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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.
So we've added some arcs to our walk cycle and to our character's head and his body and now we're going to check some of the other arcs where they're really more of an issue enough and that's on the hands. So, let's open up our file, number 18 in your Exercise Folder, and let's go into the symbol. I'm going to actually hide because there's a lot of motion that kind of catches the eye on these different leg layers. So let's just get rid of them. Let's just focus a little better on the hands.
So he is moving across the screen. Let's center this. Okay, things are moving pretty fast so you think it's all right, but let's take a little closer look, and I'm going to take this arm and put it in Outline mode. Now, if you watch the behavior of the hand as it supposedly connects to the wrist, you'll see that's got to be really painful. So, let's see what we can do to correct this. There's a couple of different approaches to fixing this problem, depending on which level of complexity you favor.
So, one way to do it, one way to do it is simply find the frames where this event happens and just grab it and that automatically creates a keyframe. When you have motion tweening active when you do this, it'll generate a keyframe automatically. So, keep scrubbing through the Timeline as you find these really outstanding areas. There's one that's actually on a key, so we certainly fix that. Let's move back again, make sure we're still okay, yes, forward.
I would have expected more breaks to have occurred on this already, but there we go. And definitely here, we should pull that out. That's a better position. So that's one way of doing it. It still won't be 100%, but for most purposes that you might need this might be sufficient in accuracy. You could always even add secondary keys in here for certain troublesome spots. There's always going to be some. So, each time you do this, bear in mind, if you have ease-ins or ease-outs, you're going to be changing a lot of business that happens in here.
So that's one way of doing it. There is another way of doing it, a little more elegant. That involves nesting of course. We'll do it on the opposite hand, so you'll be able to compare the two systems. So we'll copy this and let's keep that layer visible. I'm going to hide the right hand. So, copy this hand, double-click on the arm symbol. So now we're inside the upper arm, and let's make a new layer and we're going to paste the hand in here. Now, I'm not totally happy with that pivoting position.
So for now, I'm just going to be on the rough side and just pull that in a little bit, pull that into here, and rotate it until it matches the starting position. Okay. Now let's see what this looks like. First thing though, you might want to hide the other hand layer. Oops! See, something's already going wrong because we're swinging this hand internally. we're moving it around. So, first thing we should do is keyframe these motions, just drop some keyframes in. And just very quickly, nothing too fancy just yet.
Oops! Let's just copy that. Alt/Option+click to here, and actually this keyframe will be the same as that one. So I'm just going to make a copy of that. So as you can see, we're just matching the position of this hand to the other points. See that one's going to go there. Let's clear that to make a new keyframe. Okay, so that should roughly work. Won't quite be arcing totally correctly inside, but it's a lot easier than the big movements in the outside clip.
Now let's look at this and as you can see, we don't have to worry about the big arcing issues any more, because this hand is, by definition, it's inside this clip. So, when we swing this arm, guess what? It's going to arc. So, that's the other way of doing it and you probably guess that I prefer nesting it, because if you keep that on this outer timeline, one thing it does is it makes this timeline a little bit longer.
Whereas if we keep it inside the upper arm, it's a little tidier. So, what we can do in this instance is keep our lower level to padlock and let's go into the upper level, the arm, and we can go through it frame by frame and we can match our hand in here. So let's just put this on the bottom layer and we'll call it the hand. Let's just make all these keyframes quicker. We're not having to worry.
Okay, so let's use frameEdit in our Commands menu from the toonmonkey.com website. Use Free Transform. If you don't have that extension, scrub to the right frame by manually and we move that out a little bit, and let's move to here. So I'm going in on the exact frame of the outer clip. This line here should not change position as I use the frameEDIT in shortcut. So by positioning the hand like this, what I'm doing is just adding in the drag and the secondary motion that we had already animated on the outside.
Great thing about this too is you can really be more flexible with the timing. You can delay it so that the drag can overlap slightly. It's a much nicer way of working I think. So let's just look at the arm by itself. So I'm going to delete the lower hand layer now. Okay, so let's go into this a bit tighter. I'm going to hide this again. So let's say we want to put up a bit of more drag on that hand, go into that frame, Simply drag it in here.
Same in this one. The only pivot I have to worry about is in here. So now we go to the outer point and then here we might want a bit of overlap. So maybe after this frame, as the hand begins to move down, it might be nice if we flip it back a little bit. And we'll rough this in at the moment. I have a bit of stick in here still. So I'm going just move that back a little bit.
And there is a little flip at the top, and look how clean the timeline is. I'm putting some of that busywork on this inner clip in here and it's keeping my outer timeline clean. It's fixing all my arc issues. It's taking care of a lot of problems. That is looking like a really nice overlap on the end. It makes it feel like an actual object and we're trying to escape from that Flashy look, the effect that we have, and we're just pushing a bunch of symbols around.
So that's really nice and having that nice arc on the hand, that really helps too. So, the next thing I would do on this, and it's a simple process. Just so I want to repeat that process on my own time on that right hand. Just basically copy the right hand into the right arm and nest it in there and then delete this layer. So the walk is done, we've smoothed out everything, and the only thing remaining to be demonstrated now is how to reposition our walk cycle, so that we can make it do more than just two complete steps across the screen. Maybe we want to repeat it so it does more than that.
So, in the next clip, I'll show you how to do that and that will be the end of the walk cycle.
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