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Rigging a Face in Flash Professional
Illustration by John Hersey

Using the rig with audio


From:

Rigging a Face in Flash Professional

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Using the rig with audio

Now we are going to finally bring speech to our character. So what I have done is created a couple of very short lines. They are in the Library in a new folder called audio in your 06_03 exercise files. So we have a happy line dialog. (character speaking: I'm happy!) And an angry one. (character speaking: But now I'm mad!) Okay, so it's not exactly Shakespeare, but it will work. So let's make a new symbol to house the animation that we are going to do. We are going to base this on the dialog first.
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  1. 14m 16s
    1. Introduction
      42s
    2. What you should know
      2m 0s
    3. Setting up Flash
      8m 35s
    4. Dos and don'ts
      2m 59s
  2. 59m 26s
    1. Establishing the directions
      7m 9s
    2. Setting up layers for the head
      6m 58s
    3. Drawing the head
      19m 2s
    4. Creating the mouth
      11m 27s
    5. Drawing the eyes
      4m 31s
    6. Animating the eye blink
      10m 19s
  3. 48m 0s
    1. Creating happy mouth dialogue shapes, part one
      10m 24s
    2. Creating happy mouth dialogue shapes, part two
      7m 43s
    3. Creating mad or sad mouth dialogue shapes
      10m 7s
    4. Creating neutral mouth dialogue shapes
      7m 36s
    5. Building unique mouth shapes
      12m 10s
  4. 29m 27s
    1. Creating jubilant expressions
      11m 47s
    2. Creating furious expressions
      6m 4s
    3. Fine-tuning expressions
      11m 36s
  5. 1h 9m
    1. Clock rotation demonstration
      2m 23s
    2. Creating the twelve-o'clock pose
      9m 2s
    3. Creating the six-o'clock pose
      5m 19s
    4. Creating the three-o'clock pose
      10m 16s
    5. Creating the nine-o'clock pose
      9m 35s
    6. Creating the remaining poses
      13m 17s
    7. Fine-tuning the head rotation
      11m 54s
    8. Fixing layering issues
      7m 42s
  6. 2h 10m
    1. Introducing the turnaround
      2m 55s
    2. Creating the B head (3-quarter)
      6m 45s
    3. Creating the C head (profile)
      8m 51s
    4. Creating the D head (3-quarter rear)
      13m 2s
    5. Creating the E head (rear)
      8m 59s
    6. In-betweening symbols manually
      9m 58s
    7. Creating the H head
      6m 41s
    8. Creating the G head
      11m 33s
    9. Creating the F head
      19m 18s
    10. Creating the B mouth (3-quarter)
      13m 41s
    11. Creating the C mouth (profile)
      14m 33s
    12. Adding detail to the C mouth
      7m 42s
    13. Creating other mouths
      6m 28s
  7. 54m 24s
    1. Putting together a head rotation
      14m 29s
    2. Moving frames between symbols to make a rotation
      10m 23s
    3. Using the rig with audio
      14m 59s
    4. Adding expressions to the animation
      14m 33s
  8. 1m 0s
    1. Goodbye
      1m 0s

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Rigging a Face in Flash Professional
6h 46m Intermediate Sep 19, 2012

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

In this course, author Dermot O' Connor offers experienced Flash designers a step-by-step guide for creating and animating a full-featured cartoon face in Adobe Flash Professional. The course begins with some best practices for setting up the rig and moves on to building facial features such as the mouth and eyes, sculpting the mouth to simulate dialogue, and creating a range of expressions. The course also shows how to rotate the head using poses, move the rig along multiple axes, and incorporate audio.

Topics include:
  • Setting up layers for the head
  • Animating blinks
  • Fine-tuning expressions
  • Fixing layering issues
  • Adding expressions to the animation
Subjects:
3D + Animation Character Animation
Software:
Flash Professional
Author:
Dermot O' Connor

Using the rig with audio

Now we are going to finally bring speech to our character. So what I have done is created a couple of very short lines. They are in the Library in a new folder called audio in your 06_03 exercise files. So we have a happy line dialog. (character speaking: I'm happy!) And an angry one. (character speaking: But now I'm mad!) Okay, so it's not exactly Shakespeare, but it will work. So let's make a new symbol to house the animation that we are going to do. We are going to base this on the dialog first.

So let's go into the mt A folder, or symbol, right-click on that, click Duplicate, and we will call this mt A dialog. And always duplicate your symbols. Never, ever alter these unless you are changing the rig itself. If you are going to create a new animation, always make a duplicate and then do all your experimental work in here. So that's it, let's just work inside the mouth symbol to do the dialog line. Double-click on that and here we have the familiar set. Of course it's a dupe, so always double- check, triple-check, and we need to drop the audio track into here.

So right at the top of the timeline I'll make a new layer, and let's go to the Library and find the audio folder and drop the happy.wav file onto the stage. It doesn't matter where, and there we see our wav file. We will make another blank keyframe here. Hit F7, back to the Library, drop the mad sound and put that onto the stage now, and let's hide all of our symbols, and we will just move through. (character speaking: I'm happy! But now I'm mad!) Super! So the first thing we want to do is to create the happy line of dialog, and guess what? We are going to use the happy mouth shapes, and when we are done with that, we will do the mad line of dialog using the mad side of mouth shapes.

