Flash Pro tutorial: Design kick-ass characters

Step 5 Open a new file in Flash. In the Properties window (Cmd/Ctrl + F3), click Edit and set the size to 1,280 x 720px. Import the base tracing file hbjb_trace.jpg (available to download from digitalartsonline.co.uk) by selecting File > Import > Import To Stage (Cmd/Ctrl + R). Select the imported image, and in the Align window (Cmd/Ctrl + K), make sure the To Stage button is ticked, then tick Align Horizontal Center and Align Vertical Center.

Step 6 Managing your layers is important. In this drawing we’ll be creating layers for each individual part – this not only makes it easier to modify, but it’s also important for the animation process. Flash uses the Timeline as layers: double-click on ‘Layer 1’, rename it ‘Trace’ and lock this layer by clicking the dot below the lock icon. Save this file as hbjb.flv.

Step 7 Create a new layer and name it ‘HB Head’. The sketch isn’t geometrically perfect but we’ll fix that very soon. Use the Line tool (N) and draw the left half of the head and all details except the mouth. The Line tool is fairly easy to use: click and drag to create a straight line, then click on the line and drag it to make a curve.

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