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Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional
Illustration by John Hersey
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Shape tweening hair


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Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Shape tweening hair

So this is a demonstration of a technique that I kind of stumbled across by accident, a few years ago. You tend to assume that some shapes are just too complicated to shape tween. And out of pure boredom or desperation, I tried shape tweening a really complicated shape, like this hair, for example, and to give an idea about the context of it. It's just a very simple, very rough hair outline; there is a quick sketch of the character beneath, and there's the hair. So let's -- actually we probably see it better if we look at it in outline mode. Let's play it. And there are no shape hints here; it's all happening without any hinting, which is really amazing.
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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

Shape tweening hair

So this is a demonstration of a technique that I kind of stumbled across by accident, a few years ago. You tend to assume that some shapes are just too complicated to shape tween. And out of pure boredom or desperation, I tried shape tweening a really complicated shape, like this hair, for example, and to give an idea about the context of it. It's just a very simple, very rough hair outline; there is a quick sketch of the character beneath, and there's the hair. So let's -- actually we probably see it better if we look at it in outline mode. Let's play it. And there are no shape hints here; it's all happening without any hinting, which is really amazing.

And the thing that made it work was the use of the Envelope tool. So let me quickly demonstrate this. I will make a new layer. I am just going to copy the existing start position up here, and we will just get rid of the tweens for now. So here we have the outline. Now, if you want to follow along and you don't have the Exercise files, what I would do would be to just pick the Rectangle tool, pick any colors you like, doesn't really matter. Hold down the Alt key, and just make some complex shape that's got a lot of points, and lines, and geometry. And then once you're happy with the fact that it's probably pretty detailed then you can start playing along with this. And you know, obviously put some curves on it to make it feel a little more natural.

So anyway, that's what I would do if you have to generate the assets yourself. So once you have got your regular shape, let's make some keyframes, and I will show you exactly how I did the original. So let's click on Frame 10, and I am going to activate Free Transform, and down here we have the Envelope. So click on that, and you see immediately that the hair has suddenly got a nice little bounding box around it. And as you pull these points, you have access to these little spline handles, and you can just click and drag them. So I am just pulling them into various positions, and now we've made a nice transition.

If I hit Create Shape Tween, that's a smooth motion between that, and we simply repeat the process on the next key. Just do a different one this time. Now this isn't a magic bullet. At some point it's going to break, and it may break on you with a different shape, or a different direction if you pull this too far. If you're careful with it you can always go back to your original position, and work it back until you can get it working again.

So that's basically it; that's the process I have been using. This is very handy, as you can imagine, for things like clouds or natural effects and things. The big problem that you're seeing right here is that it is one continuous mass. So obviously, we would like these hair filaments to move at different speeds, and different directions, and overlapping timings, and so on. But still in all, this is a little more power than you would have if you were simply using motion tweening to stretch and squash the object.

So let me just play that again. And we have the original layer too. So that's a very useful tool. I would warn you of one thing that they seem to have changed in the new version. In the older versions you could select more than one layer, like this, and you could then use the Envelope tool. In the new version they've disabled that. So unfortunately, we can only apply this to one layer now. And that is a bit of problem. I don't know why, but people who have an old version lying around, or are wondering whether they should upgrade, might want to bear that in mind if this is important to them. But we can work around all these problems of course.

And in the next section, I'll show you how we can break apart the hair, and the different layers, and extract even more performance from this technique.

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