Walk Cycle very first attempt

So after doing research and studying how people walk I started on my first attempt with the ‘Jack’ rig. I was a little unsure of where to actually start with moving the character, what pose is first and if I should change his position to go forward. I watched other tutorials and they seem to do the movements with the character standing in one place to begin with. One tutorial suggested only moving the background and never changing the characters position ( although this would only work if he was going in the one direction). For me to properly learn something and get it right I have to do it several times. The more I do it the faster I get and I can understand the process better.

Image reference

I had made a few attempts not using an image reference but watching videos and then trying positions through memory. This proved really difficult as the timing was completely off. I was advised to use a reference image to follow. I acquired an image from Richard Williams, Animators survival guide. Below shows how I used the image to line up with the rigged character. I had to play about with the timing but eventually it started to look like a nice paced walk.



Moving the legs 

Using the reference image the first thing I did was move the feet position. When I moved them up the legs bend in accordance to the rig. I followed the different poses until I had a walk. I found that sometimes the foot was little high up off the ground to the image, but it could not be stretched out anymore. This is were I also discovered that if the leg is fully stretched out, when in motion it looks like its clicking. To solve this I have to make sure the leg is slightly bent.


Moving the hips 

The next thing I did was move the hips. When we walk our hips tend to sway down on the leg that has the most weight (the one that is taking the step). When I did this I noticed that my legs bent even more but the feet stayed in position because I had already key framed them. I had to go back and fix the feet in accordance with the hips position. I found this rather tedious to fix. Eventually I got the legs in position although they where not perfect. As this is only my first attempt and I had spent a lot of  time on the legs I decided to move on to the next step. Although in my next attempt I know now to do the hips FIRST to save myself from re-fixing position.


Moving the body

In the reference image I noticed that a character goes up and down when walking. This is during the down walk, where most of the weight is on one leg and it is slight bent, then goes up. Yet again I found that my leg bending position is changed when I did this and I had to tweak the legs. In my next attempt I will keep this in mind to move the up and down positions at the same time as  the hips and feet.


Moving the arms 

I wanted to move away from the legs for a while as I have been spending HOURS on them. So I had a look at the arms. Through research I looked at how the arms and the legs move in opposites ways to allow balance. For example the left leg moves forward so the left arm moves back. For this I had to make the timing of  the arm swing the same as the leg movement so that they correspond with eachother.

I looked at my own arm for this, seeing how my elbow moves when my arm is swaying. I noted the slight bent when the arm is swung forward and then back. I rotated the wrist slightly after the arm moves so that it is swaying from momentum and gravity.


Moving the shoulders 

After the arms are moving the character is looking very robotic so I had to moving the shoulders to look more natural. At first I used the told shoulder rig, but then Rebecca suggested to move the upper body rig. This slightly twists the body and also move the shoulders forwards and back. I found  that the upper body was easier to animated and it looks alot smother than then legs. I think it was because the order in which I animated the legs was wrong and I had to re fix alot of frames.


So here is a playblast of my very first attempt. I know that there is alot of tweaking required but I am fairly pleased for my first walk cycle. The legs need alot of work and for my next attempt I will begin with getting the hips and up and down movements aswell as my feet placement at the same time. This way I do not have to go back and redo positions if I do them individually. I want to try and get the timing right too. At some points there is a slight pause with the legs before they move to the next pose. This pause is also seen with the arms as they are in correspondence with the legs. So basically I will be starting again, taking with me what I have learnt and try to make a better walk!


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