So my final attempt at the walk cycle went well. I posed the figure and key framed and used a stepped tangent to create that blocked out animation first beginning with the legs. After that I started filling the in-betweens and working on the arms moving with the legs gradually ending up with creating secondary actions with the heads and hands creating a fairly fluid walk cycle. Here is the walk cycle before being polished.
One issue that I noticed I was having as I increased the amount of the frames and used the cycle infinity to create a long walk cycle was that the walk began to deteriorate the longer it went on as the first and last frame were in different poses. After some good criticism from my team, Phoebe and Alec I found some issue that had went unnoticed. One the feet don’t move in front of each other which is vary subtle but very important. Another was the head which looked like he was sad or depressed. The arms also don’t go back the same distance and I found the chest/back and hips could move more. I went back and made some changes and here is my final walk cycle.
Looking at it there are still some issues like it could definitely be made to be smoother and I feel the head bobs in an unnatural way but I’m happy with this final walk cycle overall.
The final body mechanic that I did was the Axe Pull. I thought it would be interesting to have a character interact with the environment, rather than just having a movement aspect to the animation. This also allowed me to play about with FK and IK controls with the model. It was easier to control the model from the wrist and moving the whole arm than moving the arm in separate pieces as the model relies on the hands interactions with the axe. So If I lock the hands in place then I could just move the rest of the model around the hands almost like a pivot. The first stage of animation was to block out the scene in a stepped tangent.
Unfortunately at the end the playblack glitched a little bit but it just shows him falling on the ground. This happened in both playbacks but you will be able to see it in the final animation.
After the block out of the animation I had to start building in-betweens in the animation to make it more fluid and natural. Luckily the base poses were pretty solid so there wasn’t much work to be done apart from fixing a few rogue poses where arms were bent out of shape.
There are still issues with the animation but I think it is a solid final animation. If I go back to this I will work on the fall. I feel there could be more anticipation from the fall perhaps the character reaching out for the axe mid fall. Also I feel it is missing a bit of weight when he hits the floor. But overall I am happy with this body mechanic.
Another attempt i had at a walk cycle was the zombie walk cycle. I thought the hobbling, limping motion would be interesting and the posing of it is pretty interesting. There are tons of references to look at from modern media so it wasn’t hard to see how they act.
There are some real issues that you can see like the speed up half way through it and the issues with the feet but i think the secondary action isn’t too bad.
My next attempt at a body mechanic was to create a ledge jump. Starting from a crouch position and standing up then hopping down from a small ledge. I liked creating this body mech and I think it was a good attempt at one. It still has some issues like anticipation and the legs slightly snapping when he is about to leave the ledge but overall I think its a good attempt.
I started working on the second part of this project. As well as making a walk cycle we had to make a body mechanic. This means we have to create an action like jumping or running or throwing something. I decided I would have a few attempts at doing different actions before settling on one final action. Here are a few attempts I tired my hand at.
The first is a run cycle. Unfortunately this ended up looking like a puppet with the legs jerking in strange ways and being far too out of sync and slow to be a run cycle.
The second attempt for a body mechanic was an extension of this. I had the run cycle develop into jump from one ledge to another. As this is an early attempt not judging, I learned a lot from these. There are a lot of issues with this body mechanic so i completely scrapped it and began working from scratch.
So our other project was to create a walk cycle. I started with the legs (as you would with a walk cycle), and built upwards from that. I think this was my first mistake. Instead of this I should’ve blocked out each step in the walk cycle in a stepped tangent. then corrected the movements in the in-betweens.
Here are some Videos of my attempts:
Attempt one focuses on the movement of the legs.
The second part focuses on the feet and how they move. They seem to pause slightly when moving making robotic and thus not fluid like walking is meant to be.
The third part focuses on an attempt at improving the flow of the feet however it only created more issues like the sharp snapping of the feet when they begin to move to the next pose.
Part 4 shows some progress in the fluidity of the legs movement. I managed to remove the pause when the feet hit the floor and lift from the floor. However it still has issues, for one its not timed correctly with the legs working almost independently from the hips and rest of the body. There is also a timing issue with the step where it seems to slip back a bit.
Here is my final first attempt. As you can see there are still issues but i managed to clear some of the timing issues. I also managed to get the arms to look natural as they move with the legs. I also added some secondary actions with the head bobbing slightly.
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!!