Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation
Illustration by Petra Stefankova

Nesting the hand symbols


Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

with Dermot O' Connor

Start your free trial now, and begin learning software, business and creative skills—anytime, anywhere—with video instruction from recognized industry experts.

Start Your Free Trial Now

Video: Nesting the hand symbols

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.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 3m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the exercise files
    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
    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

please wait ...
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
3D + Animation Web
Flash Professional
Dermot O' Connor

Nesting the hand symbols

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.

There are currently no FAQs about Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation.

Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.

Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ .

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

Join now Already a member? Log in

* Estimated file size

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.

Mark all as unwatched Cancel


You have completed Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.

Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member ?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferences from the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Learn more, save more. Upgrade today!

Get our Annual Premium Membership at our best savings yet.

Upgrade to our Annual Premium Membership today and get even more value from your lynda.com subscription:

“In a way, I feel like you are rooting for me. Like you are really invested in my experience, and want me to get as much out of these courses as possible this is the best place to start on your journey to learning new material.”— Nadine H.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.