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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.
So now it's onto one of the most important of the clock positions, and that's the 3 o'clock, or basically it's just the normal three-quarter speaking position, which you will use a lot of. You'll probably use the 3 o'clock position or the B position from the turnaround much more than any of the others, so let's get working on that. And the best way to start will be to take our regular A pose and Alt+Option+drag it to the 3 o'clock position. It's not that difficult from the A pose into the B. That's why I like to start rigging from the A pose; all of our start positions begin here and basically work from here.
If you were to begin in the B pose, it would be much harder to work back into the A pose, I find. So let's switch off everything for a moment and have a look at where we're going. So this is where we want to be. We'll just basically unhide and padlock every layer, again, that needs no work; all the empty ones, and let's go to the skull, put it into Outline and start using Free Transform to tease the skull into the space that we need it to be.
I think you need a bit more head up there, so let's move that up. We don't want to see hair, okay, let's move that. And next, I think that this time the jaw will be a good one to do, because it's going to have to line up very carefully with that. So we'll select the tool, Snap to Objects, and drag that to here. And notice now that because we're beginning to rotate the shape, the jaw line which at the moment connects to the ear here, we'll now have to do so here.
We're dealing with a three-dimensional mass even though the actual artwork itself is flat and two-dimensional. So I use the Free Transform tool to skew that into there and let's realign the jaw with the head. And then let's see if we can coax the rest of this into place. You'll notice this time I'm not worrying about tweening quite so much, because for this section I think it's inevitable that we have to use Shape Hints, so I expect any errors in shape tweening to be dealt with through Shape Hints, so we'll just deal with them as they come along later on.
So let's Padlock anything that we're happy with. I think the right ear would be good to look at now, and I suspect here's our first layer issue, because in the A pose the ear is beneath the jaw; it's beneath everything pretty much, whereas here it's clearly on top. It's on top of the neck, it's on top of that hair; it's on top of the skull, for example. So this is a point where we have to change layers.
So as you can see, I've already constructed an upper level for the ear, so I'm going to copy that, actually I'll Alt+Option+drag, and from this point on there will be no reason to have the ear on that level. In fact, it will probably need to be moved off earlier, but for now we'll just do that. And this is the one part of this process that you might find confusing, but you will get used to it pretty quickly. It's just unavoidable that there's going to be points in the head turn where an object like an ear or part of the hair will simply change levels.
It comes with the territory of doing any kind of dynamic animation in Flash. And the other thing to watch out for is that the ear is getting bigger as it moves towards us. So let's use Free Transform and scale it. But this is the point to do it. Do it right here, because that way when we do apply in betweens later on, the scaling will be taken care of by the computer for the most part, rather than us having to eyeball each time. And notice also that the left ear by this point is gone. It's invisible. It's behind the head, so I think we could probably dispense with the left ear. We'll worry about the precise drop-off point later, and I think let's padlock everything that we have worked on.
And next will be the nose. That was easy. Padlock that. I'm just going to outline everything that's done as well, and I can see that flagged something for me here. There were two ears of course on the upper level and the lower level. So what I'm going to do is get rid of the lower ear. I don't think we need that either. Let's just get rid of that.
Don't expect the first pass to be the absolute first pass of perfection. It's not going to be. This is a dynamic process where you are thinking almost out loud. Even though I've already done this course myself a couple of times in the course of making this, every time you do it, you still have to think everything through. Is this going to be on top? Is this going to be on the bottom? If you're used to working with layers like in Photoshop, this will be more familiar to you. If you haven't worked in layers before, if you've only worked in 3D, for example, you might find this a little bit of a jolt. My only advice is to stick with it and you'll get used to it, your brain will adapt.
I won't lie and say you'll ever be comfortable with it, but it is the nature of the program, and even with a simple animation, this is going to occur. So I've just moved to hair top layer over, that was a simple transition, and now we have the eyes, and again, let's just move them in bulk. We'll fine-tune them later. I'm just going to drop them down. Obviously they should be slightly in perspective, but I just want to get them in place first. I'll do the mouth.
Same there, that should also be tilted a little bit. And hair left, this will be interesting. Now as you can see, as the head turns, the hair really drastically changes shape. So let's go into Outline so we can really see this. I'm just going to pull it to match that, and let's see if we can nudge that hairline over a little bit too, so that it follows the imaginary centerline down the forehead.
I think that will be a crisper way of doing this. Okay, lock that, and then we'll do the left side, and the left side is also doing one of these terrifying changes of layer. So that's just the first time--we'll just worry about getting the shape and we'll worry about the layers later. Let's put Snap to Objects on. Now it's off, because once we get these two points connected, we're good. I think something like that will be very usable.
And you might even be able to keep it on this layer up to this point here. I like to keep the layers on until the last possible moment and then change them. Let's go in really close and get this totally nailed, and you'll notice too I put Snap on, and now it's off again. I like to keep these points precisely connected as we can get away with. That's that, and there, and the neck. The neck needs a little bit of adjustment on this one, so let's pull that down, pull this in, just matching that very nice reference image.
Okay, so let's color it and see what it looks like. Getting there. So there's our sketch. There is the color. It's looking really close. Like I said earlier, let's fine-tune the eyes. The eyes are so important. So padlock everything except the eyes, and let's put everything in Outline, and you can see where the blue eye is drifting a little bit, so let's fix that. So again, I'm going to padlock all of these except the ball and the lid.
Always remember that the eyeball and the eyelid should travel together. Done. And now we'll do the pupil, move that. And at this point, the pupil itself can begin to skew a little bit. It's going slightly in perspective. Okay, padlock that. Now we'll do the same thing to the right eye. The right eye doesn't need so much of this treatment because it's closer to us, so let's select the eyeball and the eyelid, and the pupil definitely needs to be moved over a little.
And we're talking about very subtle--you don't really need to do anything too major here, but that's pretty good. And then the big one of course is the left or the blue brow. I think we might just make a slight tweak to that. Okay, and the mouth as well might need a little bit, because it's starting to rotate away from us. And if you hold down the Alt+Option key, you can drag from one end, that also helps.
And you might be even slightly rotate or scale--I don't like to rotate too much because sometimes that can create jaggy motion when you tween, but skewing is I think a little bit safer. Okay, so now when we toggle between this and the reference, we are good. And the beauty of this is that it's very easy to tween the A and the 3 or the B. It will be smooth. Well, we're not doing that just yet, because we're still in the process of creating the entire clock system, but now we'll go on and make the exact mirror image of the 3 o'clock, which is the 9 o'clock.
Because it's an exact mirror image, there's a couple of different little tricks that we can use to get that really done precisely. So we'll do that in the next movie.
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