February 21st, 2003. 3:00pm.
By: V2C, aka Seed
Email me at email@example.com
The secret is I CAN'T draw 2D graphics if I have to make them consistent in four directions! For me it was easier to learn 3D modelling instead, heh. I used 3D Studio Max 5 to model the characters, and Swift 3D 2 to convert them to Flash.
A great resource to get started for 3DS Max is 3D Cafe, look in the Free Stuff and Tutorials. Personally I only use one technique to model EVERYTHING, because it's the only technique I know: Patch Grids. I'm sure 3D Cafe has tutorials on that.
I did not have to add texture or material to any of my models in 3DS Max, but I had to give the objects colors since I exported as DXF (worked best for me when importing to Swift 3D). Note that since you are converting to Flash in the end, it is better to have many small simple shapes. If you tried to model a large smooth complicated shape, it will just turn out as a blob with a single gradient fill...
For each model, I made one standing pose, three walking poses (left foot forward, center, right food forward), and two attacking poses. If the models were symmetrical, then I would only need two walking poses, but they would be less interesting. The left-walking pose is reused as the being-hit pose, and the center-walking pose is reused as the step-aside pose (to let other units walk pass).
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I only used Swift 3D for converting the models to Flash format really. I reassigned all the colors/materials to the models inside Swift 3D first though. Color everything as flat/matte as possible because when Swift 3D tries to optimize your shapes, sometimes the specular shading does unexpected (unwanted) things.
I imported each pose separately, and rotated them around the vertical axis to the four directions. Then I rotated them down 45 degrees along the horizontal axis since that is the camera angle that I am trying to simulate. Remember to position the lights to the same position for every file, mine were basically just directly in front.
I never changed the lens length when exporting, so all my characters are rendered with perspective. That was a PAIN to animate because the stage is in an isometric/orthographic view! I would strongly recommend increasing the lens length to simulate an orthographic view!