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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 set up our character for the walk cycle. And first, that means opening up our project, Rig_profile_05 file. So the first thing we need to do before we do anything is prep this symbol. We could, if you want, to begin animating. The only problem is we will be working inside our primary bd profile symbol. And we might want to do other things with this other than the walk cycle. So let's duplicate it first. So I like to right-click on this, hit Duplicate Symbol, and let's call it bd walk and that's just that.
Let's duplicate all of the other symbols inside it that we are going to animate. So that means the head, the arms, the leg symbols, and the feet. It's a little bit of busy work but it's important. So let's right-click on the head and call it hd walk. And we will see them be generated in here. Right-click on the arm. So I am going to keep moving through all these symbols, just doing one after the other. This shouldn't take about a minute. Oops, wrong one. So what I am going to do is, these are the same symbols and I want to make these different symbols.
So I am going to duplicate this one and call it leg left walk. And I already have one that's done. I am going to duplicate it again, leg right walk2. You can clean up the unused symbols later on if you need. I think we have the same issue with the foot. We have the same foot used for both of these. So I am going to duplicate the right one. Call it leg right foot walk. And let's duplicate the left foot. I am going to call it leg left foot walk.
And we also have probably-- you may be doing animation on the torso. So I am going to duplicate that and call that walk as well and don't forget we also have the background arm, the arm left. I think the hands, we may be animating. I am not sure but for now, well, if in doubt, duplicate. So I will just do that. Okay. And then one more task to do. And that's to make sure that all of these symbols are set to their right format.
We are going to have them playing. Because we have duplicates now, we can start altering the contents and not worry about damaging our original profile rig. Now the thing to bear in mind about the walk cycle is that it's going to be about just over a second long. So I need a keyframe the contact position, as we covered in the previous demonstration, a recoil position, the passing position, high-point, and back to the contact. So lfor now, we will space these our evenly. So there is 3 in between frames, between each of our keys.
And so this will go from contact, recoil, passing, high-point, contact, and to get right back to the start we have to go through one more complete cycle. So let's copy these. Alt+drag, Option+drag. So that's going to be the duration of our cycle. So let's make sure that all of these symbols are this long. So I am going to call this level keys. So these are little placeholders, just notes essentially. And let's actually put a bit of detail in here and then put letters on them, contact, because it's easy to forget which one I am looking at.
In the Properties panel, I am just calling it c and this will be r for recoil, or the down, the squash pose. This will be the h pose for high-point and the passing position we will call that p. Okay. So let's copy these. Edit, Timeline, Copy Frames, Ctrl+Alt+C. I am going to copy that into, for example, we will take the head, make a new layer, and paste, and make sure our internal head timeline is that long.
We will repeat this procedure for all the other elements. Now we may have to make some little alterations in here. For example, this is the first key, if you remember from our previous class, this is our three quarters position for the arm and this the profile position. We are not going to need the three quarters position for any part of this timeline. So I am just going to grab our second key and drop it over the first and delete it. So this is our profile arm. We do it again so you see exactly what happened. What I am doing is deleting this key and I am dragging this one there.
So we have a clean timeline for the left-arm or the right-arm and all these other parts. So the left arm is fine. That doesn't need any alteration other than our notes. Sometimes you get a little defects when you copy these frames. Paste them back in again. Let's see if this is still a glitch. It can be difficult sometimes to copy multiple layers. It won't work. You cannot copy over multiple layers if they're different lengths.
If you're going to do this copying, be sure that all the layers are the same duration. So I am going to continue. I am going to have an animated leg in here. So we want to have this fully laid out again, same with the other leg and the shoes. Again, we have two frames for the shoe. And first one was our three-quarter shoe. We are not going to be using that I think in this walk. We could but I don't think we will.
We will be using this flat one. So Ctrl+X or just drag-and-drop the second frame on top of the first and we repeat that process with this. Our key seems to be disappearing sometimes. So just repeat the Copy Frames process if that happens. We will extend that out. The last step is to select each of these symbols, make sure it's set to Play Once, and it's all set to frame number 1. Now the torso is well. I forgot that one.
Not the end of the world if you forget one of these. You can add it later. It just means you have to tweak some numbers in the Properties panel. Your work will be much smoother if you set them up right in the first place. So again torso should be set to Play Once and set the frame 1. That way when you begin setting secondary keys and you have all your internal timelines, all the frame numbers will lineup here. Any key on this column should be ideally set to one so that this one will be on five, this will be on 10 and so forth.
Same with the leg, Play Once, you are on frame 1, Play Once, frame 1, same with the feet. Some of these were set to Single Frame earlier on because they are just going to be in a static rig. So this is just a part of the process. There is no perfect state for all possible combinations. So this is the three- quarters hand you may remember. So let's get rid of that. I don't think we need it in here, and I am going to add our frames in because we are going to be using this hand for the walk.
So let's track that on to position one, and I am just going to delete this frame. So this is now set to Play Once from frame 1. We're having trouble selecting that left hand. Let's zoom in a little it, and Play Once again. So I think we got them all. So every symbol is set to Play Once. It's all set to frame 1. They all have internal timelines that are duplicates of the external of the master timelines on the body layer, right down to the head. We might even add, if we are going to do something fancy with the mouth or the eye, you might have the same in there but for this walk they will be not doing anything.
So I am just going to leave them as static images. If you are going to do like a very complicated scene with a lot of keyframes, it's always worth doing a little double-check over this. So with that done, we are ready to move on and establish the contact pose of the walk cycle, and that will begin the process of actually making this kind guy move.
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