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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.
In this movie, we will look at nesting an animation to make the monster's claw open and then snap shut. If you are following along, go ahead and open up Nesting_Animations.fla from the Chapter_02 folder. You can also just create any movie clip on the Stage. Double-click the monster to enter its timeline and then we will take a look at the monster's timeline. It has three layers: Left Claw, the Monster layer and the Left Arm layer. The left claw layer is a movie clip. It's an instance of LeftClaw. Now I will double-click the Left Claw movie clip to enter its timeline. Inside of the Left Claw movie clip, there are two movie clips. One of them is called the RightSide, which is the right side of the claw and the other one is called LeftSide, which is the left side of the claw.
What we want to do is animate these rotating open. But if I rotate them right now, they hinge around the center. That's because of the circular area called the Transformation Point. When you select and armed it with the Free Transform tool or multiple objects, you will see a transform point or a little circle in the center of that object. If you move that transformation point, then you can redefine what axis you can rotate around when you rotate the object. So I will move the Transformation Point on the left claw to the bottom right of the claw. Now when I rotate the left claw it hinges around that transformation point.
So I will open the claw a little bit and then I will select the right claw and I will do the same thing. So I will move the transformation point down to the bottom and then open the claw just a little bit. Noticed that there is a little bit of a gap in between the two claws. I am going to select the right claw and then use my keyboard, pressing the Left Arrow to close that gap. Now I am ready to create a motion tween animation. I will do that by selecting the right claw, right-clicking and choosing Create Motion Tween. Now you may not be familiar with this method, as you may have only created motion tweens on the timeline. This method allows you to create motion tweens based on objects. So you can just Right-click or Ctrl-click any symbol and choose Create Motion Tween like this and first we will create a motion tween just like you would on the timeline.
So I will go back to frame one, Right- click or Ctrl-click the left claw and then select Create Motion Tween. So now I have two open claws here. Now what I want to do here is create Property Keyframes for the rotation properties on the last keyframe of this animation for both claws. Because I actually want to start out the animation with the claw closed then have it opened and a kind of snap shot at the beginning. So what I am going to do is Right-click or Ctrl-click the last frame on Layer 2 and then choose Insert Keyframe Rotation. I will do the same thing for the last keyframe of Layer 1. Right-click or Ctrl -click, Insert Keyframe > Rotation. Now I will go back to frame one and then I have to find what the claw looks like when it's closed.
So I will select the left side, rotate it in, select the right side rotate it in. Everything looks good. Scrub the playhead to preview the animation and that looks nice and fancy. So I will test the movie using Command+Return or Ctrl+Enter and see the animation works. It just a little bit robotic. So we'll add some easing to make it feel little bit more natural. I am going to add ease in so the claw will shut and then slowly open at first and then quickly open towards the end. To do that I will select the tween in Layer 2, jump over to the Motion Editor and for my Basic Motion, I will set the easing to Simple (Slow). With that easing set, I will scroll down and define my Simple (Slow) ease. I will do that by dragging the slider all the way to the left. So I want a value of -100 because remember I want the animation to be slow at the beginning and faster at the end. So that's ease in or a negative value.
Let's do the same thing for the other claw. Jump over the timeline, select the Layer 1 tween. Go to the Motion Editor, define the easing for Basic Motion as Simple (Slow), then set the Simple (Slow) easing to Ease In. Now let's test the movie. We will preview the more realistic animation. Command+Return on the Mac, Ctrl+Enter on the PC and there is our animation in action. So now I will close the Preview Window. So by nesting animations and adding easing you can add more realistic motion effects to your animations.
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