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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 we've blocked in our walk cycle's contact poses, the most important poses in the walk. So now let's do the passing position. The passing position will flash out the walk, and start to tighten that up a lot. So in your Exercise Files folder, version 9 should be the last version we're working from. Let's double-click on the walk cycle and let's have a look at it, see where we are again. Okay, as you can see, not perfect by any means. But their contact positions have been tied down pretty well. So the next step is the passing pose. Now let's look at the passing pose again.
So the passing pose is the midway point between the contacts. You could do the recoil at first. The only problem within from contact to recoil is that it doesn't give you such fine control over oscillations or changes in the spine or the attitude of the walk. So the best way I think of doing that is by doing the passing position. That would be the way it was done in the Disney Studios in the good old days. Let's do that. So the automatic tweening that we've established is very crude. It hasn't given us too much to work with, but what it has given us is the horizontal travel of the character.
So we're going to use that information and set a keyframe. Then we will of course fine-tune all these positions and do the rest. Let's just extend our Timeline a little bit. I'm going to try and start playing with this. One thing I find that is very useful is to make sure when you're in your preferences, to absolutely make sure that you have Contact-sensitive Selection and Lasso tools deselected. This is going to make your selection of all objects much easier. So do not have a tick mark on there. Be sure you're set to Object-level Undo.
That means that your undos will happen contained inside the comp or the symbol that you are working inside. You don't need to be taken out of your comp into an external one or an internal one. That's what will happen by default. So those two things are critical before we go any further. So let's select the upper body on the passing position. Just drop a bounding box around that. You can even go a little bit over the legs. I like to do this to make sure that everything is properly selected. It doesn't always happen. I'm just going to put a little tilt.
There is this slight tilt on the passing pose. Nothing too crazy. But just a little bit more than the normal position. You'll see that it doesn't happen from here to here,and like he is completely vertical, but on the first part of the walk, I think we can push it a little bit more. Let's go in, select everything again, Free Transform. Let's bring down a little further. Now you can see there is a slight little dip on the walk. That will give him a lot more of a natural feel and then a bit less flashy. So that's that.
Now let's look at the feet. What should be happening here is this forward foot hits to the upper blue line. That heel should snap and plant down. So I'm going to hide this foot, because they're all getting obscured. So as you can see, it's not pivoting the way we would like it to do. The horizontal position. That's great. But the vertical position is wrong. That needs to be corrected. Let's go ahead and undo that first. Let's grab that key, click it down. We can go in.
I should be pretty picky about this. Go in fairly close. That heel point should align. Then I'm actually going to pull the all the corner down slightly, so that the front and the back are both on that axis. Let's take the look at our reference image, so we don't get lost inside the overall chaos of the frames and tweens. So the leg will working on this forward facing leg, which on the recoil position here snaps into the ground and stays there on the passing position. It begins to lift off the back of that on the high-point.
So that's this pose here. So it should actually be contacting the ground here. Let's just hold down Alt or Option, and copy that to the high-point. Now that'll give us a much nicer feel. If you look at that foot now bang! It's hitting the ground. It's staying there. It's not wiggling, or moving, or doing anything weird. That'll give us our access point that we can use to position the leg with. We can do something similar with the opposite foot. Now, have a look at that. This is where it is on the passing position. That should be lifting well off the ground. That's this guy here.
So let's rotate him. Get him into a position that's a little more natural. Let's hide that leg, and this leg too. That is getting in our way right now. Much better. So we're going from follow this foot. It's going from here to here to here. Maybe even higher on the high-point. We won't worry about that now. The other thing to worry about will be the position of the hands, the right-hand for example. I will just watch where it's going and where it's coming from, where it's going to.
It's here. Then on the passing position, that will be swinging down, somewhere around this direction, so see where it's been put. I think we can bring it in a bit lower. Let me drag up back a little bit. Let's hide that up around for a second. We can't see through the body, so let's put the body into outline. I'm going to hide that arm as well. We have a bit of surgery yet to do there. I'm going to pull the left arm down to the passing position. The left arm is also swinging on the big axis like thing, like a pendulum back and forth.
So there we go. So what I'm going to do now, I'm actually going to ignore the arms and legs for now. I really wanted to help you focus on looking at just the feet and the hands, because that'll help. You big challenge here, if you haven't done a walk before or haven't done it in Flash, is just getting over the visualization of where all the bits are and where they're going. So let's make the second passing position here. What I want to do is make a reference image that we can use as well. Because don't forget, the second passing position should be much like the first one, but just over here.
We titled the body, and did another bunch of stuff. So let's make a reference image. Copy all those, Ctrl+Shift+V. So we snap them into place and then take this reference image. Let's put it in outline mode and just drag it over until it's in the same horizontal position as our new key is going to be here, and padlock it. Then make a stock of keyframes. Hit F6. I'm going to hide that reference image again. A big bounding box once more, over the upper body.
Then just tilt it until it lines up with the earlier version. It doesn't have to be 100% exact, but near enough. Now I think we can actually get rid of that temporary guide layer. Once again, I'm going to hide the layers that needed further attention. That's the legs and the arms. I need to repeat our actions on the feet. Let's just follow it like one foot.
So the problem foot this time is the right foot. Actually, on that contact position I think it should be a bit lower. It should be on that lower line. Let's look at the whole thing again. Yes, indeed. It's actually a little too low on the alternate position. So let's pull that down, pull that one up. Glad we caught that now. Let's hide the other foot. It's kind of distracting. It's good to do one thing at a time. So here is our right foot. It smacks into the ground.
Now we should do the same thing. It should plant itself down on that lower line and stay there. So I'm going to drag this back to the recoil position and forward to the high-point, which we did. Remember, on the opposite foot at the same point. F6 for a new keyframe here, zoom out and see how that feels. [00:07:57.62 Great! Much better. So you see you found, as you're working in passing position, we're already getting the feel of the actual walk cycle even with just one key. We're actually missing the recoil and the high-point and we're already getting a nice walky feel to things.
So I'm going to hide the arms and the legs again. I want unhide the other foot level, because remember on the opposite passing position it would look like this, dragging forward. Let me show you again on the reference image. So the foot that we're going to be working on now is this guy here. So let's move him up. Free Transform and drag him. We've lot of freedom with the foot once it's off the ground. You can really go crazy with your position of it. But this is going to be a little more conservative. The further you push it, the harder it is to pose.
But it is possible to do crazy things with walks. So here we go. It's pretty standard, stable passing of feet and hands. So just one last double-check. We check the contact, contact, contact. Looks good. Passing position, passing position. The hands look pretty consistent, the position of the feet looks consistent, other than that they're reversed. If we reactivate the limbs, we can see they are perfect on the contact of course.
On the passing position, they need to be polished and tweaked. So I'll do that in the subsequent section. And we will correct all these little errors on the limbs. Then at that point, the walk will then have a few little gaps that will be fixed on the recoil and high-point. But it will start to feel a lot less disjointed and a lot more solid at that point. So let's move on and correct the arms and legs.
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