So let's make some room on the timeline. So I am going to just click from the emotions to the--and actually this reference layer, I think we can delete. Let's get rid of that. So select from the emotions layer through to the lip layer and just drag and remove them all, roughly to about here to give us a bit of room, essentially so we can just see our standard mouth shapes here so we have easy room to access them and drop them down in the area that we are working on. So let's scrub through again. (character speaking: I'm happy!) Now when I'm playing a dialog--and again, remember that we have these six basic shapes, and I am going to padlock everything so we don't accidentally change anything.

The critical shapes are the phonetic sounds to nail with great accuracy are the closed mouth shapes, and that will be the A mouth, and again these labels, a, b, c, d, e, f, don't apply to the actual sound we are hearing. They're simply quick ways to remember the different shapes of the mouth themselves. So the F mouth, for example, creates the ooh sound and the A will be a buh, muh, puh sound and so forth. So let's start with the A mouth, and I'm going to select this column here, hold down Alt/Option and drag, and now we begin with the closed mouth.

So the next thing I'm looking for are all the instances where we hear another closed mouth. (character speaking: I'm happy!) I'm, so we'll have one about here. Happy, so I am just eyeballing it, and when we hear it... I think about here is good. And then watch again and make a mental note of where you see this, and when you hear the closed mouth shape, the I'm happy. (character speaking: I'm happy!) That looks pretty good to me. So let's just copy some more A mouths, and if you ever accidentally find that you move instead of copy which I've done quite a few times, always be sure to repair your area over here, because you don't want to lose them.

(character speaking: I'm happy!) Okay, so that when he says happy, that will be our end mouth, and that will be like the B shape where his mouth is pinched into this little crescent shape. So let's select these, hold down Alt/Option on the Mac and drag to here. Okay, and I think then it'll be pretty safe to leave that there. (character speaking: I'm happy!) Now the next thing we want to do is the open shapes for the mouth, and if you listen again to how loud they are, that's a good guide for how large of a shape we want to assign here. (character speaking: I'm happy!) So I'm happy, the A sound on happy seems to me a little bit louder, think about here.

So when I find that point, I just hit F7 to put a little placeholder, and let's pick the d for the wide-open mouth. And conversely, let's use a medium- sized mouth for the I'm. (character speaking: I'm happy!) Looking pretty close already. (character speaking: I'm happy!) Now we could just grab a C for the happy period, but let's pick a different one, so we can--actually the beauty of this system is we can actually create in-between shapes here that are slightly different sizes.

And they should be pretty stable. We shouldn't see any shape flickering if we've done right. So I am just going to make one there and drag it over. (character speaking: I'm happy!) Looks good. The other thing that we can do to finesse this a little bit. In general, when you go from a closed mouth to an open to a closed, it's nice if you open faster and then you have a few extra frames to go back into the closed, and we might try to push this happy a little bit. But the other thing that we can do, for example, by moving a back one, that will make it pop more.

(character speaking: I'm happy! I'm happy!) And the other thing that we can do is hold the closed mouth for two frames, let's do that and see what that looks like, and that's because sometimes the A mouth can disappear. If it closes only for one frame and one-thirtieth of a second, it can almost be invisible to the eye. So let's just hold the A mouth for a little bit longer, see what that looks like. (character speaking: I'm happy! I'm happy!) That's pretty snappy. (character speaking: I'm happy!) Good, done.

So as you can see, that's the general process, and we just proceed now. We're going to repeat that identical procedure for the mad or sad section. So I am going to clear the happy placeholder keyframes, and let's just move forward just a little bit. So now we have our angry wav shape here, and let's see what he says. (character speaking: But now I'm mad!) Okay, so he starts right from the beginning with that bah, and that's going to be our closed mouth or the A mouth, and again we have our sad angry mouth here.

Let's drag that to there. Oops! And if you go to the wrong level just pull it in a little bit, and I am going to also copy our mad/sad label, so that we can more easily follow. So when we look through the timeline, we can see the changes of general emotional state, so we can see this is now beginning a different set of A-F mouth shapes, okay, and I am going to widen this a little bit so that I can see more of the timeline. Often when I do this I'll make the timeline really long so that here's the entire area and then a bit of extra on each side, move that up to here so we can see it, and let's hit this and hit F5 just to give us a little more room, okay.

(character speaking: But now I'm--) But now I'm. So we have an M sound, and that's another closed mouth. That could be about there. (character speaking: But now I'm mad!) And mad, I'm seeing that around here. And I think I am hitting that a bit late, so I'll move that back one. (character speaking: But now I'm mad!) That's about right I think, so let's grab these, Alt/Option and drag, and this time I am just going to hold them for two frames since you know that system works.

