Bring a cast of characters to life. By following the basics principles of animation, you can build characters that interact naturally with their environments, convey realistic emotion, and talk and walk convincingly. In this course, Dermot O’ Connor shows how to design a solid character and stage and storyboard your animation before you begin. He’ll examine principles like anticipation and squash and stretch, which provide characters with a sense of weight and flexibility, and show you how to animate walk cycles and dialogue. Finally, learn how to thumbnail scenes from start to finish, so you can sketch out the action before you commit to fully rendering it.
These lessons are designed with Flash in mind, but work just as well with any other 2D animation program.
Creating gesture drawings
Comparing storyboard styles
Squash, stretch, and volume
Comparing timing and spacing
Using anticipation, overshoot, settle, overlap, and follow-through
Creating eccentric walks
Building stock mouth shapes for dialogue
If your time is short, I recommend “Animation Tips and Tricks with Flash Professional”; you’ll have a better chance of getting the most out of it in the 7 days – I squeezed a lot of really nice content into it.
If an introduction to character animation is what you want, then “Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation” it is.
My third Lynda.com tutorial is up. It shows how to create an advanced face/head setup in Flash. Though it was recorded in CS6, it’s backwards compatible for the most part. I used the old Macromedia v8 to build the course files.
In this course, author Dermot O’ Connor offers experienced Flash designers a step-by-step guide for creating and animating a full-featured cartoon face in Adobe Flash Professional. The course begins with some best practices for setting up the rig and moves on to building facial features such as the mouth and eyes, sculpting the mouth to simulate dialogue, and creating a range of expressions. The course also shows how to rotate the head using poses, move the rig along multiple axes, and incorporate audio.
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
Understanding facial expressions
Making the contact poses
Creating passing poses
If you’re looking for a way to learn how to animate in Flash, without having to draw poses frame by frame, and without the huge learning curve of a 3D program like Maya or Max, this is for you.
The principles explained in this tutorial can be applied to 3D or Flash animation. For the purposes of this tutorial, I’ll deal with six basic static shapes. Using these shapes, you’ll be able to animate any line of dialog.
NOTE: The AF system of dialog animation was developed by companies like Hanna Barbera on the TV shows of the 1960s.
The shapes are labelled A, B, C, D, E and F.
NOTE: These letters do not correspond to the sounds of the spoken words; they are simply labels, nothing more. To show you an example of how they would be used, here is an average line of dialog, with the corresponding mouth shapes:
Follow the shapes across the page. You’ll notice that the action is very smooth – from closed to open to closed as in “B C D E F” to make “Hello”, to A C D B for “My”, to E C D C B to make “Friend”.
Most of the work done while speaking is done by the tongue – the lips do quite litte…otherwise, we’d tire of speaking very quickly. Most animators over-think the process, whereas it’s really quite simple.
NOTE: It’s common to see dialog tutorials talk about “phonemes”, and to see illustrations of up to twenty different shapes – this is overkill. It’s not necessary to animate the character’s tongue or tonsils in order to create believable speech.
The basic approach to dialog is to correctly place closed mouths (the “A” mouth) whenever you hear a B, M, or P. Next in importance is any sound that would need an o-shaped mouth (the E or F mouth). Third, and lastly, is the placement of the chewing action – which can vary from BCDCB to CDB to as little as CB.
Here is a longer example:
In the above line, the A and F mouths are placed first, as their position is “non-negotiable”. If you look between the A and F mouths, you’ll see a consistent pattern: C D C and B shapes, opening and closing into one another, hopefully matching each syllable.
Note that in the example above, the words “in the” are described by CDCB – a single, fluid motion suffices for two words. you don’t always have to have a separate motion for every word or syllable…be watchful for occasions when you can simplify the sequence of shapes.
To see the effect of the technique, here is a dialog line where all the frames are shape-tweened into one another for a smoother frame-rate (24fps):