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Simple Walk Cycle

May 1, 2014

The simple walk cycle was animated using the ‘pose-to-pose’ method of animating where key poses are blocked out first. Using the example of a walk cycle in the ‘Animators Survival Kit’ book by Richard Williams, the key poses were blocked in Maya in a 50 frame timeline at 25FPS. However, only 2 steps of the walk cycle had to be animated, that is, only 25 frames. The cycle will be created later using the pre-infinity and post infinity cycle options in the graph editor. The first and last frame has to be the exact same pose in order for a cycle to occur, so with that in mind the first frame was keyed and then copied to the last frame.

animatorsSurvivalKit_walkCycleRef3

Walk cycle reference from The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams

Walk cycle reference from The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams

Walk cycle reference from The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams

Walk cycle reference from The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams

Walk cycle reference from The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams

The first step when making the walk cycle was to block in the ‘contact’ key poses. This is where the heel first hits the ground in the walk cycle. The next step is to block in the ‘passing’ key pose which is where the foot and leg is raised up and is moving past the leg that is firmly on the ground. With the passing pose done, the ‘down’ key pose was blocked in. This occurs after the contact pose where the lead foot is flat on the ground with the knees bent, the hip is moved down, and the foot behind is just leaving the ground. The last key pose was the ‘up’ pose, where the leg behind the leading leg in the walk is extended and straight to around its highest point about to leave the ground. The hips are also raised up to create an up pose. The legs and arms were both blocked out in this initial stage, however certain movements such as with the head and hip side-to-side movements were left until a later stage.

Contact Pose on frame 1

Contact Pose on frame 1

Reverse contact pose of frame 13

Reverse contact pose of frame 13

Contact pose of frame 25, same as frame 1

Contact pose of frame 25, same as frame 1

Passing pose frame

Passing pose frame 7

Reverse passing pose frame 19

Reverse passing pose frame 19

Down pose of frame 4

Down pose of frame 4

Reverse down pose frame 16

Reverse down pose frame 16

Up pose frame 10

Up pose frame 10

Reverse up pose frame 22

Reverse up pose frame 22

Blocking walk cycle for ‘Ultimate Bony’

 

Alternate walk cycle blocking

 

With blocking the walk cycle completed, I moved on to refining the movements in the arms and legs and also added extra movements of the head and hips moving side-to-side. The feet had to have a firm down pose where the lead foot is flat on the ground. To do this, the key frame for this pose was set to ‘linear tangent’. Using the front orthographic view in Maya, the side-to-side movements were added. This included the slight weight shift in the hips during the up pose where the lead leg was extended. In this refining stage of animation, the straight ahead technique of animation began to be used. The overlapping of the arms was also added in. The arms were slightly offset to create more variation in the cycle, making it look less mechanical. The hands had some finger movement animated to give the cycle more life.

Weight shift

Weight shift and head movements added

The final simple walk cycle is shown below:

Side view walk cycle

 

Front view walk cycle

 

Front View walk cycle Final

 

Side view walk cycle Final

I feel that there needs to be more work done on the feet and hands, however as this is my first walk cycle ever created, the result is not too bad.

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