If you want to create a quick animation then instead of animating every frame by hand wouldn’t it be simpler just to scan in some human motions and use those? Well now if you have a Kinect that is exactly what you can do!!! Just plug your Kinect into your PC (you may need a separate power adapter if your Kinect cam bundled with your XBox or if you bought your Kinect separate from your XBox it should plug straight in with the USB).
Now you will need some software which turns your actions captured on the Kinect into a motion capture file (BVH). You can download some free software from the Brekel website.
Now do a little dance, jump up and down and capture your motions. Save them as a BVH file.
You can then import this BVH file into Awesome Animator (make sure you download the latest version) to create a Flash animation. The animation will show your movements as a stick figure but you can change these by double clicking on a rectangle and changing it for a different graphic.
Here is an example of importing a BVH file to Awesome Animator. (This one is of a horse but the same principle applies.) I have changed the head from a rectangle to something more interesting.
If you don’t have a Kinect you may be able to download some free BVH files that others have created.
Once you have made some good animations you can put them on your website or share them with your friends and don’t forget to mention they were made with Awesome Animator!!!
Just because you are a human it doesn’t mean your animation must be of a human. For example, you could use your arms to pretend to be the jaws of crocodile. Then when you import the BVH file into Awesome Animator simply delete all the layers except for the arms (which will now be jaws) and use them as the basis of an animation!!!
You can combine multiple captures. For example first capture your body. Then capture your arm gestures again but this time use them for animating the mouth of your character.
A third capture could use your arms to animate a claw.
You can add different captures for different characters by importing the BVH inside different MovieClips.
Now just export your animation as a Flash (SWF) file!!!
In this example we shall use the quick particle effect wizard to create a nice animated candle. The result is:
We used the cylinder tool for the candle itself. We used a modified cylinder for the candle holder. We used a ring shape for the handle. The shine on the candle is simply a circle with a radial gradient where the outer colour opacity is 0%.
To create the flames we used the quick particle creator and used an orange colour. This layer is underneath the shine layer to give the best effect.
In this tutorial we shall use simple morphing and tweening methods to create a semi-realistic water droplet effects. The effect is further highlighted with use of transpareny and gradients.
This tutorial will show you how to make a character with linked bones.
Showing all the linked bones
Draw each of the separate parts of your character. You should have head, body, arms and legs. Group your shapes as necessary so they are single shapes.
Move the pivot points of each of your shapes so that the pivot point is at the top joint where it will rotate.
Select each shape and pin it to it’s parent shape. Pin the hands to the arms, the feet to the legs, the arms, legs and head to the body. Here’s how I remember it: The foot bone’s connected to the leg bone, the leg bones connected to the thigh bone, the thigh bones connected to the hip bone. Dem bones, dem bones, dem dry bones!
Once you have connected all the bones together into a skelton, all the limbs will be connected and when you rotate the arm bone, for example, the hand bone will stay connected to it. So now arrange your skeleton into the position for your first frame.
Move to another frame (remember: 24 frames a second is the default). Now move your skeleton into a new position. The bones will move smoothly from the last frame that it was moved. If you want it to start from a different frame, you will have to create a keyframe on that frame.
Now preview your animation in your web browser.
Step 7, 8, 9….
There’s no point in a character without a story, so think one up! “In a dark dark town, in a dark dark street, in a dark dark house, some skeltons lived…”
This animation is made from three main parts. The background, the body and the legs. The way this was made was first I drew a sketch of this character and imported ths sketch into the program. Then I used the bezier pen tool to draw around the sketch to create nice curves.
Draw a sketch of your characters on paper and scan them in. (You don’t have to do this, but some people find it easier to work this way.) Next use the bezier pen tool to draw around the different coloured areas of the sketch. A useful tip is to set your sketch semi-transparent so you can overlay it over the parts you’ve done. Use the layer menu to swap the layers around.
After you’ve finished one part, for example the body, select everything and group it into its own movieclip.
Once you’ve got your main parts of the animation arange them how you want them for Frame 1. Move the pivot points of parts into the correct places. These are the points that your parts will rotate around.
Move to frame 8 (the animation is initially set for 24 frames per second) and rotate your parts into the new positions.
Move to frame 15 and rotate your parts back near to the original positions.
Now preview your animation in your web browser.
Step 7, 8, 9….
Now let your creativity go wild. How about adding music? What about background animations. Text?
The whole animation saves as a Flash (SWF) file as just 7kb.
This short lesson tells you how to do one of the simple tricks in animating and that is to rotate a shape through 360 degrees. The first thing to do is to draw a cog. Select the cog tool from the tool menu. Hold down shift when you click and drag to draw the cog in order to draw a circular cog. Right click the cog and group it as a MovieClip.
Next in the layout menu, open the tile wizard and type in 3 rows and 3 columns.
Select every other cog in the grid and flip it horizontally using the transform menu.
Double click on one of the cogs. Click on frame 60. In the animation menu select “Make this the last frame”.
Left click on the last frame and from the animation menu (or right click the frame) choose “Set as keyframe”
Select a middle frame. Right click it and choose Create Tween.
Select a frame on the ‘tween’. In the animation menu choose Tween Properties. And put the number 1 for number of full turns.