By: Elyse                Categories: AnimationInspiration

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DESIGN IS ONE THING, TECHNIQUE IS another. Everyone has their own way of working in Flash, and there are many ways to go about designing in Flash. For this character I chose a technique that a friend and talented illustrator showed me. It involves using the Pencil tool with Object Drawing mode and the Union feature to combine multiple Object Drawings into a single object. I love her technique so much I’ve started to incorporate it more into my daily workflow. Thanks to Katie Osowiecki-Zolnik for this cool Flash drawing technique. Check out her work at http://katieo.kuiki.net.

1 The first step is to sketch the character using your tool of choice. Here I have chosen to remain entirely in Flash by using the Brush tool. My sketch is kept loose as I only need to get the basic form drawn.

2 Select the Pencil tool and turn on Object Drawing mode. Create a new layer in the timeline and choose a bright stroke color that is high in contrast from the original sketch color.

3 Using the sketch as my guide, I traced the image using the Pencil tool. It’s ok to use as many different strokes as needed. In the next step we will combine the individual Object Drawing strokes into a single object.

4 Select all Object Drawings and then go to Modify > Combine Objects > Union to combine them into a single Object Drawing.

5 With drawing contained within a single Object Drawing, it’s easy to edit the strokes to clean up the image. Select and delete any unneeded segments and use the Selection tool to edit the curves if need be. Here I’ve also applied a fill color.

6 The mouth and teeth were drawn with the same technique of tracing in Object Drawing mode, combining each object using Union, and then editing the object as a whole.

7 Here I’ve added fill colors to the mouth, tongue and teeth. Once the shape and fill are finished I doubleclick the strokes to select them all and then press the Delete key to remove them.

8 Here’s the completed head, face and ears. Each shape is an Object Drawing consisting of shapes with solid fills. Only in certain cases did I use subtle gradients such as the highlights of the eyes and nose.

9 With the character designed in a neutral pose, I duplicated it a few times and edited the objects to create poses. In some cases new body parts were drawn to reflect the nature of the pose or gesture.

HOT TIP The Union feature does not have a keyboard shortcut assigned to it by default. If you find yourself needing to combine Object Drawings often, then I recommend assigning a shortcut to the Union feature by editing your keyboard shortcuts. Once a shortcut has been assigned, you can take it a step further and assign the shortcut to an Express Key if you are using a Wacom drawing tablet.

Excerpt from How to Cheat in Flash CC by Chris Georgenes © 2014 Taylor & Francis Group. All Rights Reserved.

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