for some reason puts the pivot in the middle. We don't want that. So let's select the Free Transform tool. I am going to Snap to Objects and put that pivot exactly where we need it. We'll do the same thing for the bottom. Let's get rid of that black line, delete that, select the teeth color area, hit F8, and this time we'll put the pivot point on the bottom, call this one teeth lower, and Free Transform, put the point down here, and that's done.

The last thing we need to do is add the tongue. So I want to see how the tongue is going to sit in relation to roughly the rest of the mouth. So I'm just going to outline them and padlock it, open up the tongue layer, and let's just make it a very simple shape with the Oval tool. And let's fill that with another red color, maybe this brighter red. Let's go to that outline. We'll switch off Snap to Objects so we can move it freely.

That's probably an okay place. You can add more detail to this later on, like little highlight layer, but for now this is fine. I think we can pivot it from the top or the middle. Something that's spherical as this, you have some flexibility. I am just going to put up in the middle, and we'll call that tongue. Now let's have a look at what we have here. Oh, the mask layer should be right-clicked, make it a mask, and then we drag our other layers in underneath that. And we also have a lip layer, which doesn't need this anymore.

But we do want to add just a little hint of flesh right there. Snap on, and let's make that, for the moment, just this light gray. We'll change these later when we see it in context with the rest of the face. So that's our mouth. I would just for the moment open it out a little bit to here because we're going to be adding more frames in at this point.

Let's go back out, look at the entire head now. There is one more piece of housekeeping to be aware of, and let's do this right at the beginning. Be sure that with any of the symbols that you create, they're set to be a graphic and that their behavior is consistently set. At the moment, under Looping, we don't want these to loop ever. Play Once or Single Frame, for the moment Single Frame is better. So just click on any symbol that you've got and make it single-frame, and Graphic.

And if you are in doubt, just draw a box around it. There's only four of them, so we have them taken care of. And that's it. That's the current pass complete. In the next phase we'll go on and start dealing with the eyes, and then we'll start bringing this guy to life.

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