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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 it's time to create the vector lines for our character. So let's go into the Library, double click on the symbol for the bd, the body, and as you can see we have our layers more or less named correctly and colored. So couple of little things I want to do first is symbolize the Reference layer and I want to brighten that up a little bits, so that our lines can be seen a little bit better. So in the Properties panel go to Brightness and bring it up by about 50% and then padlock that layer and we're ready to start drawing.
The other thing I like to do is to improve our screen real estate and we have covered this earlier and we have a second layer or our workspace format Lynda_character_animation_2 and that sets our stage to be vertical as our timeline is, as we going to have a lot of layers ultimately in this rig. So holding down the Spacebar we can center this and we can begin creating the layers. So we'll be using the Line tool, we will be using the Selection tool, and the Rectangle tool to create most of these vector layers. So in the torso upper layer I am going to start by drawing the body layer and get rid of the inner color and we can start positioning these points to match.
As you can see the snap is set on, so I want to get rid of that because we're going to get rid of all the snaps. Now we can control very finely the positioning of our points. Zoom in and we are going to have four points. That's going to make this bump a little harder, so we need put it another point here. Holding down the Alt key or Option on the Mac, you can add a new point. Don't go crazy with this use it. Use it on as many points as you think you're going to need. You can also add more in later on, but it's real pain to get rid of them and the fewer points you have, if you click the Subselection tool, you can always check your geometry to make sure that you haven't gone over the top with the points.
So that's our body layer down and you might not want to lock them as you do them. That will stop you from breaking them. So let's make another rectangle and the other thing to make sure about is I find it's nice if you are working in the Hairline rather than Solid make this line as fine as possible, so again position this and the reason why I'm drawing through is because when that head begins to move, we want see neck and not air. So we draw a little further than we absolutely need to. I would lock that.
Same with the lower torso and how far you draw through is up to your judgment, how extreme you think the animation is going to be. This I think is pretty average and again you can change it later on if you have not done an off or done too much. Now the right leg as you can see is very similar to the left leg. I'm only going to do it once. So let's just do the right leg. Later- on in the process we can copy and paste that as a duplicate for the left leg. And you need a point for the knee, front and back, and so it's almost worthwhile testing to make sure that, there we go.
We have a point. Sometimes Flash snaps the mode of existence if the line is to straight, but that looks good. And let's drop in the right arm, another rectangle. Give it the inner color fill. Now I want Snapping back on so at this point this cornered can snap to the shoulder. You want these to be always together and once that's done we can get rid of it again. And if you find your lines are becoming a bit of a clump, hard to see, we can go to Outline mode and now you're active layer stands out and it's much easier to control where your work is going.
Curve on that and make it fit the torso a little better. So now let's make the foot also a rectangle, go to the inner color, and I'm going to use Alt/Option to put an extra point here, following the curve around the toe area, and I would like this line to continue through, so I'll hit N for the Line tool and I want to Snapping to be on for this and get that sharply joined there and there. You will feel that thing really snap in. Once that's done, switch it back off again.
Now we have a nice curve here and I want to make another line, complete these forms, get rid of all the leftovers, round that off a little bit. Holding down the Alt key or Option on the Mac, and round this off a little bit so that the foot gets rotated. We see something other than a sharp unnatural looking edge.
And this can be changed and tweaked and refined latter on, but this part of the process is about the first pass and once you begin to symbolize everything, you will get a better idea as to how much further you need to go, if you need to tweak anything. So that's the first phase of this process done and again just go back into a Outline mode. We still need to add the hands, that's a little more work, and of course the head and actually one thing I'll add before go any further is the left arm. Make sure we snap the shoulder again. Hold down Alt/Option to create our joints.
And there we go. Believe or not that's the first step in this process. So now we move on to finishing this phase. That means lining the hands and duplicating some of the symbols and moving on to the head, and we begin to cover that process in the next part.
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