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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.
So even if you're just going to animate a single scene, bear in mind that you might at some point reuse it or the artwork in that scene in a later project. This can be fairly common. So to make this process easier or possible you should create and stick to a uniform project scale if you can. This means keeping your characters and your props roughly in the same size as one another. So this is going to make it possible to move your objects and props from one project to another and from one figure to another with fewer scaling issues. So here we're looking at some characters from a recent project that I worked on called Bounce-a-rama and there are seven major characters and they interact a lot.
So I thought let's keep all these guys in the same size so that we can safely move them and share them in the same area without having one at 10% and one at 1000%. So I want to show you how that operates. Let's just empty the stage, work on a clean layer. Let's say we bring Amelia onto the stage, open her folder, drop her in, and let's pick another character. We'll bring Bounce in. By default he is the same scale. He is a kid. She is a grownup, so he is about the right size. So let's say we want to do a scene where one of these guys hands a pizza to the other, bring the pizza onto the stage.
It's also the same scale, about the right size for one of these guys. Let's suppose we want to give that to Amelia. We'll make an even layer here. Drop in the pizza. It still is the right size. And if we went into Bounce's symbol, paste it in there, it's the same size. The reason being they're all to the same scale. It seems obvious, but let's look at what happens if you have your characters set up by maybe more than one artist or you've worked in one scale and then in another project you've worked in a totally different one. So we'll do the same thing. We'll bring Bounce onto the stage and this time we'll bring in Mr. Farling, and let's imagine that somebody took Mr. Farling's design and instead of matching it to Bounce they made him gigantic.
So now every time we put him on the Stage, we have to scale him down, and we have to get it right. Maybe you have to check to make sure you've scaled it to the right level. Is this really how big he is supposed to be relative to Bounce? I don't know. So then you have to check that. Okay, so you finally get it, you're reasonably halfway, but that's the right size and then the same problem. You have to do a scene where somebody gives a pizza. So maybe we have Bounce go up. So here's his pizza and I want to give that to Mr. Farling and he made the hand off, so I put it in there and lo and behold, of course it's tiny because Mr. Farling's symbol is huge.
Now you have to go in and resize the symbol, trying to match it to the one out here. Let's copy that and then later on in the scene if you have to hand it back, it's huge! This is one simple example and I've had this happened on professional productions that I worked on and it's not fun. It's already tricky enough as we have to do a scene where Mr. Farling hands a pizza to Bounce without having to worry about the thing being 400 times bigger than it's supposed to be. So that's the importance of keeping all your guys onto one scale.
Just pick a scale that works for you. I like rigging my characters on a stage that's about 640x480 or 800x600 is usually good. So I would definitely pick something. I think 800x600 would be more than safe, and allow that stage dimension to determine the maximum size of your characters if you can. Sometimes you have to vary things. That's okay, but as your default setting if you can keep all your stuff in one scale, I think you'll find that as you proceed and do more-and-more work, you'll really appreciate the value of being able to swap and share and move these things back and forth.
So we'll move onto the next.
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