View Full Version : Starting a Big Flash Project [Flash][Advice]

04-26-2010, 07:02 PM
This is a boring tutorial, but it's not long. I've not added any images, graphics, or animations into this tutorial mostly because if you can't gather the patience to read through a large uninterrupted wall of text without a break to look at something, you probably can't endure something like taking on a flash project. That's what this tutorial covers: Getting a big project in flash going. By big projects I mean more than a minute long. I've began projects under this process and it's the commonly done foundation for any animation project. The reason I made this tutorial is to hopefully get some of you into a good professional workflow. I thought it may be helpful or something.

This is the stuff that you do before you get started. It's the design step. All you need is a few pieces of paper and a pencil. 2 things are done in this step: writing it out and storyboarding. Writing it out is mostly just recording all of your ideas on the page. What makes your project an individual unique thing is written down. Answers to questions like "what are the characters like" and "what happens to these characters" are answered. Choreography, or interesting fighting techniques for stick animators is drawn out here as well. You basically outline in text everything that'll happen. Write down everything you know and will remember because seeing these ideas written down on paper next to other ideas looks a lot different from having these ideas floating around dynamically in your memory. Then you get to the storyboarding (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Storyboard) step. Storyboarding for me is usually just taking a few sheets of paper, drawing several boxes on these papers, and drawing the basic content of every shot. Nothing has to be detailed, just quickly draw your ideas for how the movie will look. Every camera movement, every scene change, every action, every effect is briefly described next to these boxes, so leave space between each box. For Lychgate I drew the storyboard at least 5 times over time and used it as an in-progress checklist to keep track of my time for the due date, so storyboards are really useful in progress on top of laying out the really basic skeleton of your movie. When you have everything planned out and satisfied you might stare at the paper for a little while thinking "what do I do next?" this is when you start up the FLA file.

Get Started:
Getting started's the hardest part for anything for me, so I keep it simple. I start with a really rough display of backgrounds and really rough storytelling poses through time, all done in a somewhat accurate timeline in flash. This is called an animatic (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animatic#Animatics). There's a beautiful example of an animatic in the bonus material of Tarboy (http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/509092). When I make an animatic I usually make all the really rough storytelling key poses. If the character had to walk from one place to another I'd just draw every contact position (http://www.idleworm.com/how/pic/a0002/wlk10.gif). You get the idea that the character is walking from place to place while probably only have drawn 4 rough drawings. The storytelling poses are usually just the extremes of an action: usually the end of one. In a punch, it would most likely be the frame of contact between the fist and the other guy's mouth. If you're sort of careful with these key poses you can just refine them later and use them as final key frames in your animation, and you'd just have to add drawings in between.

Going through with it:
The worst part about animation is that it takes forever. For a good animation people usually make an animatic, make a rough fluid animation, clean it up, color it, refine it, then touch it up On top of that you need good backgrounds. These are all just editing passes through hundreds of drawings. Don't plan on doing this in a matter of days or even weeks, because the fact is that for a satisfying result animation takes up a lot of time. For a minute of animation I usually go through around a month or two of work, and most of my work hasn't even gone through a clean up, refining, or touching up. Usually this doubles the time spent. I'm not saying it's not a good thing to get into, it's just that you should know the workload you're getting into. I'm not going to go into full detail on anything after animatics, because you guys usually begin your process after the animatic stage, and there are a lot of tutorials around that can tell you about these things.

Also for reference, every animator should have The Animator's Survival Kit (http://www.google.com/products/catalog?q=animator%27s+survival+kit&oe=utf-8&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a&um=1&ie=UTF-8&cid=18065413172966582737&ei=HSvWS9-2MY3a9ASB0-G8Dw&sa=X&oi=product_catalog_result&ct=result&resnum=3&ved=0CBgQ8wIwAg#ps-sellers). It's just really an essential thing to have around. It taught me a lot and it's pretty much a required textbook for animators at my college.

Post any questions so i can edit any confusing points I might have messed up with.

04-27-2010, 12:07 PM
This is a good and useful tut. One day I might use it. Good work.