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The animation tools have been greatly enhanced in Flash CS4, and Todd Perkins teaches their advanced capabilities in Flash CS4 Professional Tools for Character Animation. He shows how to master the new Motion Tween model and the Motion Editor to control easing and effects such as Squash and Stretch. He demonstrates how to use the new 3D tools to add rotation, perspective shadows, and layered animations. Complex interactive animations and walk cycles are created without a line of code using bone systems. Todd also demonstrates the power of advanced masking, sound effect syncing, and much more. Exercise files accompany the course.
In this chapter we are going to be looking at animating walk cycles. Before we start animating the walk cycles, I am going to show you how walk cycles work. If you are following along, go ahead and open up Example_Walk_Cycle.fla from the Chapter 6 folder. If you don't have the Exercise Files, you can just watch and follow along. This video is mainly for you to learn how walk cycles work. So I am going to test the movie and show the walk cycle that I have here, Command+Return on the Mac, Ctrl+Enter on the PC.
So here is the character walking across the screen. Notice his legs move and his arms swing back and forth and his body and head move as well. I will close the Preview window and we'll take a look at how this is set up. First I'll need to head over to frame 1. Now I will use the Selection tool and double click the monster to enter its Timeline. In the Timeline of the monster, there are 40 frames. Now almost all of these elements are organized as graphic symbols so that I can scrub the playhead and preview the animation.
When you are animating a walk cycle, you need to know about the four main positions. I am going to show you those now. The first one is called the Contact position. The Contact position is where the leg is touching the ground, so this front leg here is what we are focusing on. So we have a kind of an imaginary floor here where I am moving my mouse, and the toe is touching that area. So that's the first one, the Contact phase. The next phase happens at about frame 7. This is called the Recoil phase.
Notice the leg is moving up and getting ready to move forward again; so Contact and then Recoil. The third phase in the animation is called Passing. That's at about frame 13 in my animation. This is where the legs cross over each other. The final phase is called the High Point. In my animation the High Point is at the frame 18. See there the front leg is at its highest point. It just about to stump down and then slide back to take another step. So you can see the front leg does that and the back leg does the same thing; Contact, Recoil, Passing, and then High Point.
These legs are actually instances of the same movie clip. I just scaled the back leg and then moved it behind everything else. So throughout this chapter you will learn how to animate the different elements of a walk cycle. Remember, when you are animating a walk cycle, you have the four important poses: Contact, Recoil, Passing and High Point.
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