I need some help. I mainly work in After Effects for Broadcast Design, but lately I feel drawn to do 2D character animation. I looked at tutorials of Flash and ToonBoom, but I don’t get one thing… It seems some things you can just do with a rig, but other stuff you need to shape tween… why do people do different symbols for face expressions… does ToonBoom do the in-between frames of the face positions, meaning it shapes from symbol to symbol? or do you have to do this frame by frame, and illustrate the in-betweens? In AE you work in layers, so there is no shape tween, in Flash it seems you can put two shapes in one layer and morph from one to the other… right?
Sorry this might sound stupid, but may brain is set to AE, where you can simply not shape tween…
It really depends on what your drawings look like - most of the time you will just be drawing in-between expressions, or just swapping from one expression to another with no in-betweens. If you want to do a morph from one drawing to another, then you need to follow certain rules. Here are the morph rules (which you can find a detailed description of in the User Guide):
1) Colour to Colour - you can’t morph from one colour to another, you need to use an effect if you switch colours. So if you have a colour that disappears from one drawing to another, you will see strange things
2) Pencil to pencil - you can only morph pencil lines to pencil lines
3) Brush to brush - you can only morph brush lines to brush lines
4) similar regions - if you morph one drawing to another, it will try to morph things to the same region first, and if there’s nothing to morph to in that region then it will look further afield
Apart from this, you can add hints to help the software interpret. You can also take a morphing sequence and convert it into a sequence of drawings.
Most of the time, though, people will just swap drawings and also use the transform tool to move the facial features around. If you have the eyebrows on their own layer, then you can animate the position of the eyebrows. If you have the mouth on its own layer, then you can animate the position of the mouth.
If you have a chance take a look at the tutorial videos in the HowTo section of the website then take a look at the rigging section.