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Exploring underlying structure in character rigging

From: Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

Video: Exploring underlying structure in character rigging

Before we begin, let's look at the character that we're going to create during this chapter. Here we have him in the Library. Let's drag him onto the stage so we can have a better look at the guy. Now, I'm going to show you how this puppet, this rig works. Let's double-click on the rig, have a look inside, and as you can see, we have multiple layers from the hair, legs, arms, torso, and so on. This is called a comp or a composite, meaning it's a symbol that contains many different layers and secondary symbols, and these can be changed and repositioned so that we can make this character do any number of actions.

Exploring underlying structure in character rigging

Before we begin, let's look at the character that we're going to create during this chapter. Here we have him in the Library. Let's drag him onto the stage so we can have a better look at the guy. Now, I'm going to show you how this puppet, this rig works. Let's double-click on the rig, have a look inside, and as you can see, we have multiple layers from the hair, legs, arms, torso, and so on. This is called a comp or a composite, meaning it's a symbol that contains many different layers and secondary symbols, and these can be changed and repositioned so that we can make this character do any number of actions.

So, I'm going to switch into outline mode, so we can have a look at the layers and you can see how they overlap one another. I've color-coded the layers, so we have green for the right side, blue for the left. This makes things a little more simple when you're selecting things in Outline mode. Each layer has to be named correctly. So we have arm right, head, hd. I use short, very snappy naming conventions, torso nck or torso neck, torso itself, the leg right, the leg right foot, which will be this symbol here.

In addition, everything has to be pivoted as well. So, for example, let's take the right arm and as you can see, our cross circle pivot is here. So, if we want to rotate this symbol, it'll pivot correctly around that object. I'm going to undo, Ctrl+Z. Next, I'm going to tunnel into the head. This is also a comp. Double-click on that. As you can see, we're already in outline mode. At this point, you'll notice that there are many many layers, and it gets quite compact. Very hard to see exactly what's going on.

So, what I'm going to do is switch our layout, and we have a second layout called lynda_character_animation_2, and this provides us with a vertical Timeline, and we can reposition our head to here. In fact, we can close our Library panel. We want to zoom in on the head and now we can take a closer look at the head. So, if we look at the head in full mode, we can play through this comp and I've created some pre-existing animations that occur in here, and these are also nested comps.

Let's look at them one at a time. So, if we tunnel into the mouth comp, double-click on that, you can see we have quite a timeline in here. We have six individual mouth shapes and these are all animated. The beauty of this system, and we'll cover this in a later chapter, is these can be played in any sequence we like, and this is the Flash equivalent of blend shapes in 3-D program such as Maya or a 3D Studio MAX. Now, let's move outside of the mouth. I'm going to look inside the eye symbol. One of the things we need to do a lot of with character animation is eye blinks.

Again, they can be quite tedious. So it's nice if we have them already done and in this case we have a shape-tweened eye blink. And again, the beauty of the system is we can make this fast or slow depending on the needs of the scene itself. So now it's a much quicker eye blink. Ctrl+Z, undo, fix that. Again, in Outline mode, if we look at the character, the same color conventions, green for the right side, blue for the left. So I can see at a glance, for example, that this ear is the right side, his anatomical right ear, and now on the opposite side of his head, you'll find that this technique will come in very useful as we begin moving these many-many layers around.

So, let's move back outside to the main body comp and the process of animating with this method, I like to think of it as like a Russian doll. The outer comp, the body symbol, the bd symbol in the Library, that's the outer doll, and inside this symbol exist the head, the mouth, the eye blinks, and the other body parts. So, when we animate this character, you have to think of multiple timelines. We're going to have one timeline for the body. Inside that will be a head.

