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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.
Okay, so time finally to begin fleshing out the character's mouth and giving him the ability to speak. So let's go into our project file and open character rigged_02. There we go. So, let's just double-click on the head symbol in the library. Zoom in on the mouth. Try to frame it so that you can see the jaw area. That will give us an idea about how, when we begin to create this open mouth shapes, how far we think we can push this. So, let's double click on the mouth layer and be sure that you have View > Preview Modes set to Anti-Alias.
That way you'll shade out the background, so that you clearly see where you symbols begin in the background layer. So, what we have is a rigged close mouth and this is what it looks like in outline mode. It's bit of a handful or mouthful. So, let's go through this again frame by frame. This layer 1, this was our original working layer, our reference. Let's get rid of that. We don't need him any more. So, we have our underline lip shadow. On the top layer, the lip upper and the lip lower, with a crease at the corner, separated by a mask. We have the inner mouth shape and when the character speaks that's going to move around a lot.
We have the character's tongue, the lower and the upper teeth. These things need a little more detail, right, before we can actually begin to create the animation. So I am just going to flesh this out a little bit. Let's go into the teeth upper layer and let's hit F8 to symbolize this. Call it teeth upper. I am going to correct this pivot position. So I am going to hold down Shift and use a numeric arrow to move this to the right. 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, one way and 12 back.
What I'm doing is lining up the corner with this crosshair here and I am going to push it over back one more click and one more click that way and then the opposite back again. Now, we have symbolized tooth layer which we can pivot at some point. And we can to squash it and move it around and motion tweening. Do the same thing with the lower teeth level, call it teeth lower. You can probably eyeball this if you are not too worried the position, if it's not totally critical. You can do that too.
Just long as you are comfortable sliding it around and pushing it back again. The other thing you might want to do since the teeth are already blanking one another out here, we can a shadow line or we can make the lower level maybe a little bit darker, a slightly different color. It comes down to your preference and style and maybe even both. So let's have a look at this. We are going to Outline. Let's put Snap on, so we can close these sharply. Now, we can Snap off again.
So let's pick a slightly darker gray for that and now it will be very easy to see where the teeth overlap. So, I'll just double-click in that line and Ctrl+X to delete it. Again, you've created these two symbols in the library. Track them into the head parts folder, which is looking nice and clean. Same thing with the tongue. So the tongue will be pivoting around this point here, so let's symbolize that. I am just going to again do the internal double-click on the tongue. The other thing you could do if you want help with lining up is go View > Rulers.
Maybe create a temporary pair of lines showing you where the pivot should be. Let's move the tongue over to here, go back to the outer symbol, and note that they are hidden. Excuse me. We try to reposition the tongue to about here. So, let's we can eyeball that. It sounds a bit right. Let's get rid of those rulers. So, let's look, here we go. So, now these are all symbolized, they can all be motion tweened, and we are going to keep the mouth inner.
That's going to be a shape tweened, so that's going to stay as a live from. That's not going to be turned into a symbol in the library. The lower lip shadow, I think we can keep that without being symbolized because that's going to be changing shape as the mouth moves up and down quite dramatically. The mask will also be a duplicate of the mouth inner layer. We'll just copy and paste from here to here to match. You'll see it more purely as we begin to create these shapes. A lip lower, that's going to be shape tweening, so we don't symbolize that. lip upper will shape tween. The crease will probably not change shape so I am going to create a symbol out of this. Call it mouth crease.
I like that center of the crease to be closer to the crosshair. So, let's move this over and then move it back again by the same number of clicks and now we are ready. So, how you have padlock the mask you can see the structure a little better. So, we are going to start playing around with it quite dramatically. So, let's save this project. We will call it character_rigged_03.
Okay, so we have this and in the next phase we'll now begin pushing these shapes around to create dialogue.
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