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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.
In this part of the course, we'll take a hand-drawn cartoon character and convert him into a fully rigged and vectorized Flash puppet ready to be animated. We're going to use the basic Flash drawing tools and find out how to name and layer the symbols. So, here is our starting position, a hand-drawn, basic fairly generic character figure in five different poses. This is the kind of thing you get in an animation studio, a nice turnaround like this. And so, I'm going to show you the final product, so you can have an idea about where we're going to be going over the course of the next few chapters.
So, this is the character in Flash, fully rigged, and I'll show you the structure of this rig in outline form. So, if we select all the outlines, as you can see, there's one layer for the right leg, one for the left. There is one for the head. Let's go back into color mode. It's a little bit easier to follow. So, what I'm going to do is take one of these layers, say the right arm, and show you how it works when we begin to move this puppet. So, the big issue that you'll see right away is some gaps opening up. Obviously, we can close off and fill later on, but this is just to give you a general idea about how we can take this cutout character and put him into poses and situations that we can then begin to animate.
Let me roll this guy back to his starting position. So, I'm hitting Ctrl+Z to undo, and I'm going to show you the basic process that we use. F6 to make a keyframe, and then I'm going to hit the second keyframe, move it to a slightly new position, and then create a Classic motion tween. That's a movement. We can then push this. It's pretty simple, but that is the methodology that we will use to create this character and to make him animate.
So now that you've seen how the symbols are tweened. In the next segment I will show you how they're actually structured in a little more detail, and how the eyes and the mouth and the head will work in tandem with the body.
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