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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.
Sometimes, you'll find it very useful to make your own shortcuts or macro scripts basically. Many times in Flash, depending on your workflow, you'll find yourself doing the same repetitive click over and over and over again and it can really slow you down. So I want to show you how to make your own commands and it's fairly simple. So the big one, the one in animation, is setting tweens. I'm going to be having all kinds of different tweens. So here is how we do it. Go to File. Open our special commands project. Let's close that.
So our friend and this will be a panel lot of people don't use. It's the History panel and this keeps a record of everything you do. So if you look at the panel, watch as I create different objects. This, as in Photoshop, keeps a little record of these actions and the cool thing is you can save these and play them back. So what we are going to do is set some tweens and save these commands and make our own. So the first thing we want to do is have a clean slate. So let's go up to the Timeline, make a new layer, get rid of the old one, and as you can see a lot of rubbish and junk here, so let's clear our history.
Yes, get rid of all of that. What I want is to create a command for a simple motion tween and we can already do it from up here. We can go Insert > Classic Tween. We'll be using Classic Tween a lot and Shape Tween a lot. The problem is every time you move from the Timeline up to Insert Tween, you're putting miles on your mouse and you really are slowing yourself down. It completely breaks the flow. So let's-- as I said we'll make our own. So we'll go to the Timeline, click on the frame, go Insert > Classic Tween and now that's a basic tween with no ease in and no ease out.
Now we select Create Classic Tween. Save As Command. I'm going to call it tween 0. Click OK. Now to test this tween, I'm going to make a new layer, select that, and go to Commands > tween 0 and as you can see that's done. The beauty of this is we can assign a keyboard shortcut to tween 0 and this can really speed up, as you can already imagine I'm sure, the workflow. So let's make a few of these. This is a generic tween with no ease- in or ease-out. You'll find this so you begin to move symbols around the screen.
Now you want some to favor one key or favor another to ease in or ease out. I like to delete this history every time because this can get confusing and we're going to be doing multiple steps here. So let's create a tween. And now I'm going to create an ease in, -50. Now we have a multiple series of actions. So these two, Create Classic Tween and setting the frame property or tween easing, -50, this is the command that we want to create. Right-click, Save As Command.
I'm going to call this tween -50 and again every time I do this, I like to test it. Go to Commands > tween -50 and perfect. I want to repeat this process again. Clear History. I'm going to create a tween, and ease out this time. Save the command, tween +50, and that should be it, let me do a -- No reason why it shouldn't work, but I'll just test these and there we go.
You can make your own. If you don't like 50, if you prefer 60 or 100, go for it, but this is the area that I like to work from and I can change it later on if I want to get fancy. So the next thing you would do would be to assign a keyboard shortcut. Again, all these commands are logged under the Commands menu and there we have them. Now at this point you'll find your keyboard is getting very, very cluttered. It can be extremely challenging to find a nice, simple-to-use keyboard shortcut.
I tend to be quite bogged down. So this is where the numeric keypad comes in. Now if you're working on a keyboard that's on a small laptop and you don't have the numeric keyboard, I would advise you to get an external keyboard with a numeric keypad. Very quickly see how advantageous this is. I can assign to the tween +50 to the 6 key, tween -50 to the 4 key and the regular tween, the generic one, to 5. Drop these shortcuts in very, very easily.
I would repeat the same process. Instead of making motion tweens now, we can make shape tweens. To do this, we need to create some shapes. I'm hitting F6 to create a second key and now Insert > Shape Tween and Window > Other Panels > History. And I didn't follow my advice of deleting the history and this is the result. But I think we can figure it out. Create Shape Tween.
Save As Command and call it tween shape 0, OK, and now we should be able to assign one of these. Commands > tween shape 0. I'm going to repeat the process for ease in 50 and ease out 50. And we'll have a complete set of short codes assigned to the numeric keypad for shape tweening and motion tweening, easing in on the 4 key and the 1 key, easing out on the 6 key and the 3 key.
So let's create the remaining two tweens. I want to keep this window open. Workspace. No, Other Panels > History and let's keep it clean, clear the history, yes. Let's get that square back, Ctrl+C, Ctrl+V. This is just rough and ready. This doesn't have to be fancy. Do this on a completely clean layer, and F6. Again, you'll find yourself doing this a lot, clearing this history to keep it clean.
Now go Insert > Shape Tween and then pull it into -50. Save As Command, tween shape -50, repeat for the out, F6. Again, I'm going to clean this up. Insert > Shape Tween, ease out to 50, Save As Command and then we have our slate of shape tween shortcuts. Map them onto the keyboard shortcuts.
I'm using the 4, 5 and 6 numeric keypads for the motion tween. I'm going to use 1, 2 and 3 with +50, the 3 key, -50, the 1 key and the 0 key, set to 2. That looks good. So there is one more thing that I like to have easy access to. As you're setting tweens on the keyboard, sometimes you want to be able to switch it off and we're going to create a command to remove all the tweening information on the Timeline.
So let's just click onto one of the pre- existing timelines in the blue and again this is a big one so let's clear the history, yup. So first thing I like to do is make sure that there is no ease in or ease out information buried in the timeline. Go to Insert > Remove Tween and now select these two, Save As Command, and go tween remove and I need to test this to make sure it still works. Command > tween remove, and of course it's gone.
Let's make sure it works in the shape tween layer, yes. I want to make sure that it also has removed all of the ease in and ease out information and it has on this one. I'm just going to test it on a few of these to make sure that work. Yeah, it seems to be resetting it completely back to zero and we now have the ability to basically delete any tween information on the timeline with the stroke of a key. Map this onto the number 8 key on the numeric keypad.
Now you have complete control over classic tweening with one hand without ever having to move from the numeric keypad. As you can see the numeric keypad is your best friend. It's going to save you a lot of time when you start throwing motion tweens and shape tweens all over the place. I can't recommend that enough. You can still work without it. You can still do everything through running up here. Your mouse is going to be doing this a lot and you're going to start getting really tired of that and before the extensions came along, we had to do this. We were moving your mouse from here to there.
It's not fun and being able to assign tweens with moving of a single finger means you can focus on your work, your animation on being creative.
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