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In this course, author Dermot O' Connor offers experienced Flash designers a step-by-step guide for creating and animating a full-featured cartoon face in Adobe Flash Professional. The course begins with some best practices for setting up the rig and moves on to building facial features such as the mouth and eyes, sculpting the mouth to simulate dialogue, and creating a range of expressions. The course also shows how to rotate the head using poses, move the rig along multiple axes, and incorporate audio.
So at this point you should open up the file 01_02 in your exercise files folder, and everybody has access to this, even those who normally don't have access to the full project files, because it's important that we all start from the very same selection on the very same file. So, open that. And you won't see much right now because what we have is a symbol on the stage that's got the turnaround already positioned in it, but those layers were guided out. So to see that, let's go to the Library panel and double- click on hd 1 turnaround, and here we see the head.
Now what I have done in this case is--let me just hide these for a second, and I am going to just show you the turnaround. This will be familiar from the last section. What I have done is I have created a white layer on top of that with an opacity so that we can fade it out a little bit, because we are going to be working on top of this, and sometimes it's overpowering if you're drawing lines in vector art above that. So it's nice to have this. I have nested these inside a folder, so we can hide that entire folder if we want. And on top of that we have the labels, which we named in the previous section a, b, c, d through h, okay.
And you notice as well that I have put the layer outline color in white, which is easily done, just right-click, hit Properties and you can pick whatever outline color you like. I like to make all the Reference layers white because it's a neutral color, and we are going to be adding colored layers that will define all the vectors. So let's get rid of that, and let's make the new folder, and we will call this one head. And what we are going to do now is to create a series of layers in anticipation of the final vector art. Normally when I do this, I'll do it an intuitive way.
I'll create twenty layers. I will name one hd. I'll name one ear left, ear right. For the purposes of doing the course, I already pretty much know where we are going with this, and to save time, I am going to just start throwing them in and telling you what to call them. But I don't want you to have the idea from watching this that this is normally how a person would work. It's a fluid process where you, for example, know that the nose will go on the top level, and that will be above the mouth for example. So you play with it, and it's not fixed in stone. In any case, here we go. Top layer will be called nose, and I am just going to run through all of these and just type them in.
You notice I use lowercase. I use lowercase for several reasons. It's because it takes up less screen. It's so hard to find screen room with Flash. I like to save every possible pixel. I also save uppercase for things that really matter. Already you can see I have used uppercase for the right ear and the left ear and the right brow. That way that you can use it basically as a flag and very sparely, and trying to find every possible way that you can to work around the limitations of Flash. So again, we will keep going.
The next one is eye. There are quite a few eye layers, eye right lid. And if you have a wheel mouse, you can scroll down. Okay, so now we get to a point where I will do something that looks a little bit unusual. I'm going to make an indent of 4 spaces, 1, 2, 3, 4, and type in hair right. Now I have already made a hair R layer here; why am I making a second one here with an indent? The reason why I am doing this is because I am setting up this turnaround in such a way that I'm already assigning layers that will cover us so that when one of the levels that's normally above a layer goes below that layer, so in this case, we are going to have hair levels that when we look at the character from the front or behind the skull level, but when we look at them from the other side, they will be behind, or on top. The layer order will reverse.
And if you wanted to do this, but you've got two hair right levels. But the nice thing about making an indent is that it just bumps it out, and it's like the little reminder, just a device that lets you know, oh, hang on a second, we are going to have a duplicate. There is going to be not one of these, but two, because it's very difficult with all these layers to get lost. It will make more sense if we proceed. So as you can see, the same applies to the jaw and the nose; they are going to be popping levels later on during the course.
So the next thing that I like to do is never use these random colors that Flash assigns to the layers. When you got to Outline mode and you use these, some of them can be practically invisible. You will never see that in Outline, and that green is going to be very hard on the eyes. So let's go through and assign much better colors. So first of all, on the head layer I have my own little shorthand that I use. I like to use one of these colors to symbolize the head in general, but then individually inside, I mean, you won't ever see that. It's simply a folder color convention, but the nose--let's make that the darkest color.
And the other pattern that I use--and I stress patterns and consistency a lot-- whenever I have to pick a layer outline color for the right side of the body, I pick a green of some kind and the left a blue. If you want, you can of course pick something that works for you better, but this in the one that I have used over the years and I am happy with it. So I am going to pick a dark green for the right ear and a dark blue for the left ear. And right now you're probably thinking, well, I don't see it. Well, you won't, but for me, later on in later chapters, when we start applying the lines and start aligning this thing, it's already built-in, because we are going to be going into Outline mode a lot and then you'd be able to see exactly what we're doing.
And you see where the default palette begins to come in handy. We are calling on the colors of those top three rows. Now onto the left side we will pick blue. And again, by having an uppercase for the left and the right, it really makes those stand out. For a long time I used lowercase for these, and it was very hard to read the l because it was simply a vertical line. And the uppercase L just really jumps off the screen at you. I am picking this creamy color for the mouth, hair right, so the right side again. Let's pick a green for that. And again, these are patterns that will have saved me from many mistakes, because I'll occasionally do something on the wrong side or name it in the wrong side and I'll say to myself, why is that color blue if it's meant to be on the right, getting back to the point of using systems and patterns and consistency that will help you in terms of catching mistakes that could be costly later on.
For the skull, pick a really bright color, because we won't be seeing much of the skull. For most the time the skull will simply be sitting where it is, so you can pick a lighter, more demure outline color for that. So we have finally done all the typing and all the color work. This is basically putting in the groundwork, so it's important that we get this pretty close. When you are working on your own figures, you don't have to be as scientific as this. You can change things as you go along. You can cut layers, combine them, split them apart; but if you follow this basic process, it will help you to avoid some pitfalls.
So take a look at this and be sure that you've checked your layers when you are typing them out to make sure that you're matching this as close as possible--actually it matches exactly, and we will be ready to go on to the next section.
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