Using the Asset Warp tool
You use the Asset Warp tool to create, edit, and move your rig. A rig is similar to an armature that you’ll learn to create with the Bone tool in a future lesson. A rig can be created inside a bitmap or inside a vector shape. Animate converts the graphic associated with a rig to a special Library item known as a warped asset.
The rig can be a series of connected bones, branching bones, or even single points.
You’ll start by animating the woman lying in the snow and creating a snow angel.
Creating your first rig
You’ll establish your first rig inside a bitmap image.
Open the 05Start.fla file and then save it as 05_workingcopy.fla.
The file contains two bitmap images saved in the Library. The snow_background asset is an image of the snow. The woman asset is an image that has its background removed in Photoshop.
Drag the snow_background bitmap from the Library panel onto the Stage. Align the bitmap so that X=0 and Y=0 and the bitmap completely covers the Stage.
Rename the layer background.
Insert a new layer above the background layer and name it woman.
Drag the woman bitmap from the Library panel onto the Stage. Position her in the center of the depression in the snow at about X=97 and Y=133.
Select the Asset Warp tool .
In the Properties panel, under the Tool tab, make sure the Envelope option is turned off, the Create Bones option is turned on, and the Bone Type is set to Hard.
Click the woman’s left shoulder.
Animate creates a mesh over the bitmap and creates a single joint. Your rig is established.
If you use the Selection tool to select the woman, you’ll notice that the mesh goes away, and the object on the Stage is no longer a bitmap and is now called a Warped Bitmap in the Properties panel.
The Warped Bitmap is stored in the Library as WarpedAsset_1. You’ll learn to rename and organize warped assets later in this lesson.
Select the Asset Warp tool again and click your first joint to select it. Move your cursor over the woman’s elbow.
Animate shows a preview of where a bone will be created, based on the position of the cursor.
Click the woman’s elbow. Animate creates another joint at her elbow, and a bone appears, connecting the first point at her shoulder and the second point at her elbow. Hard bones are shown as elongated triangles, with the fatter base at their origin and the narrower tip at the farthest joint. The first joint becomes a square, indicating that it is the root joint.
Finally, click the woman’s left wrist.
Animate creates a third joint with another bone connecting to it. You’ve just completed the first rig for your bitmap.
Creating additional bones
Your first set of bones and joints will control the woman’s left arm. Now you’ll create additional bones for your rig for her other limbs.
With the Asset Warp tool selected, click an area outside the mesh.
The last joint of your rig becomes deselected.
Click the woman’s right shoulder.
A new joint is created.
In step 1, you needed to click an area outside the mesh to ensure that Animate creates a new joint in step 2 unconnected from a previously selected one. If you were to click the woman’s right shoulder when the joint of her left wrist was still selected, you would create a connecting bone as in the following screenshot (which is something that you do not want!).
As you did with her left arm, continue creating bones down her right arm by clicking her elbow and her wrist.
Click an area outside the mesh and build bones inside each of the woman’s legs, with joints at the hips, knees, and ankles.
Your rig is complete! Notice that your bitmap can have multiple bones that are not connected to one another.
Moving your rig
Now for the fun part. With the Asset Warp tool, you get to move the individual joints around to position your graphic for animation.
Drag the woman’s left upper arm upward by dragging on the bone between the shoulder and elbow joints.
Her arm rotates upward. The bone is highlighted in orange and the joint at the elbow is highlighted in red.
Drag the woman’s left lower arm (her forearm) upward.
Her forearm rotates upward. The bone is highlighted in orange, and the joint at the wrist is highlighted in red.
Now try dragging the joint at the woman’s left wrist.
When you move a joint, you can reposition the attached bone by stretching or shortening the bone as well as rotating it. Dragging a bone, as you did in steps 1 and 2, allows only for rotation.
Drag the joint at the woman’s left elbow so that she is fully raising her arm above her head.
Note that when you move a joint, any attached joint and bone farther down the chain also move. So when you move the upper arm bone and elbow joint, the forearm bone and wrist joint follow. Another way to describe this relationship is to call the first joint the parent and the connecting one the child. Moving the parent also moves the child.
Using rotation angles
Sometimes you’ll want precise control over the angle of a joint. You can enter numerical values for the rotation angle in the Properties panel.
Select either the bone in the woman’s right upper arm or the joint at the woman’s right elbow.
In the Properties panel, under Warp Options, enter the value –132 as the new rotation angle.
Her right arm moves upward at the new angle.
Select the bone in her right forearm or the joint at her wrist.
In the Properties panel, under Warp Options, enter the value –87 as the new rotation angle.
Her right forearm moves upward at the new angle.
Feel free to adjust either of her arms to establish the first position in the animation of the snow angel.