Thursday, 18 March 2010

The Flash Project.

Well this second term has been... troublesome, both on course and at home, but it seems now i am merely one day from the end of it all, and time has come to begin the big update which should have been week by week and ended up being put off until now.
As such i have deemed that the best way to 'blog up' the term, is to do it in five Project sections for the six projects. Live at 5, Flash lip-sync, 3D room model, Backgrounds, Storyboarding and finally the Ident. I am begginning all this with the flash project section, so i shall get right into it and stop beating about the bush.

This was a difficult project to do for me, being extremely inexperienced with flash and lacking the ability to draw well with the art tools it provides... i decided to sidestep this problem to start with by 1) designing a character model first on paper,
2) Putting it into photoshop, and colouring/line-arting it...
3) Rigging it's layers to work right there.
4) Then transferring it to Flash.

Well... let's start at the start.
Step 1:
This is the character's original design, pencil drawn very carefully, given the working name of Fabian... yes after my rat.

Step 2 & 3:
Yup, going good... Fabian is all lined, coloured and rigged, his arms, forearms, neck, eyebrows, eyes and mouth all designed carefully on separate layers, with carefully made joints so as not to make the gaps show when they were rotated or moved. Simple shaded with easy on the eyes colours and tones.

Step 4:
Oh now here is where we hit a problem... it seems i was misled when i was told that photoshop CS4 and Flash CS4 were compatible... it seems that what my source meant to say was... they are about as compatible as a square block and a round hole.
What happened to Fabian's carefully rigged face, his soft lined form and pleasant appearance... Flash happened to it.
No matter how much i consulted help over the matter, he was damaged beyond all repair, no matter how many ways i imported him or snuck him into flash... this was always the result.
So biting the bullet i set about trying to fix him, in flash... it did not go well, his eyes were unsaveable... the eye sockets had been fused to the eyes and therefore if the eyes were moved, the eye sockets retained an out of place, jagged line where they had once been... making them unmovable.
The rest was not too far gone, save for the fact i had spent so much time trying to fix him... that i was running very short on time for the actual animation. So i dropped the work on the model and began to lip sync like never before!
I used Nine total mouth models, which actually looked good when made with him in photoshop... but required some serious work to be even usable in flash. But i made do and moved on, completing the animation on time and having time to give him some interesting eyebrow animation in the vain hope of making up for the absent eye animation, making him look wooden and unreal.

Overall... i could have done a reasonable/good flash animation if Flash and Photoshop had played nice with each other, but it was a learning experience, and i took away from it an improved flash animation ability as well as respect for the art of lip syncing... and a no-tolerance resolve towards the myth of adobe's program compatibility... just another of the hard learned lessons on the long and animated road.

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