One of our first assignments was to create a walk cycle using pre rigged models. Being able to animate a walk cycle has been said to be the bread and butter of an animators skill set.
Looking at different references I had multiple attempts at doing walk cycles, looking at cowboys, and normal walk cycles. The following are some references that I looked at.
The Animator’s Survival Kit – Richard Williams
This helped a lot with blocking out the initial poses with the stepped tangent. This stage of creating the animation was a great way to set a solid foundation to build up from. A few things to note are the following.
- Contact positions: The arms are always opposite to the legs to give balance and thrust.
- Up Positions: The foot pushes off the ground, lifting the pelvis, body and head to the highest position. After that the leg is thrust forward to catch the body in the next contact pose. This however is only the core of the walk cycle there is a lot more to the movement of the walk cycle like arms, torso etc and how they move in relation to the legs.
- Down Positions: This is when the body is at its lowest point of contact is where the leg is bent and is taking the bodies weight.
- Passing Positions: This is when the body is half way in the walk cycle.
After a few passes at doing a basic walk cycle I found it looked slightly robotic. Looking at more walk cycles I found that small changes in the body and micro-anticipation can help make the movement look a lot more natural. Also it helps to fix small things like the feet overlapping in front of each other when walking and the rotation of the shoulders when the arms swing back and forth. Another small detail is the movement of the hips, this can help show if the walking is masculine or feminine.
Next Up, Animation!!