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Vectorizing the character body

From: Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

Video: Vectorizing the character body

Now we're going to cover how to vectorize the character beginning with the body. Now, what this means is we're going to take the pencil drawing, the sketch of the character, bring it into Flash, and we're going to line it. We're going to draw a series of vector lines over the pencil drawing and that'll enable us to rig and pose the character in Flash and ultimately animate it. So let's take a look first at the sketch. This is our character. This is pretty standard. you'll get your character from the designer if you work for an animation studio, and if they are good one, you'll get it with a turnaround in more than one angle, beginning with the front down view three-quarters profile, all the way to the rearview.

Vectorizing the character body

Now we're going to cover how to vectorize the character beginning with the body. Now, what this means is we're going to take the pencil drawing, the sketch of the character, bring it into Flash, and we're going to line it. We're going to draw a series of vector lines over the pencil drawing and that'll enable us to rig and pose the character in Flash and ultimately animate it. So let's take a look first at the sketch. This is our character. This is pretty standard. you'll get your character from the designer if you work for an animation studio, and if they are good one, you'll get it with a turnaround in more than one angle, beginning with the front down view three-quarters profile, all the way to the rearview.

This is the image we're going to work from. So let's start a new project and let's import the image. So now, we have this huge turnaround on the stage and our bitmap or our PSD file in the Library. So, the first thing I like to do is convert this into a symbol. So let's hit F8. I want to call this bd, short for body, and I'm going to make it a movie clip, which is my shorthand for signifying that it's going to be a big symbol full of lots of secondary symbols, or a comp, or a composite as it's widely known.

Let's keep the Library clean. I'm going to make a new folder, call it character for now, and let's drop all of these inside that. It's very important that we keep our Library clean and organized. For now, this should be enough for the moment. So now let's double-click on the bd symbol and we can work directly in that. So, the ideal would be to start rigging in the front view and the reason being why is that it's fairly easy to take the work what you do, rigging the character in the front view, and then twist it and repurpose it into the three-quarters view and the profile view.

Now, we do not have the time honestly to do that, but it's more than enough to work in that three-quarter view because we can then work the three-quarter view into the profile view. These are the two poses that we're going to be working with in this course. It's actually also quite rare to do production work in the complete flat front down view. If you've seen TV shows, they tend to avoid too many direct front down views. slightly three-quarters is the norm. So, we're going to start working with the three-quarter pose. So after we align that up, center it roughly around the character's center of mass, then we are ready to begin lining this character.

Okay, so the next thing we have to do is remove the character layers that we don't need. That is the other four. So let's right-click and break apart the layer and then select and delete the parts that we don't need. Ctrl+X here and here. Very important that we padlock the reference layer and name it ref for reference. Next, we make a series of layers for the different body parts. You can be a pretty broad at this point.

You do not have to be too exact. We want more than one layer to work into. So, we'll need one for the head, neck, torso, so I would guess seven or eight. So, we can just think, okay, one for the head, one for the neck, one for the upper torso, lower torso or the groin area, the right arm, the left arm, the right leg, the left leg, and the feet. So, now we have that, we can just throw in some names, and I like to keep the naming convention short and sweet, but easy to see what they are. You want to keep your Timeline really straight. As you can see the screen gets really full.

So I like to keep the things as condense and compact as I can. So, beneath that, there may be the neck. I like to call that torso neck, so like I tend to group it with the torso, beneath that the torso upper and the torso lower. Oops! Again, no need for the O. The right arm, left arm, left leg, and the foot, and again, I'm calling it left leg and left leg foot, because you will find you'll be selecting these two layers together, so I like them to read.

They are a little more easy to follow. Leg Right and leg right foot. Already made a slight error. Right leg should be on top of the leg left. I'm naming them anatomically. The left leg means the character's physical left leg, not the one on the left side of the screen, and it's very important that we keep that accurate. And even at this point, you can begin to roughly say to yourself, okay, the right arm's going to be above the torso, put it above the torso layer. We will tweak these and refine them greatly later on.

Having created our rough layer set, the other thing I like to do is get rid of these horrible random color outlines. It really is nice if you have like a much more standardized color methodology as we've already seen in earlier overviews of the rig process. So, I like to control and select all of the-- hold down the Control key and you can batch select a bunch of layers. Go to your Commands menu and you may remember we've already installed the LayerColor plug-in, the extension. So we select that and I can select a nice deep blue color for all the right layers, and I'm going to select a nice green one for the right ones and just some generic body color.

This one's usually good. There we go. I want to be even pickier and just select an odd color for the reference layer. I find it really helps me to select layers visually. That reduces a little bit of the visual confusion in the scene. Now, we have our named layers and we're going to actually be keeping this naming convention when we begin symbolizing these layers and that'll help that they're color-coded and we are now ready to begin drawing the line art that will be ultimately the final rigged assets that'll constitute our character.

