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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.
The final step of the basic pass of our walk cycle is going to be fixing the feet. So let us open the previous file and it's number 14. So click on here and again just to look at the feet action on the reference image. Let's just watch this light colored foot, just see it bends and twists and adopt different positions in the curves around the ground and obviously we think a Flash symbol probably wouldn't be able to do that because it's one big static shape.
I am going to show you how to do that and how to make this look like it's made of leather or something flexible. So the first thing I'd like to do is right-click, just go right into the symbol. I don't know if you remember our creation of this but we took an earlier three quarters foot and used the Distort tool to create this image and with the Subselection tool I'll show you what happens. You end up with a couple of extra points that you don't need. It's still pretty clean but I would never want an image to have a point there. This curve could probably be made with one line but preferably just two to bend here.
So let me see what happens if I try to bend this shoe to make it look like it's wrapping onto the ground. So let's see second point here is already misbehaving, twisting into weird shapes. So now I've got to pull this other weird point here, pull this up. It may work, okay that worked, but as we begin to pull this thing, I'm not having much fun pulling this line. Adopting these weird little curvy S-shapes.
It's very annoying and at some point in the process of doing this I guarantee you this thing will break and you will pull it into a shape that the program doesn't like. You've already seen shape tweening acting up with very simple forms. This kind of thing will happen. It will drive you bonkers. So even just to do like a small move. Let's undo all that. The solution to this isn't too difficult. All we want is to give shape tweening every chance of doing its job.
So having everything for one first problem is we have too many points and we are going to redraw this and remove this point and we are going to remove this symbol here and the other thing we are going to do is to create this object not on one layer but on 3. One for the dark area, one for this one, one for that one. There are a couple of different approaches we can use for this, so let's try to find the one that's going to be the most stable and Flash friendly. So let's make three layers and the lower layer will be our reference layer, which I'd like to color something like this.
So our choice now is how to split up this shape onto three separate layers. What we could do is one strategy is have a single black shape, that's this outline color, and then have simply the brown layer on top of that and this layer on top of that. So that we would have a three pointed light brown layer, a 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 pointed dark brown layer and about same number of points, seven points, for the black layer. The only problem with that might be that the black would overlap on this. So I think we should definitely have the light brown layer on the top and I am going to pick this dark brown layer as the largest part of the shoe.
So let me show you how we begin this. So I am going to pick the Rectangle tool and click that line off. I am going to work in Outline mode and may be pick a brighter color so we can see the outline. Better. So I am now going to put Snap on because I want Snap to work exactly to these points. Hold on Alt/Option to snap to this point. Actually I am going to go a little beyond. I am going to have black sole be an overlay. I am going to actually go over this, so we can move a little outside that but keep this point alive. We don't want this point to be disappeared by Flash, so you can keep that as a sharp point somewhere in this black area.
This area here is going to be covered up by that light brown. Hold on Alt/Option again to make this curve and don't make too many of these curves in here. These should be as few as possible. Okay, so that's going to be that area. Now I am going to make the three pointed light sole of the shoe. Let's click the Eyedropper, padlock that off, eyedropper to there, and same thing. We are going to outline the lower layer so we could see this better and create our shape in here.
Double-click the line. We don't need that, delete it. Snap on again and this time I am going to keep the lower layer on too. So this point will come exactly to here, to there, make this a triangle, then map that to this. Go in to outline for a second, let's see what that looks like. So that's it and then the final phase would be the sole of the shoe. Again, I think the rectangle shape will be good for that. I am going to get rid of that outline.
That's a dark gray, so we paint that dark gray. Just put on all our previous layers in outline and lock them. Outline the upper layer. Make sure Snap is on so we line to these points precisely and I want to Alt+Click, Option+Click so that we make an extra point here, because we only want to bend the foot roughly around this point. So it matches this curve of the front of the shoe and then wrap these curves and the last step will be to reactivate all our layers and check and make sure that they clearly overlap, because obviously if you pull this too far you might start seeing white caps like this.
So this is really-- you can never quite get this exactly the first time so sometimes you have to add little areas of overlap so that you have a bit of give. Now we can get rid of the earlier layer and if you look at this in the Subselection tool it will show you the geometry. So for example, here we have six points. That's a very clean shape and on the front of the shoe, three points. That will be much easier to tween and this is a tricky one.
Let's go one two three four five six seven points. So that is pretty good, so let's first of all save this and I'm going to try a quick experiment and we will see how much easier it is. We are going to have to twist the shape of this foot to match the ground plane for example and already you remember how difficult it was to manipulate this foot shape and now it's just two points. And I have already disappeared the line break here, so that happened during the creation process.
Easily fixed. We could actually redraw it. There is still a point there. So what I want to do is re-create that. I really want to have easy access to that. So I want to draw a box over that and hit X to delete it. Make sure Snap is on, pull that point back to where we want it, and now we have it again. This time I am going to keep a slight break there and that will help to work with. So now if I wanted to for example put a break on the shoe, you see how easy it's going to be at this point to create radically different shoe shapes.
So imagine this rotated a few degrees and we are going to be able to do amazing stuff with that and we'll look at that the tweens. So little piece sticking out there but that's easy to fix and that's going to be fun. So let's undo all that for a second or actually just delete these. Clear Keyframe. That's a really great stable shoe. Like I said, a lot of fun with this one. So let's save this again and we will now move on to actually animating and shape tweening the foot to fit the walk cycle.
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