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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.
Let's continue and move on to doing the walk cycle. Now, we go to the Exercise Files, Chapter 5, walk across screen folder, and inside here we have our character_rig_profile_01 file. Let's open that and here we go. So, one issue that we need to deal with is the fact that we're working in three-quarters and we really should be working in profile. Profiles will be much better for beginning our first walk cycle. What I'm going to do is create a profile rig that we can work from. So let's go select our bd file. I'm going to duplicate i, and I'm going to call it profile.
So let's go into that and there we go. I'm going to make a new layer for our familiar reference image that we used in the previous rigging chapter. So, this should look strangely familiar. So let's make our upper layer outline and line up the three-quarters view with our character. That's good, right alined. So, what we're going to do is change this into this and I think you'll be surprised by how quickly this procedure can go.
I mentioned earlier that the best way to rig a character is to do it in an ideal world with lots of time. You don't always have time. Do it in the front view and then you can twist and deform these front view assets into your three-quarters in profile. It's also easy to go from three- quarters directly into profile view. So let's do that and we'll see how it works. So, I'm going to break apart, Ctrl+B, break apart the reference layer and then delete all the crude and get rid of that, and all the little bits. So that's getting close, here we go.
So, padlock the reference layer and hide everything. We're going to go through this bit by bit. So let's start with the right foot. So, we'll go in tight and let's just move it into position. Let's pick the heel and the ankle joint as our constant positions. Now let's double-click. You can tell obviously it's not quite matching that layout. So, let's go into outline mode. I'm going to make a second keyframe here, hit F6, and let's hit the Free Transform button.
Down here at the bottom, you'll see the Distort widget and click that and this allows us to go crazy. So, let's distort the foot and just try to line up the front of the toe to that, and do as much as you can within this and then let go. So, I'm going to change the outline color to something a bit darker, because it's hard to see. So let's go to dark green and let's start pulling. I've been harping on about keeping the geometry clean and simple and here is why. It's because it's much easier to do this kind of transformation when you only have the smallest number of points making up your symbol. So, there we go.
That's one of the realities of Flash, that as you work and especially you notice as we used the Distort tool, it actually did generate some extra points. So, you may end up later on there's one or two there, and there's an extra one here that we don't need. But that's possible to ignore this for now, but later on if you feel that you need to clean this up, you can certainly take this as reference and redraw it. But for now, this is more than enough. So, we go back to the main layer. The reason why you're still seeing the wrong foot is because the Properties panel is telling that you are number 1.
So let's go and tell it no, you're frame number 2, and set this to Single Frame, so it doesn't loop back and forth. Unfortunately, Flash seems to like, as a default, setting everything to Loop and I wish it didn't. It will be much nicer if it just give us the option of a default. So, here is the blue foot and the same process here, make it Single Frame, frame 2, and that's now our profile foot. That's that part on. Let's reactivate the right foot and let's look at the right leg.
Okay, and now Shift and the numeric arrow keys just to move it around in big chunks, Free Transform, hitting Q on the keyboard to skew the leg into position, and we'll repeat the process with the Left leg. We'll see how quick we were already moving through this thing. The torso, I'm working from foot to up. They're already working and could vary from model to model and whatever psuits you as being the quickest and most efficient.
It's nice being able to reuse the same symbols because it makes tweening between one angle and another much easier when you get into more advanced scenes. Let's do the torso, torso upper. So we get it as close as we can. This, obviously it's too thick at the top, so we're going to have to modify this one as well. Double-click on that. We'll make a second keyframe here. Let's go into outline and just pull that in. Don't forget, Single Frame in the Properties panel. You're now frame number 2, and lock it.
The reason why I like to go through this methodically and lock things, I can tell at a glance from the other side of the room, okay half of them done. So that gives you a good idea about your progress and how much is actually left. So, here is the arm. Now, a couple of ways we can handle this. We can keep the arm in this vertical position and shift the entire frame 2 into this position, or we can try to rotate it, but there's pros and cons of each. In this case, let's just see if we can get there by keeping the motion tweening more responsible for it than the shape tweening.
So, obviously there is still a little defect here. So, click in. Make a second frame. Don't forget Layer 2 down there is our wrist area. So, just lock that, don't mess with that. And then, just reposition the arm layer and again, the default random color that Flash gave us is kind of nasty. So, let's make it dark green. That's much nicer. Great! So, again, you find that's the same thing over and over. At least it's consistent.
Let's see the arm right hand, and this is going to be separate. So that we'll have to worry about later. So, hand redraw, I'm going to cover that in a separate lesson, because I want to show you how to make the hand a series of separate layers for the fingers and the thumbs and that'll allow you to do some very cool things. So, you've got that for now and the neck with the torso, this is a simple one. Bit of scaling perhaps, and a slight skew. Good! The left arm, the hand should go together.
Let's Shift+click and select both of them and we'll just bring them inside, maybe rotate them a little bit, kind of just hide them as best we can behind the body. Okay, you got for now, padlock it again, and the lower level for the hair. We'll just stick that there for now. So let's look at this in color. This is kind of the acid test, looking at the stuff in color. Mistakes will pop out. So, as you can see, the layer hierarchy of the profile, these are a little different from the three-quarters.
We've got the hand on the wrong layer now. So, simple enough. Let's grab the left hand and drag that down to the bottom, and the left arm, arm left, that should go just above it. Let's hide that layer for a second, the reference layer, and you can see that we're having a hard time telling the difference between that right leg and the left leg and the foot. So, I'm going to select those two layers, and in the Properties panel, make their Brightness lower, maybe 9%, 10%; Not much. Just enough to give this a bit of a color definition.
And I think that pretty much covers the rigging of the body in the profile position. If you see the head, clearly the head's in the three-quarters. So, we can now proceed to, in the next section, I'm going to go into the head layer, and you can see-- also do notice how the three-quarters head looks beautifully over the profile body and vice versa. So you want these symbols to be interchangeable. That'll really really help you when you start doing more advanced acting scenes and such.
Let's save this and we'll move on and we'll do the head in the next one.
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