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The animation tools have been greatly enhanced in Flash CS4, and Todd Perkins teaches their advanced capabilities in Flash CS4 Professional Tools for Character Animation. He shows how to master the new Motion Tween model and the Motion Editor to control easing and effects such as Squash and Stretch. He demonstrates how to use the new 3D tools to add rotation, perspective shadows, and layered animations. Complex interactive animations and walk cycles are created without a line of code using bone systems. Todd also demonstrates the power of advanced masking, sound effect syncing, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
Now we will look at animating the legs in a walk cycle. If you are following along, go ahead and open up Animating_ Walk_Cycle.fla from the Chapter 6 folder. If you don't have the Exercise Files, you are going to need several movie clips to be able to accomplish what we are going to do here. What I am going to do first is test the movie to show what we are starting with. We basically have a walk cycle that's all put together except for the legs. So I will close the Preview window and then we will animate the legs. So first thing I will do is double click the monster to enter its Timeline and then in the monster's Timeline, I'm going to start animating the legs by double clicking one of his legs. Well on inside of the leg graphics symbol, I'm going to create a bone system.
Now it's important to know that this is already broken up into several different movie clips. So we have the top part of the leg, the bottom part of the leg and the foot. So let's create that bone system. I will select the Bone tool and click and drag from the top of the leg down to by the knee area. Then I will click and drag from there to the foot. Now I have my basic bone system. I can throw away the leg layer because there is nothing on it. So remember the poses that we are going for are Contact, Recoil, Passing and then High Point. So this is basically the Contact phase, so we can leave that there. I am going to go to frame 7. Then I am going to define the Recoil phase. So I am going to click and drag and move the legs so that I will click there about to recoil to take another step. That looks good! So I will move to frame 13 and then I will define the Passing phase.
So I am going to start up by moving the top leg. So I am going to click and drag holding Command on my keyboard or Ctrl on the PC, that top leg to move it forward a little bit. Then I will do the same thing for the bottom part of the leg and the foot. Once everything is in place, then I will define the Passing pose. So I am going to swing the leg down just a little bit and swing the knee up a little bit and that looks good.
Last we will define the High Point. So I am going to go to frame 20 and then I am going to click and drag the top leg to move it just a little bit to the right. I am going to move all the other pieces of the leg accordingly. Then I will click and drag that top leg up to the High Point. So what I want is kind of a bent knee and the foot sticking straight out, kind of like that. So there is our animation, swings up like that. So it starts out, it does the Recoil and then swings forward Passing and hits the High Point. Now the rest of the animation is stomping back down and then sliding back. So I am going to go to frame 24 and I am going to take the leg and then put it down.
This is going to be on the ground here. So I'll need to just modify it like that. Then I will go to frame 29, swing the leg back a little bit. I will move it using the Command key. I will move the other legs accordingly, sliding it back. Then I will slide it back one more time at frame 35. I am just moving the legs a little bit using the Ctrl key or the Command key on the Mac. I am just going to rotate that foot a little bit, then the knee just a little bit. That looks good! Then for the last pose what I want to do is copy the first pose just so we have a good solid loop. So I am going to go to frame 1. I am going to right-click or Ctrl-click that keyframe on frame 1.
Now you will have to make sure that all other frames are deselected in order for this to work. So once you do that, select Copy Pose, go to the last frame, right-click or Ctrl-click and then choose Paste Pose. Now I will go back to the monster movie clip and you will see that I have two graphic symbols. So one starting out at frame 1. Now if I select the back leg, starting out at frame 20. That looks a little bit awkward to me, so I am going to move it with my keyboard until there is no white space in between the legs. That looks good! So I will test the movie to preview the animation.
There is our walking monster. So you can use bones to create walk cycles and if you want to use the same movie clip for the front and the back leg, you can treat it as a graphic symbol and have it started about halfway through the animation. Also, remember that you can copy and paste Armature poses by right-clicking or Ctrl-clicking the keyframes in the Timeline.
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