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Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

Vectorizing the hands


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Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Vectorizing the hands

So here we are. The body has been lined. As you can see the basic arm torso shapes are very simple. They are little more than rectangles with points added. Now it's time to do the hands, which are a little more detailed, and the hands initially were simply going to bend them as you see them on this drawing, but in a future chapter, we are going to add detail to these symbols. We are going to join the fingers so we can move them. Otherwise they look very stiff. As you begin to move the hand, the fingers really need to be able to splay and bend and they will give the character a little more natural feel.
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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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Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation
9h 19m Intermediate Nov 17, 2010

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Rendering in SWF or AVI
  • Creating vectors for the the character body
  • Coloring the body
  • Rigging a mouth in Flash
  • Posing the rig
  • Animating head and body movement
  • Creating hands
  • Understanding facial expressions
  • Making the contact poses
  • Creating passing poses
  • Animating in-betweens
Subjects:
3D + Animation Web Animation Character Animation
Software:
Flash Professional
Author:
Dermot O' Connor

Vectorizing the hands

So here we are. The body has been lined. As you can see the basic arm torso shapes are very simple. They are little more than rectangles with points added. Now it's time to do the hands, which are a little more detailed, and the hands initially were simply going to bend them as you see them on this drawing, but in a future chapter, we are going to add detail to these symbols. We are going to join the fingers so we can move them. Otherwise they look very stiff. As you begin to move the hand, the fingers really need to be able to splay and bend and they will give the character a little more natural feel.

But like I said, the first stage in the process is to simply line them and the beauty of Flash is we can add complexity later on. We can create a simple placeholder symbol and we can go in and add layers and layers of additional animation and jointing and pivoting. It doesn't trap us. That's one of the advantages of this program. So that said, I'm going to double- click. Either we can double-click on the symbol on the stage or you can double -click on the symbol in the Library. And now we are back in and we are ready to start lining the hands.

Okay, so let's create some temporary layers for the right hand and the left hand. And even though they are temporary layers, I think it's a good form to name them properly. Ultimately the hands are going to be nested inside the arm symbols, so these layers are temporary. But we can also move symbols from the inner arm comp or symbol by going to the outer body timeline, as we need them.

And you will find when you begin to animate, that you will be doing this back and forth depending on your scene. So I have just assigned the same color, using green for the right side of the body and blue for the left. So now we will zoom in on the right-hand. I am going to say right. Again, I mean his physical right hand. Always use that convention. Never call it the left hand of the screen or the right hand of the screen. That will cause problems if the character turns around for example. So we would be using the V shortcut for the Selection tool and the N shortcut or the Line tool and we will be toggling Snap to Objects back and forth if we want to make these lines join together very tightly. So let's start.

And if I switch my outline color on, that gives me a better idea that the layer I am working on is active. And you will find the Snap tool can be very aggressive. It likes verticals and horizontals. This can be a problem, so let's switch it off for this line. And the other thing I like to do with lots of complex shapes like this is sometimes throw down temporary lines. If you have used Illustrator, you might find this is not a fun way for you to work. If you have a personal preference for your own aligning system, by all means use it.

This is the system that I've become very adapted to over the years. So this works for me but if a better system works for you then I would say go for it. As long as the only health warning on that, if you use the Subselection tool, be sure to check your points to make sure that you have the minimum number of points to describe any shape. Don't go crazy with points. Flash won't like it. Yu will at some point hit a wall. As you can see, the fewer points you have, the easier it becomes to modify these shapes.

And that will be good enough for our first pass for the right hand. Padlock that layer and be sure you are also working in the correct layer. That's where the outline is very handy. If you start drawing and you are in Outline mode and you see that your green hand on a blue body you know, oops, I am working in the wrong level. As you can see this is a very slow and the repetitive process. This probably will drive some people crazy.

Lining is one of those meticulous but brain-dead functions. So as you can see, I am working with Snap On quite a bit because a lot of these points have to be connected. Your problem will be having to go back and forth switching Snap On, switching Snap Off, I find that's one of the more time-consuming aspects. But the nice thing about doing this is that it is very precise and once again always check with the Subselection tool to make sure your geometry is very clean. As you can see it's a reasonably fast process and you do get used to the back and forth.

You might find this easier if you select a hotkey for Snap to Objects, something that's close to the V and the N key on the keyboard, and that way you can switch it off without having to put miles on your mouse. So this is our hand. It's lined now. So the next thing I want to show you is just very quick on a clean layer some other little drawing methods for lining. Your problem will be creating joins like this as you are creating these more complicated forms. As you can see this is one way of doing it. The only problem with that is Snap has to be on to make this a clean form.

The other way you can do it is just simply create a single line and then holding down the Alt or Option key, pull that line and that's as you can see much faster. And the other problem that you will have when you begin drawing these shapes is when lines intersect as well. Sometimes you can do an overlap like this and cut away the pieces that you don't need. It just simply depends case-by-case. When I'm lining a really complex character, I will use any number of these techniques over the course of that lining process. Sometimes it simply depends on the area. It's quicker just to do that and remove the line and once again always check them to make sure that our points are nice and minimal and then you can modify the shapes to whatever form you like.

You might find that if you're an Illustrator expert, by all means take your line drawing into Illustrator, line it in there, and then bring it back into Flash. I would just do a test on a simple area first. Make sure that it works. That you've got the right versions of each program. Some studios do that. Yhey love to use Illustrator, the different look to the Illustrator graphic, but it's still very important, even if you are going to do that, to have some inkling of how internal Flash tools work because for fine-tuning small things, you certainly will have to use these inside Flash at some point. It will damage your workflow if you're constantly happened to move your line work into Illustrator and then back into Flash again.

So now that we have that covered, first delete this layer and we have our fully lined character out here. Don't worry about the missing leg. That will be covered. We're ready to move onto to the head layer.

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