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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.
One last thing remains before we can really sign off on this head clock rig, and that is the leveling problem with the ears. It's not really a problem, it's just a puzzle that we left for the last. It's the kind of thing that you really want to leave to the end I find, because it does mess up these beautiful smooth layers. So what I'm going to do is hide the left ear, and just focus on the right here, and let's unpadlock both ear levels. And I'm just going to select the ear frames, and hold down the Alt+Option key, and drag them to the top.
So now we have two identical ear levels, so now it's always on top. Well, we know that the ear probably shouldn't be on certain frames, and you can see a little bit of a slight problem I'm noticing. It might be hard for you to see on your screen, but the darker neck color is slicing in here. It's a good spot too where we can double-click on the ear symbol, go in, and just pull the color down a bit more; not too far, just curve it just a little bit like that, and that solves that little problem rather than having to reposition everything.
Keep going! Okay, here is the problem. This frame has no business being there. So let's just click on that, and grab it, and that identifies the exact frame. Let's Ctrl+X or Delete to get rid of that. Go to the next one, hit Delete, the next one, hit Delete, and just keep going. Every time you see weirdness, just delete it, and then we're back to here. And that's it! So the second step of this process is very straightforward. Let's go to the lower ear level, and delete the ones that are not needed.
So these are the ones that we need, meaning, we don't need this. Let's get rid of that, hit Delete. Now you don't need to have two ears. If you have two identical levels and you decide to move one, you'll see the other one beneath it. It will drive you crazy. So let's not do that. And then here, you'll have a duplicate of this, so these two should always look the same. If you make one adjustment to the top layer, it should be modeled on the bottom one, but it only happens for this one frame. Think of this like a relay race where this level does the race up to this point, and then it hands off the symbol to this layer, and then it keeps going down here.
And as you can see, we have the top layer here, so we don't need any ear symbol on this level. So delete that, and here is the handoff again. So let's just put it, F7 there, and now we test that in color and see if it works. Really nice! So there are some subtleties that we might want to add as the ear twists around and zips behind the head, possibly we might want to change the geometry a little bit. So what if you wanted to show it sliding around? Well, don't forget, you have to do the very same thing down here.
So to do that, rather than redo the same thing down here, you might not get it to match. Let's just select this symbol, hold down the Alt+Option key, and drag it to there, and then they do match. And that might soften that transition somewhat. There we go! It's pretty neat. It's a much softer turn now. So all these little tricks are things that you can do to trick the eye, and now we do the same thing, padlock the right ear, and we'll do the same thing with the left.
So I'm going to select the ear left level, hold down the Alt+Option key and just duplicate that at the top, and the process would be identical, but obviously with a different layering order as the head turns. So let's go into the up position, and at this point, definitely we don't need an ear there, or here. So something weird happens there--oh yes, because this ear needs to be not held, so we get a blank frame there as it pops off.
That's looking pretty good. And again, the same thing here, we might want to press this ear left, begins to move around the side of the head. It might be a good idea to--let's go into Outline. Let's squish the symbol a little bit so we feel like it's exactly turning, and you probably have to turn that quite a bit. Let's do this. And obviously, for the rest of these, it's completely hidden behind the head. Even though you can see it, if you are picky about this then you might want to just keep them flattened a bit.
So when that begins to appear around the other side, we have that same nice squish on the ear. Okay, let's look at these again, in color. That's beautiful! So again, we have the ear right which is an exact opposite of the upper ear right level and then the ear--the ear left has one last thing to do that some of these symbols aren't needed. We have duplicates here of course. So let's get rid of these. We don't need this one, because again, were you to move the upper ear left for any reason, you would see the other one beneath it.
It can be very annoying, so get rid of that, and we'll need this one here to carry on from here. So we see the ear on the top level from here to here, then it pops off. And right now what I'm doing is looking at this level, and my eye is jumping down to this level, and then I'm comparing them from one to the other. I think we probably have unnecessary frames somewhere here, say we have a duplicate ear level. So let's again, go back down to the ear left, put a blank keyframe there where the handoff happens, and delete all the duplicates.
If you're in doubt, grab the upper ear level very quickly, and bring it down, and then you can see what's happening. You can see the layer change and you have ears all the way through. Let's undo that. So we put it back to its normal place. Do the same thing with the ear right level, and you can see the same thing. Quite elegant; move that back. And you notice how I made a little indent that helps us to identify little four empty spaces, identify the fact that these levels down here are responsible for shifting a level like as in the ear and the hair.
Let's go up to the ear right and add them in here too; one, two, three, four; one, two, three, four. It will really help you when you're scanning back and forth, and you're going from this level to that level. It makes it slightly easier for your eye to follow that jump. So you can might even want a different indent pattern for the hair, maybe two, two less. These are the kind of little mental tricks that I use when I'm trying to make this timeline a little more user-friendly, a little easier for my brain to follow, because yes, it is obviously a lot of work for your mind to do when you are shuffling between all these different things and stacks, that it becomes like a huge blob of text.
So these techniques I find they work really well for me. You may have your own or different ones, but by all means, feel free to experiment, and concoct ones that work for you. So I think we are now ready to sign off on the clock rig; one last pass through with the whole thing to make sure there is nothing else that needs to be fixed. Now you notice too that there's some slight little imperfections, to put it mildly, and there's a lot of things that you can fix in here, but when we begin to animate with this later on, you'll find that the system is actually really, really forgiving. And what you're seeing right now is not a performance that you would ever do in an animated scene. You would have a much broader range of motion, and that will be more apparent in the later chapter.
So with that, we're ready to move on to the next chapter where we'll do an actual turnaround with the character.
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