How to Add Bones to a Character
Adding bones to a character
Flash is very powerful when creating animation, especially when it comes to character animation, and that's what I want to do with this file in particular. This movie clip, if I double-click on it, this is the character that I ultimately want to animate, but I first need to give it some structure. But what it's made up of currently are a bunch of different movie clips. So I've taken the silhouette, and I have broken out the different body parts into separate movie clips that I now want to join together, so you can't move them independently.
So that's what I want to do, and the first thing I am going to do is zoom in on all these graphics. And I am going to link each one of these movie clips together using the Bone tool. So I'll select the Bone tool, and I am going to start down here at the base, and all I need to do is just do a click and drag from this space, and what I'm about to create is this armature. I'll just do a click and drag from the upper body to the stomach, and now I've connected those two.
Now, let's connect the stomach with the waist right here, just do a click and drag to the waist, go from the waist to the upper leg right here. Then I am going to go from this upper leg to this lower leg, but I actually want to connect right to this knee right here, because I want this to be the rotation point. So I'll just click and drag to that knee. Let's go from the knee to the foot. Again, I want to kind of determine where the joint is going to be, the rotation point, and then release.
Then let's go from the foot to this toe, and I'll show you why I added that toe in a little bit. But in general, what I've done is I've added the structure to this character, and I can just go ahead and use my Selection tool. And now all of a sudden our character is swimming, or doing whatever we want this character to do. But it's not without its issues because notice how the base moves. So that's one thing I want to take care of right now, and then I'll take care of some of the other rotation issues.
But this base moving around is because of this armature is moving around as well. So I need to lock down this armature. So I am going to select that armature, and I am going to go to the Properties panel, and in the Properties panel, it gives me all the properties for this bone or this armature. But in general, I'm going to disable the Rotation. So I am going to uncheck that. Now, I can go ahead and move the lower body without the upper body moving.
So far so good, but still we have some issues because, of course, the knee wouldn't quite bend that way. I need to lock that down now. So I am going to go ahead and stretch out her leg like that and let me just zoom in on this armature right here. Again, I don't want it to rotate 360 degrees. I want to constrain it. So with that armature selected, I am going to go to the Joint Rotation and check Constrain.
When I do that, I am given this sort of rotation area. So there's the minimum, and then there's the maximum that it can rotate, and this is its current position. So if I just scale down the Max to where it aligns up, again with that line because I don't want it to extend any more to the right, then it will be constrained. So let's just try that. Sure enough, it doesn't go beyond that point. The next coordinate I want to change which is going to be - if I select that armature there - is going to be the Minimum.
So I am going to take the Minimum down because I want to be able to rotate the knee around more as well. Again, I'm able to constrain any rotation just by selecting that armature and then adjusting the minimum and the maximum. This is much more appropriate. I do have the same problem with the foot, and that's why I've actually connected this armature from the foot to the toe. I don't have any plans to animate the toe, but what that does give me the ability to do is rotate this foot.
I do want to rotate the foot some, just not that much. So again it's a matter of selecting the armature, checking Constrain, and then controlling the minimum and maximum that you want this foot to rotate. Again, it's not going to be that much, but I do want to have a little bit of sort of natural movement with this foot as well. So let's just do a couple of more edits, kind of like that. We will increase the maximum, and then there we have it. So the foot rotates just fine. So far, so good.
I'm going to hold down the Spacebar and pan over here. You might run into a case also where your movie clip might be off a little bit, as you start to rotate your character. So what I need to do in this case is I need to move this leg over a touch. I am going to do that really fast by just holding down the Option key or Alt key if you are on the Mac, and you can move that movie clip independent of the other movie clips. That allows me to kind of move out that movie clip appropriately, and then I can even use the Free Transform tool to position it as well.
So you still have a lot of control, even once you add the structure for your character. So let me go ahead and zoom out to about 200%, maybe about 100%, just to see this person's body and again, I can go ahead and straighten them out. That's what I want something more like say a perfect handstand, and I can do a couple more tweaks if I want to, using the Free Transform tool, because I want a perfect handstand for this character.
Because if I go back to scene 1, I can now position this character to become the L for the word "Style." It's set up, so I can actually just link movie clips, and manipulate them together as if they're one complete unit. But this is set up for me to go ahead and add some animation to it as well.
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