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Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
Illustration by John Hersey

Setting up a magic carpet walk cycle


From:

Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Setting up a magic carpet walk cycle

So now we're going to take our carpet and make it walk; our dollar bill, or whatever you want to call this green rectangle. So let me zoom out a little bit and let's have a look. So that's a nice little walk cycle. And if we double-click on that symbol you can see how it's constructed. Essentially, he's walking in place. It's all shape tweened. And we have, beneath here, our little guide layers. Notice how his feet, when they hit the ground they stay; they follow one of those guide layers. And so the thing to do is basically animate him in place, so he's walking over an imaginary center of gravity. And then to make him walk across the screen, we take this symbol, and we motion tween it to create this kind of walk. And that's how I tend to do a lot of these walk cycles.
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  1. 6m 35s
    1. Welcome
      1m 4s
    2. Using the exercise files
      51s
    3. Common keystrokes and shortcuts used in this course
      4m 40s
  2. 1h 24m
    1. Understanding video versus SWF
      2m 30s
    2. Overview of shortcuts, extensions, and setup
      6m 27s
    3. Understanding linear and radial gradients
      2m 39s
    4. Overlapping and animating the colors
      3m 53s
    5. Lighting a scene
      10m 24s
    6. Creating lens flares
      10m 40s
    7. Animating ripples
      7m 2s
    8. Creating a gradient globe
      11m 41s
    9. Creating a gradient bottle
      10m 26s
    10. Applying gradients to a character's eye
      10m 2s
    11. Applying gradients to a character's skull
      8m 49s
  3. 56m 53s
    1. Tweening a circle to a square
      10m 9s
    2. Using thumbnails
      4m 39s
    3. Animating a magic carpet jump
      10m 12s
    4. Setting up a magic carpet walk cycle
      7m 41s
    5. Animating a magic carpet walk cycle
      9m 33s
    6. Shape tweening hair
      3m 50s
    7. Intro to overlapping hair
      1m 57s
    8. Animating overlapping hair
      8m 52s
  4. 1h 8m
    1. Animating waves
      8m 7s
    2. Animating clouds
      7m 48s
    3. Animating a flame
      11m 38s
    4. Animating an explosion
      9m 1s
    5. Adding in-betweens to the explosion
      4m 36s
    6. Adding explosion clusters
      6m 43s
    7. Optimizing the explosion
      7m 30s
    8. Animating smoke with particles
      12m 45s
  5. 32m 18s
    1. Introduction to staggers
      1m 5s
    2. Animating a simple stagger
      5m 8s
    3. Animating a diving board
      6m 15s
    4. Animating a tremor
      5m 56s
    5. Animating a scream
      7m 12s
    6. Refining the scream
      6m 42s
  6. 47m 49s
    1. Introduction to Virtual Camera
      5m 4s
    2. Animating parallax
      6m 9s
    3. Animating a crane shot
      6m 26s
    4. Animating a zoom and rotate shot
      9m 30s
    5. Animating a track shot
      11m 0s
    6. Lighting a 3D shot
      9m 40s
  7. 19m 48s
    1. Animating a cross dissolve
      6m 10s
    2. Animating a wipe
      3m 34s
    3. Animating a fadeout
      10m 4s
  8. 20s
    1. Goodbye
      20s

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Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
5h 16m Intermediate Aug 09, 2011

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Dermot O' Connor introduces a variety of real-world issues that animators commonly encounter and offers practical solutions to them in Flash. The course covers how to apply gradients to create subtle texture and light characters, reducing the flat look of most cartoons; how to simulate natural phenomenon such as wind, fire, and clouds; how to mimic 3D space; and how to add fades and transitions to create custom cuts between scenes. The course also includes a look at staggers, which can be used to create camera shake, tremor effects, and extreme character reactions.

Topics include:
  • Overlapping and animating colors
  • Creating lens flares
  • Animating hair with shape tweens
  • Animating an explosion
  • Animating smoke with particles
  • Animating a scream
  • Using Virtual Cam
  • Lighting a 3D shot
  • Animating cross dissolves
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation
Software:
Flash Professional
Author:
Dermot O' Connor

Setting up a magic carpet walk cycle

So now we're going to take our carpet and make it walk; our dollar bill, or whatever you want to call this green rectangle. So let me zoom out a little bit and let's have a look. So that's a nice little walk cycle. And if we double-click on that symbol you can see how it's constructed. Essentially, he's walking in place. It's all shape tweened. And we have, beneath here, our little guide layers. Notice how his feet, when they hit the ground they stay; they follow one of those guide layers. And so the thing to do is basically animate him in place, so he's walking over an imaginary center of gravity. And then to make him walk across the screen, we take this symbol, and we motion tween it to create this kind of walk. And that's how I tend to do a lot of these walk cycles.

