Man chased by dog. Haley chased by Flash-induced torture.

I suppose the name of my animation is rather simple, much like its storyline and my own experiences with Flash, which is “Rough Day”. I’m not really sure where the idea for the story came from, but when I first began looking at different vector backgrounds, and saw the one I chose to use, I imagined someone running, then disappearing and reappearing between the hill layers. Once I decided this, I figured I needed another character, which is where the dog came in. The bird I added at the end just for kicks and giggles.

My two main characters. Even though it's hard to tell, the poor man's running for his life.

The main character, let’s call him Roderigo, is the man being chased after by the dog. I had to create him in Pixton in order to simulate his running motions, because I just got too frustrated trying to learn how to use the Bone tool after reading two books and watching three video tutorials. I essentially did the same thing for the dog, created him on Pixton in two different positions, alternating them in the motion tween. These motions, for both characters, served as reusable symbols throughout the entire animation.

If you look closely, you can see the bird pooping on Roderigo's head. I used the Deco tool and 'wave' feature to simulate its movement.

The awkward and somewhat unnatural movement of my characters' bodies as they both attempt to run.

Playing around with Flash, I learned how to use the deco tool, which I converted to a symbol and used in a motion tween as the bird’s poop, which seemed to plop right onto Roderigo’s head.

The main technique I learned, however, was how to use the split motion option, which became my savior for allowing me to just swap symbols at each interval for the running man and dog. I actually stumbled upon this feature while I was laboriously trying to figure out why the bone tool wouldn’t cooperate for me (although I didn’t succeed with the bone tool, I found the Lynda tutorial very helpful, if only my character would have stopped disappearing every time I tried to set the first bone…). Anyways, while looking through Chris Georgenes’ How to Cheat in Adobe Flash Cs5, I was reading up on the motion tweens chapter, and discovered how you could select a frame within your motion tween, right-click and select Split Motion. This would enable you to keep your motion tween with that character, but allowed a smooth transition to swap symbols, which I had to do to simulate the running movement of Roderigo and the dog. A tutorial by John Mayhew on the Adobe website also proved to be a valuable source for learning this technique, and I liked how, even though it’s all text-based instructions, it specifies when you might want to use a certain feature for your animation. Luckily I found this to be fairly simple, and it didn’t take nearly as long as some of the other tasks I had to overcome.

For my sound clips, I actually used both a man screaming and a dog barking, because it didn’t seem right to have only one of them. I watched the Lynda tutorial and skimmed the How to Cheat in Adobe Flash Cs5 book to teach myself how to use it, but even then I still ran into problems trying to edit the clip to the perfect time frame. Total, it probably took close to 45 minutes to get it all worked out the way I wanted it to be.

I encountered many frustrations along the way, which included, but are not limited to, the sound clips’ lengths, inability to figure out the bone tool, my imbedded movie clip randomly messing up and disappearing, and trying to personally move the blades of grass in my movie clip so it appeared wind was blowing. Most of these were resolved in some form or another, whether by looking up video tutorials or perusing the helpful book guides. I seemed to find, though, that the best way for me to learn was to tinker around with it myself; the old school trial-and-error method. I wouldn’t say that I actually resolved all of the problems I ran into, but I know, as we continue to use Flash, I will learn more and hopefully figure them out.

If I had the chance to start over and do this project again, I might have gone straight to the tutorials and books to get ideas and learn from the get-go, as opposed to wasting time trying different things and being unable to perform certain actions without assistance first. That seemed to be my biggest issue overall, spending well over five hours, because I was unsure of where to begin and how to go about certain issues. However, I’d say it was worth it in the end, to be spending so much time, because I feel a little better grasp on Flash just by the repetition and practice of certain functions that became second nature almost. One other thing I would have done differently is fine-tuned the actions a bit more, or maybe just to have resolved my frustration with the bone tool and kept at it. That is the one thing about my animation that I’m not completely satisfied with, because the motions aren’t very fluid.

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