my course

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I recently recorded a video tutorial series for, titled “Flash Professional CS5: Character Animation”

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
  • Animating in-betweens
  • 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

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.

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12 Responses to my course

  1. Hi Dermot,

    Thanx so much for this truly great tutorial! I’ve follow so many, really good tutorials, but this one was the best by far. I already asked (practically begged) the people when and if we can expect a sequal. Unfortunately, thay couldn’t answer that question. It all depended on the comments they received on your tutorial.
    Just in case that there will be no opportunity to make that sequal, could you please let me know how you animate a turn from side to front, or vise versa, that’s my only missing link so far in flash animation (for now. I’m sure there will be a lot of challenges ahead as I go along making a movie)?
    Thank you once again for the great tutorial and I really hope that you’re given the opportunity to make another one. Best regards, Mike

    • dermot says:

      Hi Mike,

      Many thanks for the feedback; it’s hard to know if the course was pitched right for an entry level one – hopefully most people will be able to enjoy it as well.

      I have no idea if there’s going to be another; right now, we’re waiting. Best to remain hopeful. They’re a lot of work to make – more than you’d imagine – but they’re fun too.

      If I do another course, definitely advanced techniques would be one that I’d like. This would involve aggressive turnarounds, and more extreme facial animation.

      To answer your question, best as possible in this format: if you’re going to do a turn from side to front (I call the front-on pose “A”, the 3Q to right “B”, the profile to right “C”, the 3Q rear “D”, and the rear view “E”, for clarity):

      In the course, due to time constraints I rigged the B angle first. As I mentioned in that course, the best one to start with is A. Once you have A done, you can create a second column of keys next to it on frame 3, then reposition them, one by one, onto the B angle (assuming you have your reference drawings underneath. The angles are so similar, that very few of your levels should need to be changed. Once you’ve done that, tween the layers. That should work. Apply shape hints where needed.

      Then, onto the B-C. Add a stack of keys on #5, and repo the symbols and shapes to your C pose. You’ll find that as you work, layers will slice through one another. It may be necessary to move an arm layer lower than it was originally, and sometimes to make a fresh layer and jump the symbol to that layer (though this is a last resort, as it’s harder to animate when layers move across layers).

      The same has to be done in the head symbol, of course.

      You’ll find that the C-D transition is VERY hard to smoothly tween, as many things begin to change. It’s not impossible though…I’ve done fully tweened 360 turnarounds (though mostly on simpler designs). Much depends on your designs; if they’re simple and stylised, then you have a good chance.

      If you are going to try something like this, do it first on an extremely simple character.

      Hope that answers!

      • Hi Dermot,

        Thank you so much for the detailed answer and quick reply. I’ll jump right into it and give it a try!
        I’ve been working with flash for a little bit of time now, so it’s impossible to see it from a novice kind of view, however I do think that your animation course is excellent for all entry levels. If you compare it to the other animation courses @ Lynda, you provide a complete new angle on animating with flash.The technique you’re showing, produces the smoothest and closest to handdrawn animation I’ve seen so far.
        A real training icon, for those who are interested. And I do hope that Lynda appreciates that fact to!

        Once again, thank you for the quick and clear reply.

        Best regards,


  2. Nick says:

    I’ve nearly finished the tutorial Dermot. It’s been a huge help in teaching me how to animate in Flash.

    I’ve been trying to learn it for years. Most tutorials (even those on Lynda) were too generic and didn’t provide details that would be useful to someone trying to make a professional animation.

    Could you recommend a good resource for learning how to produce vector backgrounds suitable for animation? Or does that fall under general illustration?

    • dermot says:

      Hi Nick,

      Vector backgrounds…hm. Yeah, probably a generic graphics illustration tutorial would be best for that; just bear in mind that your layers will be important if your characters are going to be inserted into the thing. Other than that, it should be pretty generic.

      We’re trying to get a new Flash course at Lynda – the first one is doing very well. One thing I want to do is a “Tips & Tricks”, which will show how to do some Flash specific tricks to improve backgrounds, and make them more dynamic.

  3. Sweet.
    Can’t wait to check it out.
    Hope you are well my friend.

    • dermot says:

      Thanks Frank! I’ve just been approved to do a second course; we’ll record that one in July/August.

      • That’s great news! I’ve learned allot from your class so far. There are still a couple more chapters for me to finish, but the ones I’ve studied up on so far have been of great help.

        In short, it has been hard finding this type of “inside” information about character rigging, set up and organization tips that your classes have taught me. You’ve made my Flash files much more orderly. My future clients thank you 😉 . Thanks dude.

  4. Hi Dermot,

    Unfortunately I haven’t had the time to watch the entire new Lynda course..yet!
    (I certainly will)
    But the movies I’ve seen so far are again excellent and very educative.

    Great work, thank you very much.

  5. Nadzha says:

    Hi Dermot,
    I just want to tell you many thanks for such a good job, for sharing your experiences, skills and knowledge. It was very informative and inspiring for me. Really looking forward to release the second course.

  6. Just finished your Lynda course. Wanted to say I think you did a great job. In my office we often discuss that there are two types of people who use flash, the designer type and the programmer type. I’ve been surrounded by the programmer type since my start here, so it was super refreshing to have your lessons feed the designer in me– I’m halfway in the middle of programmer and designer. (just assuming you’re a designer type as you didn’t use any actionscript in the book, but i could be totally wrong as it’s not a book on code!)

    anyways, just wanted to drop in and say thanks! In my office i’m limited with how much i can do, i’m limited to 40kb with 90% of all animations I do, so gradients used to add depth to faces, shapes, scenes isn’t always an option, sadly. However, your perspective has definitely challenged me to add a little more artistic expression and depth within our limitations, which i look forward to doing!

    thanks again!

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