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Chapter 4. Animations and Interactions > Coordinating Animated Parts

Coordinating Animated Parts

When you're working on animation, especially cartoon animation, planning is the key to good results. Likewise, understanding the entire cartooning process using Flash, including creating a story and animating it, is the only way to do more than simple animations. The best resource for this kind of cartooning is Mark Clarkson's Flash 5 Cartooning. Although it deals with an older version of Flash, it lays down the basic concepts of cartooning, including how to coordinate the different parts of a cartoon character. Likewise, Tony White's 1986 pre-Flash work, The Animator's Workbook, provides another good source for cartoon animation and how the professional animator sets up steps for successful cartoon animation. You'll find that the principles of cartooning that apply to drawn animation apply equally to Flash animation.

Planning the Animation

Even a simple animation, such as a walking motion, has to be planned. Using Flash you can create a surprisingly realistic walk using three positions, but even three positions have to have all the body parts coordinated. The first thing to plan is the organization of parts on separate layers. Using layer folders helps organize this process. Each part has to be a Graphic symbol so that none of the parts would morph when tweened. Moreover, each part needs its own layer because only a single object on a layer can be tweened. The organization plan is to place each limb in a folder containing the parts of the limb. This proves to be very simple because the left limb parts can be used for the right limb parts as well. The torso is a single part that serves to hold the more animated parts, and the head simply sits atop the torso. So, the most animated parts of the leg are the following:


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