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Preparing the rig

From: Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

Video: Preparing the rig

So now we are ready to pose the rig. We'll also have to rename some symbols and duplicate some objects to make sure that we are ready to go. So let's open our file, character_ head_turn_02, and the first thing you'll notice is a very quick rough and ready thumbnail, and this is going to show us the animation. This is what we are going to do in the course of this chapter. So it's four very simple poses. The character will begin looking screen left, doing anticipation, and key pose number two, overshoot to the high point, and number three, and then settle into a normal looking right pose in key number four.

Preparing the rig

So now we are ready to pose the rig. We'll also have to rename some symbols and duplicate some objects to make sure that we are ready to go. So let's open our file, character_ head_turn_02, and the first thing you'll notice is a very quick rough and ready thumbnail, and this is going to show us the animation. This is what we are going to do in the course of this chapter. So it's four very simple poses. The character will begin looking screen left, doing anticipation, and key pose number two, overshoot to the high point, and number three, and then settle into a normal looking right pose in key number four.

So four keys, and that's it. Thumbnails should be like a stickman. They don't have to be fancy. They don't have to be well drawn. They just have to have the basic information to give you something that you can work with, that show you the tilt of the head, the general attitude of the body. You can of course make more detail in this. But if you don't have great drawing skills, don't be shy of doing a thumbnail. Here is our character. Let us make some alterations, because the big problem that we would face is that we have these precious symbols that we spent a lot of time building and we don't want to damage them.

These basically are our pristine objects that we don't want to disrupt anymore. So what we want to do before we animate is to work inside a duplicate or a copy of these. You could always just duplicate your Flash file, but I like to have as many assets in the single Flash file as I think the program can stand, because I can reuse things more easily. So let's double-click on the body. on the stage and go Duplicate Symbol. There is a good rule of thumb, if you are ever in doubt, duplicate. The worst that you can do if you do too many is clutter your library.

But if you actually go over an existing symbol that's been used somewhere, you can destroy hours of work, and I've done that. You don't want to go there. So anyway, duplicate the symbol. We are going to give it a name, something nice and descriptive, head turn. I am going to add that every other symbol inside this symbol, that's going to be working as a comp in animating. That's pretty simple to find out. His body is going to turn, his legs are going to be positioned, his arms are going to turn, his body, his head. So let's click on all of these and duplicate them and call each one head turn.

You can be lazy and call them copy. I don't recommend it. Your library will be very confusing. So I am just going to add head turn to the arms, the legs, the right leg here. I am actually going to duplicate that. That's a copy of the right leg, if you remember. So I am going to call that leg left head turn, so it's now a different symbol completely from this one. Most important of course is to duplicate the head, as well as the mouth, and the two eyes inside there.

You can get pretty fast at this. I think then I'll do the body, and if in doubt, you can always click on the symbol. Check it in the Properties panel, oops! Body needs to be duped. Okay. So now we have dupes of all the key elements, and then the other thing to make sure is that each of these is set to Play Once, because they won't be looping. This is like a single action. It's just that he looks from left to right. We don't want him doing it over and over again. So let's just bundle all of these. Make them Play Once, and same with the head, and same with the mouth and the eyes.

I think we can actually select more than one. Might save a bit of time. Okay. So even if you have made a mistake, don't worry. You can always change it later on. But it's nice to get it right first time. It makes a lot of the corrections in here not necessary. So the next thing to do will be to get the thumbnails. Bring the thumbnails back inside. I am going to copy them. Ctrl+C. Now that we have the head turn symbol, double-click in there, and then in this dummy layer, we'll just drop in our thumbnails and just keep them somewhere nearby where we can see them.

I'll drag that down to the bottom. I am going to lock it. Then what we do is try to estimate how long our scene is going to be. I think it's a pretty short action. We are on 30 frames a second. So, 30 frames is one second. So I am going to stretch it out to maybe 60. So it's a two second long scene. It's a very fast reaction. So let's hit F5, and stretch our Timeline out, and give this some room. I am going to think of the animation beginning on this key first keyframe, which will start to move around here.

I am going to hit F7 on the keyboard. Give our eye some time to see where we are before we begin to move. Usually when you click to a scene, it takes you a few frames for your brain to adjust to the new shot. So we'll start keyframe 1 here and we'll scrunch down to number 2, the down position there. That's where the head turn itself proper, where he goes from facing one direction to the other, will happen around here. Then up to the high point and now let's give him some room to settle, maybe push this out a bit more.

That's a very -- still a very fast action. About 30 frames a second, this represents about one-third of the second. So this might look like a lot of time, but it might be faster than you think. So let's just chop a few empty frames off here, and so this is where the animation is going to mostly occur. So I am going to put in a dummy classic tween in there. That's going to be like a visual guide that we are going to use to help us have the same time duration on all of our symbols. So I want to have the same number of frames on the body symbol as in the head, and the arm, and the torso, and the leg.

I want all the keyframes to happen at the same time in all of these symbols so that everything nests and works together in harmony. So let's copy all of them and we will go to Edit > Timeline > Copy Frames. Then we just drop that into all the other nested symbols. Let's go back to frame 1 and make a new layer on each of these symbols. Ctrl+Alt+V. And it's just a repetitive process of repeating this for all of your animating elements. Of course, don't forget the mouth and the eyes.

It's always good to double-check as well, headturn, headturn, headturn. This is the beauty of modifying the names. You can double-check to make sure that okay, I am working inside one of my dupes. I am not messing up my original perfect symbol. It's also a good idea to keep your file names reasonably short, so you can see as many of them as possible on the top. Okay, so the next step will be to pose the character. We have done everything else other than pose the character.

We're now ready to go. But at this point, you should have duplicated all of the animating elements. Everything that is going to have like an internal timeline of its own, and you should have renamed them all, hopefully, with the name of head turn or some other modifier. You should have this thumbnail as a little visual guide. Now with that done, we are finally able to pose the character and see at what point we are going to be able to make a move.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation
Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

83 video lessons · 21351 viewers

Dermot O' Connor
Author

 
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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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