That will also have its own animated timeline. inside that, the mouth comp will have its own timeline. One will work inside the other, inside the other. It sounds complicated, but it's surprisingly easy to get used to and once you've adapted to it, I don't think you'll go back to pushing symbols around frame by frame by hand. So, the next thing we're going to do, now that we've explain what this thing is going to be, we're going to convert our hand-drawn pencil sketch into a vectorized symbol, much like the thing you're looking at now.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation
Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

83 video lessons · 21833 viewers

Dermot O' Connor
Author

 
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  1. 3m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
    3. Prerequisites
      1m 37s
  2. 34m 58s
    1. Creating Flash-friendly character design
      4m 57s
    2. Animation rendering: SWF or AVI
      2m 24s
    3. Understanding line tool drawbacks when animating
      7m 7s
    4. Using uniform project scales in Flash
      3m 40s
    5. Finding helpful extensions for Flash
      2m 46s
    6. Using commands and keyboard shortcuts
      9m 53s
    7. Setting up your workspaces
      4m 11s
  3. 1h 35m
    1. Understanding character rigging
      2m 0s
    2. Exploring underlying structure in character rigging
      4m 27s
    3. Vectorizing the character body
      6m 22s
    4. Outlining colors in an animated character
      6m 15s
    5. Vectorizing the hands
      6m 43s
    6. Vectorizing the head
      4m 47s
    7. Outlining the head
      8m 20s
    8. Adding finishing touches with hair
      2m 11s
    9. Colorizing the character head
      7m 28s
    10. Colorizing the body
      5m 33s
    11. Applying gradients
      6m 18s
    12. Symbolizing and pivoting the body parts
      10m 47s
    13. Pivoting the head
      4m 42s
    14. Rigging the mouth
      10m 49s
    15. Rigging the eye
      8m 33s
  4. 52m 22s
    1. Tween types: Shape vs. motion
      5m 41s
    2. Combining motion and shape tweening
      4m 31s
    3. Animating an eye blink using shape tweening
      10m 2s
    4. Rigging a mouth in Flash for dialogue and expressions
      5m 30s
    5. Creating a D mouth
      12m 29s
    6. Creating an F mouth
      6m 58s
    7. Getting the polished look
      7m 11s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Overview of the head turn
      2m 13s
    2. Preparing the rig
      8m 15s
    3. Posing the rig
      7m 17s
    4. Animating the head movement
      11m 5s
    5. Animating the body movement
      12m 9s
    6. Animating the head turn
      11m 28s
    7. Adding finesse to the head turn
      9m 34s
  6. 2h 44m
    1. Introducing the walk
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a profile view
      8m 30s
    3. Creating the head in profile
      10m 10s
    4. Creating the hand
      6m 57s
    5. Creating hand symbols
      8m 32s
    6. Reviewing the walk
      3m 6s
    7. Prepping the walk
      8m 33s
    8. Setting up the contact poses
      6m 45s
    9. Creating secondary contact poses
      9m 38s
    10. Finishing up the contact poses
      6m 48s
    11. Creating the passing poses
      9m 39s
    12. Finishing the passing pose
      5m 56s
    13. Animating the recoil position
      10m 9s
    14. Animating the high point of the walk
      9m 24s
    15. Adding in-betweens
      8m 31s
    16. Rigging the shoes
      8m 27s
    17. Animating the shoes
      11m 58s
    18. Animating the character's head movements
      8m 29s
    19. Fine-tuning the animation
      9m 0s
    20. Nesting the hand symbols
      8m 39s
    21. Repositioning the walk
      4m 11s
  7. 1h 32m
    1. Introducing the walk in place
      1m 30s
    2. Setting up contact poses
      10m 4s
    3. Creating the passing poses
      7m 14s
    4. Creating the recoil positions
      8m 11s
    5. Animating the head's high point
      4m 9s
    6. Tweening the legs
      5m 11s
    7. Tweening the arms
      10m 27s
    8. Setting the placement of the foot
      9m 9s
    9. Animating the shoes
      7m 52s
    10. Animating the hair
      6m 9s
    11. Creating secondary hand actions
      8m 48s
    12. Animating the torso
      6m 27s
    13. Repositioning the walk
      7m 17s
  8. 54m 9s
    1. Understanding dialogue
      49s
    2. Using the A-F system of six set mouth shapes
      4m 23s
    3. Animating dialogue using the mouth rig
      14m 30s
    4. Integrating the dialogue with the head turn
      5m 35s
    5. Animating the jaw
      6m 59s
    6. Creating an angry dialogue mouth
      7m 43s
    7. Finishing the angry dialogue mouth
      6m 38s
    8. Integrating acting techniques
      1m 51s
    9. Tips on facial expressions
      5m 41s
  9. 36s
    1. Goodbye
      36s

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