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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.
Now it's time to set up our character's contact position to begin the process of posing out the walk cycle. So let's open up our previous file, number 6, zoom out a bit, and what I want to do is to just so we have a visual reference, I think you'll find that helpful if we can bring in some of our reference images. I'll go Import to Library. Let's just bring in all of these three so we have them, and that just kindly symbolizes them all. So let's just drop the images into our reference folder and let's rename this as 1, 2 and 3, and drop them into the reference folder as well. Keep our library nice and clean.
One thing I want to do actually is size our guy on the stage a little more. This will be important to make him fit on the stage and just set up the stage for the animation. So right now he is at 100% and he's a bit too big. So let's bring him down to 50%, so Ctrl+Alt+S, and that's half his size and maybe even a bit smaller. I'll just do it in freestyle, just what I think looks good. He's going to do a complete step from here to here. So we can change this later, but this would be a better fit. Now we can zoom in, making sure that we are working inside the bd walk symbol.
So let's double-click on that and we have all of our layers and we have beneath that our old reference image. I think we can now actually get rid of this now. I don't think we need that here. So we have our character. I want to change the timeline. I want to go into Animation. I am not rigging anymore. I like to have a horizontal timeline. So we have our Workspace layout. Let's go to the other one. I've made two of these, one with a longer timeline and one with a vertical one. So let's see the rulers. I want to make guidelines now for the feet. This is very important.
We go View > Rulers and just click and drag. Make sure we don't have snapping on. I thought Snap to Grid was there and felt snappy, so let's get that off and just make two lines, go in nice and close, and I would line them up with the heel or the toe of the foot. As long as you are consistent in, okay, this is the one that the heel will always be planted whenever he is on the ground, that's the position point that we are going to lock the heel to for each of these. Then let's get rid of the rulers. They take up screen's space you don't need to worry about, okay.
So the lower line will be the placement for the right foot and the upper will be for the left. So the next thing I would like to do would be to bring in some reference images. This will really help you if you haven't done a walk before and it is very hard sometimes to keep all this new information in your head. So let's grab the reference frame of the first one, make it a bit bigger, not too big, but big enough so that you can see it right above the stage or whatever works for you. You might have a second monitor and maybe drop it over there.
So what we are going to do is converting our chap into the contact pose. That's the first one that we have to do. You might find that's easier if you have it positioned here, and maybe bring it in a bit tight. We are going to spreading the legs so that they are occupying about this space here, so we have a better room to play with. Actually I think we can go back to the vertical timeline now. Let's do that. Because we're only working on this contact pose. That's better. I think we are going to move the left leg forward. That will in the leading position.
Just selecting and using the Free Transform tool. At this point don't worry about bending the leg so much. That will be part of a later step. The other thing to remember the physical left side of his body is shaded out. That's because when you do a walk cycle you counter pose. In words, when your left leg is forward, your left arm is backwards and vice versa. So you don't move with the same limb and the same direction at the same time. The body is in a constant state of opposition to maintain its balance.
So in this case we have the left leg forward, so that means that the left arm will be moving backwards, and here you'll begin to appreciate the advantage of having a color-coded structure that we set up earlier. So you can see if it's green on one end, then it'll be moving out of the other. So you can see in an instant that my right foot is out here; my right arm must be out in this direction. Let's just move that up there and lock it in, so we are not selecting that by mistake. You can see that there is a little issue here with the arm kind of being lost against the gradient, so we can expand this gradient.
I am going to play with that a little bit later on to help define that arm area. So this is the left shoe and that should be contacting this line exactly. Also, the leading limb will be thrusting forward, so it will be, if you imagine the hip is pivoted, the left hip is further forward. So we can move this leg forward as well. And let's just use the Free Transform tool to stretch out the leg a little bit to make up the gap.
Okay, now as you can see this right foot has to bend and tilt. So what we are going to is I find this as your first pass, we have to get okay before we get pretty. So I am going to act like the foot can slice through the ground plain and I am going got let the position of the foot be determined by the anatomy of the leg. So let's bring this in a little. I want to see a little bit of that and let's keep that foot like that. It's asking us simply too much to stop bending the foot, so again we have to imagine that this is what is going to crease here.
We are going to add this detail to this inner foot comp later on. Imagine the left hip thrust forward. We counter pose, so that means the right arm is going to move further forward than the left, so let's push that out a little bit. We're going to have to make some changes to the internal structure of the left arm. But for now, again, this is our first pass, so we just want this thing to do the major, the gross moves.
Let's have a look at that. Okay, that's a contact pose. So there are obviously many things that we can improve and fix. Okay, so this is a really great place to save our project, because this is a good block of work. So let's save this and in the next one we'll move on and start tweaking and fine-tuning our contact position.
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