It gives you the flexibility; you can keep making them walk as long as you like from left to right. So let's do a very quick overview of the classic walk cycle poses, and this is from my animation blog. So we have the contact pose, that's the first one that we'll do. And that's where the heel of the leading foot contacts the ground, and he walks through the recoil, the passing, the high point, back into the contact, that's the opposite of the first one. And the second most important pose in the sequence is the passing pose, and that will help us to determine a lot of the flexibility and the personality in the walk.

So the recoils and the high points fill it in. And they basically just allow us to give that feeling of gravity by pushing the head and the mass of the body down a little bit. Okay, so let's go into the Flash file, and I'm going to just right-click on this, and click Edit. And because we don't want to take too long to do this, I'm going to work within the existing scene, and show you how I did this by redoing it. So I'm going to take the walk layer, right-click, and clear those keyframes. And we have the standing pose, this is actually the pose I used as a reference, it's the same as the pose from the previous scene that we did with this character.

And we have our guidelines on the ground. So what you want is a guided out layer with these two parallel lines; maybe a slight angle. We have our little reference image, which we will just use for a moment. And we have, obviously, our blank layer for walking positions, and a position that informs as of the keyframes. So what I do is I hit F7 to create a series of blank keyframes, and I use the label feature; it's a very useful tool for putting notes on your animation Timeline. Sometimes I'll have 2 or 3 notes full of these little labels.

So we have on Frame 5 the recoil, and you can see as I click here, you can type in any descriptor you want; C, R, P, H might be fine too, if that's the enough for you. High point is on Frame 13, the passing was on Frame 9, the next contact is Frame 17, then 21 for the next recoil, then 25 for the next passing, then 29 for the final highpoint, and we cycle back on Frame 33 to another frame that's just the same as the start.

So the next thing to do will be to copy of the standing position into the walking layer, so I'm going to make F6 to make a new key, and drop it in there. Now it's turned my layer into a guide layer; I don't want that to be a guide layer, because I want to see this, so switch that off. And I'm now going to hide that standing pose layer; that's only there for checking references for volumes, and the size of the object. So let's padlock our little orange guidelines; we don't want them to move. And I am going to make the first keyframe. So let's move, I'm thinking of this as his left foot, his physical left foot forward, and his physical right foot back. And don't forget the opposing action: if the right foot is back, the right arm is forward, so we'll do the same thing here.

So something like that, and you might want to see how far you can get away with this, that's not too bad. So we want to cycle back into this frame, so let's go to the final frame and hit F6. So we are going to start here, and we're going to stop here. And we need another contact position here that will be the same as this, but with the feet and the shoulders in opposite positions.

So one thing that makes this much easier; let's make a new layer, and I'm going to copy Alt+Option+Drag this above. Go into an outline mode, so this will be a reference layer, and let's switch our outline to something that we can see a little more easily, like black. So let's padlock that. And let's put our guidelines back on. And this is pretty simple; all we have to do is pull the feet into the opposite positions. And don't forget, we're looking at this at a slight angle, so that's why we don't go completely past these points. And we simply move the shoulders as well.

The right foot is forward, the right shoulder is back; the left foot is back, the left shoulder is forward. So if you are confused, don't worry; walk cycles are confusing, but if in doubt, refer back to this image. So we have a nice opposing action now, and I think we can get rid of the temporary frame, and this is usually a good sign. So I want to pull the lines forward just a little bit, so that we match the nice line of action. This a pretty confident walk. So let's activate shape tweening. I'm going to right-click; Create Shape Tween.

If by accident you're unlucky enough to create motion tweens here or here, don't worry; just hit Control+Z until you go back to the grayed Timeline, and select shape tween again. What you want to see is this nice green color with a solid arrow between them. If you see dots between these, that means you have a symbol or a group contaminating your Timeline. You have to find them and get rid of them. You can only have shapes on the Timelines for shape tweening to work. So as you see, here it's not quite working yet, so we need to add some hints. So you can Modify>Shape>Add Shape Hint, or Control+Shift+H. And I'm going to pop a hint down there. And as I will say before and again, always save your file before you apply hints, because there are very rare conditions when you can overload Flash and crash the program. And it's a terrible thing to lose all the work.

So I'm just going to keep hitting Control+ Shift+H and apply a few more hints. And you can see with each hint that I add, I've got better transition. Sometimes you have to put them in different positions. There is no fixed method for this; it's just trial and error. But you will get a feeling, with experience, as to what kind of shapes seem to favor a stable shape tween. So, the first leg is solid; he is obviously not really walking. It's more of a moon walk; his feet are stuck on the ground. But that's the first step in the process.

So I am going to make four more hints and drop them directly over the previous ones, so that we can complete the second step; beautiful! So that's the first phase of the walk cycle, and we have laid down the contact positions, and now we can move on and apply the recoils, passing, and high points, and bring this little guy to life.

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