*** First off download all of Dexter part's to your home folder dexter_parts.fla (right click and Save Target as ) ***
The following is taken from a tutorial by KIRUPA.CHINNATHAMBI
Flash is one of those wonderful programs that can be put for a plethora of uses. But one of the most common things people want to be able to do with it is make cartoons and animations. There's a lot of ways to do this, but I'm going to show you a very simple, scripting free way of bringing some characters to life.
[ you'll be making something similar to what is shown above ]
Steps to Create Animation
Before we begin our animation, we need a character. This little guy below is one that I quickly drew using a similar process to that described in another tutorial, Line Art In Flash. He looks a little bit lost, bless him. Let's call him Dexter.
[first draft of character]
At the moment, Dexter is just a collection of lines and fills, and not much good for animating. What we need to do is break up the character into his component parts (ouch!), and save them all as Library items. This has been done for you.
1. Open the file dexter_parts.fla in flash. Be sure to open the library window.
Of course, the easiest way to do this is to simply draw each body part on a different layer as you go. That way, you can see how the fit together in relation to each other, get the sizes right etc etc. But if you've already drawn the character, then you'll just have to get your mouse dirty, get in there and pull poor Dexter to pieces. Select the lines and fills that make up a body part (say the head) then cut and paste into a new symbol. In a lot of case, you may find that a piece isn't complete, where it intersected with other areas. If that happens, then you just add some more lines and complete the part.
You can see from the picture above that Dexter is now split up into sections. Notice that although we only had one original eye image, I've duplicated the symbol and made three more versions, each with the lids closing. We need this to make him blink. I've also made a short movie clip for the mouth, containing a couple of lines / states for a talking mouth. A little tip for arms - make sure that the registration point is located at the 'shoulder' joint of the image. This makes it easier when you come to rotate them.
2. Make sure you have all your symbols saved in the library, and a clear Stage. Now, we can begin to create a small animation.
- Make a new movie clip symbol, (Insert menu, New Symbol) and call it M Eyes Blink.
- Inside it, place your open eyes in frame 1.
- Insert another keyframe at around frame 30 or so. In this one, replace the open eyes with the next level down eye image, where the lids are starting to close.
- Put another keyframe in the next frame, and repeat the process, inserting the almost closed eyes.
- Put the fully closed eyes in the next keyframe.
- Then insert another three frames and reverse the process.
- No need to put any scripting on the end, we want this to loop continuously, so Dexter will blink every few seconds.
[your eyes go in this order]
3. Click Scene 1 above the timeline to return to the blank canvas
4. Create a new movie clip. We're going to use this one for our character, so give it a couple of layers.
Call each one something meaningful, like R Arm, L Arm, Legs, Head etc.
Remember that some body parts will need to be behind others. In the case of Dexter, one of his arms is partially behind his body, so make sure that the layer containing his left arm is behind the layer containing his T-Shirt.
It may also be worth making a new clip for the characters' head, although this depends on how complex you want the animation to be. For the more detailed movies where you're trying to sync voice files and mouth movements, it's probably not worth doing, and you'll find it better making individual movies for each line. In this case though we just want to see an example, so we'll combine the head, eye animation and mouth animation into one, and place it on the top layer of our character movie.
5. To add the the eyes, double click the head, now add the eyes movie M Eyes Blink to the head symbol.
6.. But that's not enough! How about we get him to look at his watch every now and then? That's just a simple motion tween of our arm and head symbols.
7. Do something similar with the head, so that he actually looks down at his watch.
8. Now test your movie, and you'll see him getting the time every few seconds, blinking as he does so.
9. Create a mouth for Dexter in a manor similar to how you did the eyes in step 2.
Add his mouth to the head symbol
You have draw the shapes for the mouth.
And that's the basic principle. It's very handy to make a small collection of body parts (not literally, I do mean Flash images here) in your library. Draw various positions of arms, so you'll always have the one you need on hand. Different expressions can be made by using different mouths and eyes, so have a good selection of these too.
Certain motions (like the watch checking) can be put into small clips, then re-used as and when you need them, so you can build up a collection of mini movie actions too.
Add more characters, backgrounds, anything you like.