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Making Flash Animation Movies

For use with Poser 7 as well as Posers 5 or 6

Recent versions of Poser give you the ability to create and export FLASH ANIMATIONS in SWF format which can be played with the Macromedia Flash Player...By Cris Palamino

Poser Pro Pack and more recent Poser versions give you the ability to create and export FLASH ANIMATIONS in SWF format which can be played with the Macromedia Flash Player. You can display them individually or incorporate them into multimedia projects with programs which take advantage of Flash technology.

Poser allows you to put together animated segments using 3D models. Using a posterizing algorithm, the Pro Pack SWF export simulates your model with as few as two colors. Due to size and bandwidth considerations, it is rare that you would want to go above 16 and, in most instances, you would stay within 2 to 8 colors. In this tutorial, we will cover the basics of putting together an animation using a close-up of the model as it has quality considerations that do not always play a part when you are using full figures.

Full figures can stand the silhouetting effect that 2-color posterization creates and still be quite readable. To capture the nuances of expression within the face, we have found 4 to 8 colors to be optimal (sometimes 12, but the higher your number and the longer your animation, the bigger your file). Due to the fact that the images become flattened into planes of color, you do not need or even want intricate map textures or transparency maps. Lighting will play a key role in how well the geometry reads for the posterization. This tutorial will show you a well-lit, and therefore defined, face with a KEY LIGHT and a FILL LIGHT. No infinite lighting was used; both are spotlights.

The image on the left shows the model in Poser's default lighting. The tones are flat and greying and not very flattering at all. As you can see, the lighting on the right model allows for clearer colors and the planes of the forelocks on the hair are now separating from the rest of the hair and face much better. Click on the words KEY and FILL lights to see their settings.

If you are using a model such as DAZ's Victoria who has hi-res and transparency maps, you will want to go into the RENDER menu and change some of the MATERIALS options.

In addition to the character model, we are using a hair prop with transparency maps. In the SURFACE MATERIAL window, turn down the TRANSPARENCY MIN/MAX to 0%. You would do the same with the eyelashes.

We don't want to completely take away all the textures, so we will be selective. The lips are heavily painted and very dark which may be too distracting for the look and flow of the animation. We select the LIPS and assign NO TEXTURE. We also choose a pink by clicking on OBJECT COLOR.

This brings up the COLOR PICKER dialog window. This example is from the Macintosh. The Windows COLOR PICKER is slightly different.

Due to the way the eyeballs are mapped, it was necessary to leave the transparency or it would have become a white eyeball without a pupil and iris. The area is so small, however, in relation to the rest of the face, the dotted pattern of the eye did not greatly affect the resulting FLASH animation.

So now we have our set up and are ready to begin animating. As this tutorial is not on animation techniques, they are covered separately in other tutorials available at Poser Arcana. Here you see the first KEYFRAME.

The tutorial's animation was done with 60 frames. As it was done as a test for the FLASH FEATURE of the Poser Pro Pack, there is still work to do for the final animation which include making the hair move. The focus was maintained on her expressions as she kisses. A keyframe was done approximately every ten frames (approximate, because I ended up with the eight) and Poser calculated the tween frames between each keyframe. The initial frame is above and the eight keyframes are shown below:

Once you are happy with your animation, it is time to make your movie. Choose MAKE MOVIE from the ANIMATION menu.

The name of your file appears in the MOVIE data line. If you wish to name your animation differently, now is the time to change it.

The SEQUENCE TYPE menu allows you to choose between QUICKTIME, IMAGE FILES and today's selection of FLASH ANIMATION (.SWF).

We've chosen the FULL resolution size and under QUALITY have selected CURRENT DISPLAY SETTINGS.

By hitting the FLASH SETTINGS button, you call up the FLASH EXPORT dialog window where you can designate NUMBER OF COLORS. We are only QUANTIZING the first frame and indicating OVERLAP COLORS for this tutorial as we do not want the harshness of outer or inner lines on the planes that will be created from the delicate geometry of the face in close-up.

You are now ready to make your FLASH movie. Hit OK and navigate to where you wish to store your file.

The Flash file you see below on the left is 8 Colors/12fps. This seemed to be the one that showed off Victoria to her best kissability.

I recreated the animation in Poser Pro Pack at a smaller size and imported it into Macromedia's FLASH 5 where I edited it down to fewer frames and saved it as a ROLLOVER BUTTON.

Here is another test of Victoria in 4 Colors/12fps.

This shows Posette in 8 Colors/12fps and 4 Colors/12fps.

Try various settings, experiment with colors on various parts of your model. You will get a feel for how this feature works the more you play with it. Have fun and please feel free to contact me with questions or comments.

Note to Poser 5 and 6 users- this combines well with Poser's Toon rendering capability- see the for further ideas.