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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.
So this is a thumbnail sketch of what we are going to be doing in the next section. And it's very importan,t before you animate, that you know what exactly you're going to animate. And it's a very bad habit a lot of people have, in 2D or 3D, or hand drawn animation; they just start drawing. And sometimes that can be fun and useful, but for most of the time it's not really a good idea unless you want to spend four times as long doing something. So it's a good idea to sit back, and think, and figure out exactly what you want to do, and how few keyframes you can do it in. Don't make more keyframes if you don't have to make them. It will look better; you will enjoy it more.
So here is a scene of the square character that we used in the last section, and it's just doing a simple action; in this case it's a jump. Now we can animate this jump any number of ways, but this is a pretty standard one where he begins in his zero pose, anticipates into the squash, pushes off the ground, gathers at the high point of the jump where he becomes weightless for a moment, begins to become pulled back to the ground by gravity, impacts, and settles. We could add, like, a little high point here before he settles back into that, but for now let's just keep it to these seven keys.
So when we did this originally, I was planning on getting a Wacom tablet set up so I could actually draw this with a little more dignity, but I think a lot of people don't have tablets and drawing tools. So I want to do it with a mouse just to show you that even with the handicap of having a mouse and not being able to draw to well, you can still do a thumbnail plan. So I am going to hide that, and let's just pick the Brush tool. Make sure we have a smallish brush selected, and brush shape, circular is fine. So again, going from memory anyway, so I already know what I am going to do, but let's make our main keys, and we have seven of them. And we were starting from, like, a standing pose. Ending in the identical pose, maybe further to the right.
And we are just going to draw what we know we need. So I am going to squash. And, you know, you can put little notes on it for arcs; maybe it's going to move down, you might not go straight down, you might go a little bit to the right. Frame 3, it begins to push off the ground, so you want a nice contrasting shape from 2 to 3 to really sell that force. And again you might want to make little arrow notes and directions to yourself.
On Frame 4 he gathers at the very high point of the jump, and he recovers his original shape. And you know make little notes to make sure that his volume is consistent between all of these frames. And on Frame 5, gravity again takes over. And you see on this one his -- I guess the screen left foot is in the same place here and here. So it's nice if the opposite foot begins to lead the action on the way down. That will create a nice little overlapping effect there, and he'll be arching down like that. And then Frame 6 will be like Frame 2. And just watch your ground plane and make sure that the ground plane is consistent through all of these. And let's squish him down this way, so it's a slightly different pose from Frame 2, but it's still squish; something like that.
And then in terms of spacing, don't forget we can put little spacing notes in here. So this would be like a slow in, from 3 to 4, and a slow out. Or ease in, and ease out from 4 as he begins to pause at the top of the jump. And that's basically it. So now we have our scene planned. And in the original, what I did was I just spent a little bit of time, and I cut the different frames out, and put them in place on the Stage, so it gives me an idea of the timing of the scene. And you can do the same as you need. Maybe put down, like, a guide layer so that you can keep the foot placement consistent.
But as you can see in the top, it's allowed me to plan the amount of horizontal travel, because it's kind of hard to see on the thumbnails. We are looking at them just moving up and down. You can kind of infer that it clearly is going to be moving some distance between 3, 4 and 5; between 1, 2 and 3 he will be in the same place, and then 5, 6 and 7 he is going to be in the same place. I strongly recommend, can't recommend enough in fact, that you take a little bit of time before any of your scenes -- on paper and pencil if you want; doesn't matter, and doesn't matter how bad your drawings are.
Any planning that you do will help you animate the scene, and retain a little more control over it. So with that we can proceed to actually animate the scene.
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