(character speaking: But now--) And buh should also probably be held for two. (character speaking: But now I'm mad!) Great! The next thing to do is here we have a but now I'm, but now, the oo sound on now is interesting, so let's... (character speaking: But now I'm--) Let's put that in, and I think that's around here, putting in a blank keyframe. (character speaking: But now I'm--) Let's say that's about right. So let's hit the F, Alt/Option and drag to there. (character speaking: But now I'm mad!) Mad is one big long movement of the mouth, so let's make some space to drop those shapes in, and I think the B sound will be the nice one to end there. Mad, it's a really, really long one.

This is for having this blending system for a dialog really comes in handy, because if you only had six or seven or eight static mouth shapes, getting these to work and to really look smooth will be almost impossible. So let's--mad, I think they're a little too slow, so let's move the D in a little bit, so it's moving now to frame 61, and that's have the B sound a little sooner. (character speaking: --mad!) Better. So let's go back in now and just drop in the rest.

But, but, so the but will have another B sound around here. May be a little sooner, Alt/Option and drag to where you think that should go, And I'll drag the C mouth from here. So the C mouth is now on frame 34, the B mouth is on frame 37, let's see how that. (character speaking: But now I'm--) Now you see a weak transition from the B to the F. You almost don't see it.

So let's make that just open up a little bit, and I don't want to use the C mouth, it should be subtle. So what I'll do is make a secondary keyframe somewhere in here. Let's pick this one, hit F6 and drag those over to here. (character speaking: But now I'm--) Now you really notice it because you go from the ee to a little more widely open, before you go into the F. And what that does is it creates that chewing action. And the same thing applies here, but now I'm, so we go from the F, and we want something very similar to this, maybe a C will work for that. Let's copy that to here.

(character speaking: --now I'm mad!) Great! But now I'm. I think we can keep the A mouth here all throughout this. So I am going to clear that and clear that, and let's keep the mouth closed from here through here. (character speaking: --now I'm mad! But now I'm mad!) Great, so that will really read from there to there, and I think we can switch off the tweens here and our dialog scene will end around there, I am going to double-click to select all those frames, right-click and go Remove Frames, just housekeeping, keeping the timeline nice and clean.

(character speaking: I'm happy! But now I'm mad!) Fantastic! Now there is a couple of little fine tunes we can do. If you remember we had these three basic-- I can get rid of the rest of the mouth and the sides at the moment. When I will do this in a production setting, I would always keep all of the different standard mouth shapes here, because it's nice to have them if I want to change something later on. But for the purpose of this tutorial because the timeline is getting really long, I am going to just delete these, and now we want to see how we can relate the custom mouth shapes to the rest of the scene, and I think we can integrate a couple of these with the dialog line to really punch it up a little bit, and let's see where we can add them. (character speaking: I'm happy!) So he says I'm happy. So the really big shape on here is this one.

What if we were able to use this jubilant mouth which is even wider? Let's try that. I'll hold that down, Alt/Option and drag, and copy it to here. (character speaking: I'm happy!) See, so that's how that will go. And you really feel that. You feel it more than see it. (character speaking: I'm happy!) You might think it's a little over the top, in which case you can tone it down a little bit. But that's pretty good I think. (character speaking: I'm happy! But now I'm mad!) [00:12:18.79ll] Okay, so maybe we can do the same thing at the end here.

So that's the angry B mouth, but we also have a really nice furious mouth here which is really more extreme. So let's copy that, Alt/Option and drag to here, and now I am just going to switch off the tweens just so that we end it at the right point. (character speaking: --happy! But now I'm mad!) That's great. So we end on a frame that really shows us that we have more inner arsenal than just six standard shapes and different emotions, and we can create all kinds of custom notes, as you proceed, and you start to animate more and more and more, as long as you follow the same pattern of structuring your images, you can have an enormous library--not just the one, two, three of these, but you could conceivably have 20, 30, 40 different custom mouths and be able to blend most of them with our regular dialog and go back and forth that will really give you incredible power.

One last thing that we need to do here, and that's slow in or ease in, and that will add a lot more subtlety. So let's select these just the shape tweens, go to Properties and under Ease, set that to 80. So we are easing out to 80, and what that's going to do is it's going to ease in to there, and you'll see the difference now on the top level compared to the lower ones that don't have it yet. It's a much smoother motion. We'll do the same thing for the classic tweens, and we'll do the same thing for the bottom layers, too, and now let's go back to the beginning.

(character speaking: I'm happy!) And I think we should do the same thing here so that we end on happy, we slow in there. (character speaking: I'm happy! But now I'm mad!) Great, and there we have it. So I am just going to delete the custom shapes from the end. Again, were this a project that I was working on at home, I would keep the entire stack of standard shapes on here like I said, because it's handy, if I change my mind later on, or I want to add something extra to have them right there in the timeline.

But if you'll delete them, it's not a big deal, you can copy them back in from the original rig file. So and one last piece of work, just call that sound and right-click on that, make the Outline Color for sound white as well, because it doesn't have any graphical elements or anything, and there we go. So we have made our first dialog scene, and that's pretty great. So in the next movie what I'm going to do is take this dialog scene and integrate it with the face and make the face and the dialog work together, and that's going to be really, really impressive.

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