First walk cycle

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Blighty
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First walk cycle

Post by Blighty » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:41 pm

I'm trying to animate a walk cycle using The Animators Survival Kit as a guide.
This is the first one I've attempted where the character doesn't look like they have polio or rickets. I'd appreciate any criticism or advice to improve on it though.

http://blighty.50webs.com/flash/johnwalk.swf
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slowtiger
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Post by slowtiger » Sat Mar 15, 2008 12:56 pm

That's a solidly built character. Some observations:

- notice how the hip stays at the same height, although the shoulders move? This isn't natural.
- the feet go under the ground - which you don't notice since there isn't any.

Tip: add a ground layer, just a line, to have a reference where your character walks on. One way to improve things would be to shift the whole character vertivally in each frame to make sure its foot is on the ground.
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Post by Blighty » Sat Mar 15, 2008 1:50 pm

Ah, the hips aren't moving. Damn, I really did need a fresh pair of eyes on this.
This is the character with a vertical movement
http://blighty.50webs.com/flash/johnwalk2.swf

I prefer how he moves already. I added a floor whilst creating my keyframes but the rear leg is slightly higher than the front leg so doesn't rest on the same level. I did this to add a little perspective, together with making the rear leg slightly darker.

http://blighty.50webs.com/flash/floor.swf

Here I'm trying to flex the foot to stop the toes passing through the floor. It doesn't look natural yet though, maybe I need to add more keyframes.
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slowtiger
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Post by slowtiger » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:01 pm

Having legs of different lengths is a good idea, I do it myself. In this case I use 2 lines for reference, I could erase them later when animation is finished.

Your feet still don't stand on the ground - in the moment a foot is placed on the ground, it's totally horizontal and stays like that until the foot begins to lift again.

Maybe this posting helps you: viewtopic.php?p=47726#47726, where I described my own way of work. But remember, this is only one possible way, there are many others.
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Post by Blighty » Sat Mar 15, 2008 2:50 pm

Okay, how about this.
http://blighty.50webs.com/flash/floor2.swf

Any better?
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slowtiger
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Post by slowtiger » Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:29 pm

Much better!

Did you notice that you put his knees a bit too low? I should have noticed that before ...

You could try and correct this in a copy of that file: in #0, change the lenght of the thigh bone, then adjust the position of the shin bone with the bone offset tool. But since this will change the animation as well, I don't know if it's wortth the effort. Maybe it's easier to create a completely new bone rig (without erasing the drawings) and start the animation all over - since you're still practising, maybe not the worst thing to do ...
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Post by Blighty » Sat Mar 15, 2008 3:46 pm

Yeah, the proportions are a little off.
Originally he was more 'anatomically correct' but ended up looking too bland. Like Fred from Scooby-Doo.

I increased the size of his head, which works better for close up shots, and feet, to make him seem like he had some weight. I obviously missed the legs, although I see what you mean.

Hmm, I guess I'll re-bone the characters legs.

Thanks for your advice. Comparing the first attempt with what I have now, the improvement is obvious.
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Sat Mar 15, 2008 4:28 pm

I saw immediately that the character was moving his knees too far out.

I analyzed the figure:
Image
It is 6 heads tall. And you can clearly see the knee is positioned too low. It should be around 1/4 of the body length in adults. Or, in any case, at the middle of the leg.

Another thing that I noticed, framing through your animation, was that after the contact pose (when both feet just touch the ground), the legs and arms swing back, while they actually should swing further, to an even more extreme pose. This is part of the normal walkcycle, and can be seen as catching the weight of the body by the legs. It gives the figure a feeling it has to work against gravity, and thus that the body has weight. In your case, the figure is more or less "floating along".

I hope you don't mind the critique.
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tonym
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Post by tonym » Sat Mar 15, 2008 5:31 pm

I don't mind the low knee-joint; it looks like a design choice. But I could see the knee being a problem if the guy were to sit in a chair. The chair would have to have a long seat and short legs, and that would draw a lot attention to the joint.

If the guy was only going to walk, I'd be fine with leaving the knee-joint alone. But I'd change it if you want him to sit at any point.

Good work on the walk cycle!

If you're looking to make your guy walk as realistically as possible, leaning his torso forward a bit might help.
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Post by Blighty » Sun Mar 16, 2008 12:41 am

I really appreciate everyones input.
I need all the feedback and constructive criticism I can get if I'm going to improve.

I'm going to be offline for a day or so (the real world has its distractions too) but when I sort out the characters knees I'll repost what I have so far.
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Post by Blighty » Tue Mar 18, 2008 1:45 am

Okay, I slightly improved the legs.
http://blighty.50webs.com/flash/NewWalk.swf

I'm just curious how other people create reusable walk cycles.
Currently I'm creating 4 actions (2 contact positions and 2 passing positions), inserting copies of them into the timeline and then going in and adjusting the characters feet so that they keep contact with the ground.

There are probably several different ways of doing this, am I on the right track or am I creating more work for myself?
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fiziwig
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Post by fiziwig » Tue Mar 18, 2008 7:18 am

How I did my first walk cycle: http://fiziwig.com/anim/index07.php

--gary
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Tue Mar 18, 2008 2:22 pm

I did a quick walkcycle with the stock character. I included the intermediate phases:
  • setup
  • rough leg animation
  • spacing for the leg animation
  • arm animation
  • tweaking
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JW2Hpld27t0

Image

The idea is that Winsor walks to the ball and picks it up.

I went from rough to fine tweaking. The triangles help me to figure out the timing (contact positions of the shoes). I also have modified the bone rigging, to include hips and shoulders. The setup file is here (zip archive).

Edit: here is an animated GIF of the final version. The animation isn't great, but you get the idea. The main problem is that with image files --in contrast to vector layers-- the onion skinning doesn't really work. Fine tuning is very laborious, because you have to flip back and forth, instead of using the onion skinning.

Image
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Víctor Paredes
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Post by Víctor Paredes » Tue Mar 18, 2008 5:46 pm

Rasheed wrote:The main problem is that with image files --in contrast to vector layers-- the onion skinning doesn't really work. Fine tuning is very laborious, because you have to flip back and forth, instead of using the onion skinning.
i am working in a project which only uses images. i never noticed how terrible was have not onionskins for images.
this deserve a feature request.
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Rasheed
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Post by Rasheed » Tue Mar 18, 2008 11:08 pm

selgin wrote:i am working in a project which only uses images. i never noticed how terrible was have not onionskins for images.
this deserve a feature request.
The problem is that you only see the bounding boxes of the imported images, see screenshot:

Image
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