So, we have our character, the layers are set up, they're named, they're colored. So let's save this project and we'll be ready to begin creating the line art in the next lesson.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation
Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

83 video lessons · 21123 viewers

Dermot O' Connor
Author

 
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  1. 3m 25s
    1. Welcome
      1m 9s
    2. Using the exercise files
      39s
    3. Prerequisites
      1m 37s
  2. 34m 58s
    1. Creating Flash-friendly character design
      4m 57s
    2. Animation rendering: SWF or AVI
      2m 24s
    3. Understanding line tool drawbacks when animating
      7m 7s
    4. Using uniform project scales in Flash
      3m 40s
    5. Finding helpful extensions for Flash
      2m 46s
    6. Using commands and keyboard shortcuts
      9m 53s
    7. Setting up your workspaces
      4m 11s
  3. 1h 35m
    1. Understanding character rigging
      2m 0s
    2. Exploring underlying structure in character rigging
      4m 27s
    3. Vectorizing the character body
      6m 22s
    4. Outlining colors in an animated character
      6m 15s
    5. Vectorizing the hands
      6m 43s
    6. Vectorizing the head
      4m 47s
    7. Outlining the head
      8m 20s
    8. Adding finishing touches with hair
      2m 11s
    9. Colorizing the character head
      7m 28s
    10. Colorizing the body
      5m 33s
    11. Applying gradients
      6m 18s
    12. Symbolizing and pivoting the body parts
      10m 47s
    13. Pivoting the head
      4m 42s
    14. Rigging the mouth
      10m 49s
    15. Rigging the eye
      8m 33s
  4. 52m 22s
    1. Tween types: Shape vs. motion
      5m 41s
    2. Combining motion and shape tweening
      4m 31s
    3. Animating an eye blink using shape tweening
      10m 2s
    4. Rigging a mouth in Flash for dialogue and expressions
      5m 30s
    5. Creating a D mouth
      12m 29s
    6. Creating an F mouth
      6m 58s
    7. Getting the polished look
      7m 11s
  5. 1h 2m
    1. Overview of the head turn
      2m 13s
    2. Preparing the rig
      8m 15s
    3. Posing the rig
      7m 17s
    4. Animating the head movement
      11m 5s
    5. Animating the body movement
      12m 9s
    6. Animating the head turn
      11m 28s
    7. Adding finesse to the head turn
      9m 34s
  6. 2h 44m
    1. Introducing the walk
      1m 5s
    2. Creating a profile view
      8m 30s
    3. Creating the head in profile
      10m 10s
    4. Creating the hand
      6m 57s
    5. Creating hand symbols
      8m 32s
    6. Reviewing the walk
      3m 6s
    7. Prepping the walk
      8m 33s
    8. Setting up the contact poses
      6m 45s
    9. Creating secondary contact poses
      9m 38s
    10. Finishing up the contact poses
      6m 48s
    11. Creating the passing poses
      9m 39s
    12. Finishing the passing pose
      5m 56s
    13. Animating the recoil position
      10m 9s
    14. Animating the high point of the walk
      9m 24s
    15. Adding in-betweens
      8m 31s
    16. Rigging the shoes
      8m 27s
    17. Animating the shoes
      11m 58s
    18. Animating the character's head movements
      8m 29s
    19. Fine-tuning the animation
      9m 0s
    20. Nesting the hand symbols
      8m 39s
    21. Repositioning the walk
      4m 11s
  7. 1h 32m
    1. Introducing the walk in place
      1m 30s
    2. Setting up contact poses
      10m 4s
    3. Creating the passing poses
      7m 14s
    4. Creating the recoil positions
      8m 11s
    5. Animating the head's high point
      4m 9s
    6. Tweening the legs
      5m 11s
    7. Tweening the arms
      10m 27s
    8. Setting the placement of the foot
      9m 9s
    9. Animating the shoes
      7m 52s
    10. Animating the hair
      6m 9s
    11. Creating secondary hand actions
      8m 48s
    12. Animating the torso
      6m 27s
    13. Repositioning the walk
      7m 17s
  8. 54m 9s
    1. Understanding dialogue
      49s
    2. Using the A-F system of six set mouth shapes
      4m 23s
    3. Animating dialogue using the mouth rig
      14m 30s
    4. Integrating the dialogue with the head turn
      5m 35s
    5. Animating the jaw
      6m 59s
    6. Creating an angry dialogue mouth
      7m 43s
    7. Finishing the angry dialogue mouth
      6m 38s
    8. Integrating acting techniques
      1m 51s
    9. Tips on facial expressions
      5m 41s
  9. 36s
    1. Goodbye
      36s

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