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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 before we start diving into the walk cycle, I am going to give you a quick overview of the poses that we will be positioning and using to create the walk. So the first image in your reference_ images folder is walk_cycle_poses_01. And we can make this a bit bigger. You can see that we have what looks like eight poses or nine poses. It's really just four major keys. The first and most important is the contact pose. And this is where the leading foot first contacts the ground with the heel, smacks into the ground. And the recoil, this is the low point in the walk. We move though in the passing position.
This is the midpoint. Then we reach the high-Point point. Just proceeding, the next contact position. And then the pattern repeats identically, and that's it. So once you establish your contact positions, that's really done a lot of the work. Let's look at this third image and you will see what I mean. How once you create the first contact pose, it dictates the position of the second contact pose, and the stride and the distance that your character can cover in the walks cycle, and each contact pose should have the same base to be at proper cycle, head should be at the same level, body of the same level and the arms, although they have moved into opposite positions, should more or less occupy the same basic unless your character has a limp or is defect in some way, then these two poses should be the same.
That's essentially the structure. If you look at the entire sequence roughly overlaid, you can see how it seems to work. So, for example, follow the right foot, and you can see how it arcs nicely through the complete step and same with the foot on the other side. You can pick any given body part here. You can see through the layers, or watch how the arms arc through, the head in particular. We would have like a nice bouncing ball action on the head. We want these to be nice and curved arc patterns all the way through. So that is it. These are the four primary poses. Now when we begin to animate a walk cycle, we have two approaches.
The way that you would probably begin walking and the way most animators begin when they do their first walk cycle is to animate the character walking across the screen. The other way is to have the character walking in place. And I am going to show you the difference between those two. Inside your project folder, in the Chapter-5 walk cycle, there are two SWF or SWF files: walking across the screen and walking in place. And if you open them, you will see the comparison. So on the right side, we have our guy walking across the screen as he would in the normal live-action shot. On the left side of the screen, we have him cycling in place, and you got to imagine that the background is moving behind him.
So the ideal way to animate I think, I much prefer to animate in place because you can simply loop the walk cycle over and over again, and you can move the background at a different speed, and all kinds of wonderful stuff. The only problem with that is it's a bit harder if it's your first time to do a walk cycle. Anytime you are using the new program, even you are doing certainly a walk from the first time, I would always recommend that we do it across the screen, simply because you don't have happen to worry about spacing the feey. A lot of the business is taken care of for you and it also allows you to see the arcs and to see how your character is actually working in real space, instead of what I would think about as imaginary space here.
This would be something that we will do after we've done the walk, across in the screen. We are going to do the less difficult one first and then we'll do the walk cycle in place after that.
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