Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation
Illustration by Petra Stefankova

Getting the polished look


From:

Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Getting the polished look

Okay, so let's finish the mouth, some last little finishing touches. So that's in charcter_rig_ 05 in your Projects folder. Let's double-click on head, double-click on mouth, and let's have a look at how we finish it. And if we've done everything else stably and all these shapes are clean and if Flash likes this, then we can create the in-between frames by simply hitting F6. So I like to, instead of picking things just here, I would like to be a little more subtle with it. So for example, between the D mouth and the F mouth, we have a series of shapes that are increasingly pursed.
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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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Watch the Online Video Course Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation
9h 19m Intermediate Nov 17, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Rendering in SWF or AVI
  • Creating vectors for the the character body
  • Coloring the body
  • Rigging a mouth in Flash
  • Posing the rig
  • Animating head and body movement
  • Creating hands
  • Understanding facial expressions
  • Making the contact poses
  • Creating passing poses
  • Animating in-betweens
Subjects:
3D + Animation Web
Software:
Flash Professional
Author:
Dermot O' Connor

Getting the polished look

Okay, so let's finish the mouth, some last little finishing touches. So that's in charcter_rig_ 05 in your Projects folder. Let's double-click on head, double-click on mouth, and let's have a look at how we finish it. And if we've done everything else stably and all these shapes are clean and if Flash likes this, then we can create the in-between frames by simply hitting F6. So I like to, instead of picking things just here, I would like to be a little more subtle with it. So for example, between the D mouth and the F mouth, we have a series of shapes that are increasingly pursed.

I like to take this one as the key for the E mouth just to give us a little more texture in our shapes. So I select these frames and hit F6, and then pull them until they are under the E, and that becomes our E shape. You don't have to do this. You can go right in the middle if you prefer. Now the critical thing to do is to test these shapes, and you know that they're good, that they are stable, if the rest of the animation in betweens properly. If it doesn't, it means something somewhere is annoying Flash, and you are not going to have much luck. So if that does happen to you, I would advise trying again. You've made a mistake on one of the shapes, most likely the F or the D mouth.

There could be an extra point. You may have to reposition some things slightly. In extreme cases, I've just redone them. Now, the reason why it's worth this kind of aggravation is because once you get the six shapes correct and stable and locked, you can do anything with them. You can play them on any number of sequences. So let's just continue this process and what I want to do is get the C mouth, I would like to be halfway open between the A and the D. So I am just going to pick something in here, and then just pull them over. I like the B mouth to really be a little bit closed.

So it's more like, imagine, you are smiling with your teeth clenched. It would look something more like that and that will be great for little E sounds. So, the C, so the E element on that word. So let's do that. We can pick any of these. In fact, if you want, you can finer things, you can use just go in and you can pick a lot of very fine gradations for your B mouth if you want to even be sweeter on it. So let's pick this one, F6 for that, pull that in, and then just delete these tweens.

Let's play that slowly and make sure everything is stable. There's no lines flickering. There's no colors appearing where they shouldn't appear. This looks great. You could add more details if you want. You could add a black for the back of the throat. You could add lines in the teeth. But for now, we have a limited amount of time for this but I am just giving an idea about what's possible with this method. We could play it a couple of times, looks great. So that's it. We've done it. There are no shape hints. This is all working smoothly. I think one reason why this is so stable is because maybe I am being suspicious or superstitious, I don't know, but Flash seems to like certain amounts of numbers more than others.

I've tried of doing these shapes with eight points and more, and it just doesn't like them. Six is the smallest number of points I think we can get away with. Eight becomes a little less stable and you end up having to use, or I have anyway, having to use shape hints. You do not want to use shape hints for this, unless you're doing a custom mouth shape. So this is six points for the lower shape, six points for the upper shape, and if you look at the inner mouth, I think that is also six points. Click on that. Yup. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. It's hexagon.

So Flash like hexagons. They seem to be more stable shape tweening objects. So let me show you the cool stuff about this. Let's say I was going to do a dialogue scene or a scene with some mouth movements. Well, first thing I would do, I wouldn't mess with this symbol because this is not my final symbol. I'll make a new one. Call it mouth test. Always keep the original. Don't mess with that. So now, we can basically select these. Hold down the Alt/Option key. Copy them.

Actually, let's switch on. I am going to switch on tweening for everything. So let's say you want to go from the B mouth, and notice I am copying the labels as well so I can see which mouth I'm working in. I am just grabbing these at random and pulling them in and dropping them anywhere. This is also a part of the testing process. It's a great way of making sure that everything is working nicely. No two combinations are going to take a dislike to one another. Lo and behold, each other shape blends into each other shape.

If you wanted to, you could even make another set of A-F mouth shapes that are angry. Just take the corner of the mouth, pull it down, press till you have a little angry A-F library which can also blend into any of these. If you feel constricted by only having these six shapes, well, consider the fact these six shapes are your core. If somebody comes up with a unique line of dialogue that needs something more extreme, you can take any of these shapes, duplicate it, and push it even further than this. You can do some remarkable shapes and you can snap into custom mouths. You are not limited to these six, but these six are a very good safety net and you will always have these to build up the bulk of a dialogue-heavy project.

I would like to say that they're completely open to customization. Something rough and ready here, but let's say if I wanted to pull this, I don't know if this will work or not, but it's worth trying. Yeah! That seems to work. Let's padlock it. It's a very solid system. There is no guarantee that when you do this tutorial, you will get this working the first time, you may have to do it more than once, but you'll have this Flash file in your folder and you will be able to play around with it and see how it works and hopefully duplicate it.

If you feel this visual style might be inhibiting, let me get rid of this. I will make a quick and dirty example of how you can have maybe a slightly more stylized version, for example. Because not all projects will be as realistic as this one. You could construct an animated mouth from-- let's give this more volume. That can be your, for example, close to your A mouth. That could be your D mouth. Something like this can be your ooh mouth.

So if you had a simpler project or something with a more stylized look to it, you can still repeat the techniques in this tutorial, but working at a much less detail oriented level. Because obviously, we are working with fills, not lines, and they do pose more challenges. Definitely, there is a lot of fun to be had using shape tweening for the creation of dialogue. You can imagine this colored and with the teeth layer masks inside that looking pretty good. So the head is rigged, the mouth is rigged, the eye blinks are rigged, and we are finally ready to proceed to actually animating the entire character.

So in the next chapter, we are going to move on and do a complete head turn, which is going to move the body, the head, the face, everything, and we will integrate all of the elements in the lessons we have learned in the previous classes. So that's it and I hope to see you in the next chapter.

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