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How to do walking animation in Anime Studio?

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:43 am
by alex298

I am a new user of Anime Studio. I have problem in doing simple walking animation of a character.

I want a character walking from the left screen to the right screen. My first idea is:

1. Use "Layer Animation" to translate the character from left to right.

2. Drag the bones of left leg and right leg at Timeline 6, 12, 16, etc... so that the character looks like walking with his legs.

However this is very time consuming and the walking effect is very stupid and un-natural at all.

I have two questions:

1. What is the best way of walking animation in Anime Studio? Are there any examples with source file for reference?

2. Is it possible to lay out bones in such a way that when the legs step forward then the body will also be moved forward?

Thanks and best regards


PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 10:24 am
by slowtiger
Answer 2:
You will have noticed that the leg moves when you pull the foot - I assume that you set up a skeleton the usual way, with the hip bone as the very first bone - but the body doesn't follow. That's normal. One way top proceed is to put the foot on the ground and, in that keyframe, lock the foot bone (select bone tool, checkbox in top of window). Then use the bone translate tool to shift the body or hip bone, whatever your first bone is. Keep that foot locked as long as it stays on the ground, but release it before you want to lift that leg.

Sounds complicated? Yeah. It is. And I haven't done a really satisfying natural walk with this so far. But I keep trying.

Answer 1:
This depends on your style of animation. An easy way to do is to create a simple walk cycle, then slide the group level of the whole character horizontally. This works best with a background without much features on the floor and even more convincingly in combination with a pan of the whole scene (because then nobody can tell which part moves and which is standing still).

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 11:15 am
by Rasheed
I can do walk cycles without bone locking. It only uses more bone translation keys.

Often, I do it in several iterations, with more refinement in each iteration, and it keeps being time consuming. I guess there is no easy way to create walk cycles. You will need onion skinning a lot, so the non Pro version will make it practically impossible to create consistent walk cycles.

bone scale and rotation of the arms

full walk cycle with the proper breakdowns

bone rotation and scaling copied to new cycle, and either bone translation as well (and translate the layer), or modify the copied keys of the bone translation

The clue are:
  • use the correct character rigging with hips and shoulders (even if they are invisible in your character), and bone scale constraints of the left hip on the right hip and of the left shoulder on the right shoulder
  • use a root bone in the lower back to move the entire character using bone translation

This walk cycle took me approximately 1 hour to create, and I'm not a very efficient animator. There are some things missing, such as the feet and hands changing perspective, so it doesn't qualify as a cartoon walk.

Here are the source files of the three above animations in a single zip archive:

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 12:23 pm
by cribble
Wow, great tutorial rasheed.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:00 pm
by Rasheed
Thanks, cribble.

I also wanted to add that for creating the breakdowns, there are four poses that are critical and should be onionskinned.


In this 32 frame walkcycle (i.e. left, right), frames 1, 5, 17 and 21 are the positions in which you can see where the feet touch the floor and you can use as a reference for the other poses:
  • frame 1 and 17 for the foot in the back
  • frame 5 and 21 for the foot in front

In a normal walkcycle, these are the poses for contact: where the feet are barely touching the floor (frames 1 and 17), and the "down pose" (the body goes down, to catch the weight of the body, frames 5 and 21).

If you do a faster or slower pacee walk, you have to adjust the frame numbers, of course.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 2:49 pm
by alex298
Dear all,

Thanks for your great help. Just download the walk file and study. This forum is really amazing.

Thanks and best regards


PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:26 pm
by Rasheed
For even more refinement, the shoulders should rotate opposite to the direction of the hips. I think I forgot to rotate the hips in my animation. The way how you coordinate the hips and shoulders largely determines how "energetic" a walk is. Furthermore, men tend to stride more broadly, and women take much smaller steps. My animation is a typical guy's walk.

You should experiment with these things and then perhaps try other types of walks.

The normal walk is: L contact - down - pass through - up - R contact - down - pass through - up ( - L contact, etc.). You could try: L contact - up - pass through - down - R contact - up - pass through - down ( - L contact, etc.) The coordination of the hips and shoulders is somewhat different.

Have fun experimenting.

edit: I was forgotten to include the pass through pose in the description of the normal walk :oops: Now it is in. Sorry for that.

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 3:56 pm
by ulrik
Great tutorial Rasheed, thank you!

PostPosted: Tue Dec 19, 2006 5:15 pm
by Rasheed
Here's some fun experimentation I did, using the same principles:


Sorry for the somewhat large file size of the animated GIF

PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 10:15 pm
by slowtiger
Nice experiments!

I gave it a try myself, just how to see if I made any progress in using the tools intelligently ... here's the result: (280 k). It was done after the recipe in Williams' cookbook ("The animator's Survival Kit").

It took me 2 hours to do the setup, mainly because I tinkered a lot with line thickness and flexibinding. - and then some 10 minutes for the walk cycle. It's 24 fps, keys at 1 and 7, the same poses reverted at 13 and 19 (and #1 again at 25). Key 1: first I spread the legs, then I translated the hip bone down so the feet met the ground again. Key 7: straightened legs again, translatted hips up.

It's a bit mechanical, but for a character in the background it would be OK. Notice how the feet get a bit under ground - this needed to be corrected. The second version has about 20 keys - mainly to nail the feet on the ground. I added a bit of secondary motion to the hands, just for fun.

The hip bone is not the root bone - that's a separate one which I can use as a handle to drag the character around.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:07 pm
by Rasheed
slowtiger wrote:Notice how the feet get a bit under ground - this needs to be corrected.

Yes, some extra bone translation keys in those frames would correct this.

Well, now you mention Richard Williams book, he emphasizes that if you need to create a fancy walk, you should start with the pass through positions, instead with the contact positions.

Another good thing to mention for anyone who want to have a go at it, is that it is probably best to draw the poses on paper (or in a natural media program) before you start in A.S. Those poses can be just stick figures, only to try out some different approaches and see what works best. You can indicate in the poses what direction the parts of the body should be moving with arrows, or with ghost lines and frame numbers if you want more precision.

If any of you can, you should study some of the walks of Goofy (Art Babbitt), those are just insane.

PostPosted: Thu Dec 21, 2006 11:11 pm
by slowtiger
Yes, some extra bone translation keys in those frames would correct this.

While you posted I already corrected this.

Goofy sometime does physically impossible things - impossible even in a cartoon univers. In on of my books there was a description of one of his walks where his foot goes actually through the other leg.

Since I saved the first uncorrected version with only the 4 keys, I could experiment a bit and create variations. (Save all versions - thats essential! You never know when you will need the very first approach.)

Update: There's another variation now, looks a bit like some gys here in the neighbourhood.

PostPosted: Wed Apr 27, 2011 8:21 am
by murtoon
Thanx for this tut irealy love it