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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 fine-tune our contact position in the walk cycle. It's our previous file 07 in your Chapter 5 folder. So as you can see this is clearly a contact pose. It's looking lot like this. There are some things that we should probably fine tune before we go much further and that left arm is looking very grizzly because that was designed for the normal hanging down position. Don't mess with the pivot point. That's the master pivot point inside there, but let's move the shoulder up a little and see what that does. We can be pretty flexible at this point because we only have the one contact position that we are working on.
I am going to move this arm in back a little bit and we should probably put a little bit of bend in these legs. We have separate symbols. If you click on any of these symbols, you'll see the name in the Properties panel. This is our leg right, our walk symbol, and this is leg left walk. So we can do things in here that won't affect the other. That's very important. So in this leg left symbol, let's give it up a little bit of bend. Again if you look at the contact pose, the trailing leg is bending more than the front. The front leg can actually be pretty straight, if you like, but the back leg needs to have a little bit of a break in it. It gives us a nicer looking pose as well.
This foot will ultimately wrap to follow the ground. For now it's not the thing I would like you to worry about. Also realize too that the right arm or the leading arm should have more of a break on it. Realize too where we're coming from. This arm is swinging forward and so you would also expect to have a little bit of a drag on the hand. Let's do that. I wouldn't advise against being too concerned about fussing about these joins at this point. It will really make you just obsessed about things that I'm going to be changing many times anyway.
So this is the point where we would like to be more open and fluid about it. So also don't forget too, inside your arms, we have two layers. We have one for the upper arm and one for the wrist, which you can see here in purple. So we are going to be sliding this arm around and tweening things a lot and I think it will help us a lot too if we go in and symbolize this wrist. I am going to symbolize it, just a very quick one. This will be the arm right wrist and do a quick and dirty pivot fix, here we go, and now we can motion tween this thing, but we'll be shape tweening the arm.
Let's put that in Outline mode and you see there is more of a break on the arm there. So let's do that and hide the wrist for now. Let's look at the wrist again, and you might find that the wrist isn't long enough. Even at this point it's possible to go in and make your own wrist, or duplicate it or extend it a little bit. I wouldn't go too crazy with it. You might break something in another scene. If you're ever in doubt, make a duplicate and then you won't be affecting any of the preexisting symbols.
So let's fix the right arm now. Now that might be overkill for the walk, so maybe bring the arm down a little bit. We can overdo it and then pull it back in if we have to. Okay, let's try that. So it's not a bad contact position. I am going to hide the reference image now, so we can have more of a range. Now at this point I am going to duplicate the contact position. Let's go into our alternate workspace layout with a longer timeline and I like to see if I can have all of my layers visible.
So let's just duplicate it over here and this will be the first frame and the final frame should be the same and this contact frame here will be the same, but with limbs on the other side. So let's just keyframe that for now as a first pass. So now the next thing to do is to position these secondary contact positions where they should be physically on physical space. So the second, if we look our reference images that we brought in earlier, when you do a contact position, the second contact would be driven by the position of the leading foot. So the front foot on the first contact will be the same as the trailing foot on the second contact position.
So we'll see this very clearly now. Let's just copy all of our first pose, Ctrl+C and Ctrl+Shift+V, onto a reference layer and then what I am going to do is just drag this over, Shift+click on the numeric keypad, and so this is the left foot in purple. So now that we have this, let's go in a little closer and you can see that as this hip and this heel hit the ground, all we want him to do is to align with the purple one and I think we are not far enough over. Imagine the foot hitting the ground, pivoting around this point here.
I am going to do a temporary move, so you see what I mean. That foot should come down to there, smack into the ground, and then tilt up on this axis. That's the physical process that's going to drive the position. I am going to undo all that. So I think we are not too far away from that. Actually, I think we are very close, because we can see the heel of the foot is matching that position here at that overlapping. So I think that's excellent. So let's go with that. So the next step will be to use this purple guide layer. Let's padlock it.
We don't want this to move. We are going to the second keyframe now. This would be the alternate. We match our keys to that. Go in bit tighter. Let's make this fairly precise, using the arrow keys to get the position and there we go, and then we repeat this procedure for the second contact. There is couple of ways. We can just repeat the identical process or we can make a note of the amount of horizontal motion from the first contact position to the second contact position and just replicate that.
That's probably the more reliable mathematical way of doing it rather than eyeballing it. So let's just make a new layer, draw a line for the chin, second line, and just grab that and then match our chin position on the third contact pose to there. Now we can delete these two little temporary note layers, get rid of them. Let's go in and activate classic tweening.
Okay, now we have a slide. Nothing is moving. The reason being that the right leg hasn't moved into the correct position. So again, what I'm going to do is make a new reference layer, copy these, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+Alt+V, do that and then overlay an outline ,and what we are going to do is I am actually going to go back to the other workspace layout. I'd like to have a more vertical timeline for this one. I am going to take their left hand and move it into the position currently occupied by the right- hand and same with the legs.
It might seem a little confusing and if I find them getting a little overwhelmed by the number of layers, I just pull the whole thing apart. Okay, so now what I'm going to do is move this hand into the opposite hand position. It won't be exactly right of course because we have to do the bends and some of the internal work, but let's just get into its physical place. That's step one, to grab Shift+ click both of the arm layers. I just worry about matching the upper arm position for now.
So again, I am using Shift+click and using the Free Transform tools to get everything close. It doesn't have to be exact, but within 80%. Don't worry about the foot not being joined to the lower leg and worry more about getting the feet precisely positioned, because we can make really big changes to the internal leg symbols. I don't worry about the lower leg. We are going to be tweening them internally and doing some really nice stuff in there to make them work properly. So let's just get the upper parts of the legs in position and the same with the arms.
Just worry about the upper arm position. Don't worry about the lower arms. And this hand, it will break from the lower part. Don't worry about that. Let's go into Outline mode to make sure that we're lining up. There we go. The left arm, the blue, is a little bit out of place so let's just do that. This probably looks like junk, right now. But let's have a look and see what it's giving to us. So you can see already we are getting into a zone where it's starting to look like some kind of a walk is happening.
So the next step will be to correct the internal comps and then I think you'll start to get a much more concrete idea, once we start lining up the lower arms with the hands and the feet and the lower legs with the feet, we start to get some inkling of the mechanism that's going to make the walk a coherent animation. So we'll move onto that next. So let's delete this temporary layer. I am going to save this as and you'll find when you start getting into this level I recommend you save probably more than you think you need.
So we'll save this as 08 and we're ready to move on.
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