Body Mechanic Reflection

This part of the module was completely new to me. Although I was part of a short animation last year I did not do any of the animating because I did not feel confident enough. Starting this task I took alot of time on the walk, trying so many attempts. I found it really tedious and hard to follow all the different key frames and timing. Looking at my very first attempt and my last I can definitely see the difference. I’m glad I took so much time on animating and on my next short animation I will be more confident to animate.

Final Jump

For the final jump I made a few changes after my feedback from Alec and my team mates. Things I have changed:

  • Speed accelerated when falling down
  • A little faster on the push off
  • Chest and head is closer to the ground on the landing
  • Slides slightly on the landing
  • Arms are more bent in landing
  • Slightly leans back on the downfall
  • Head has more movement
  • Shoulders push forward on landing

Rig Issues 

I was advised to have the model lean more forward on the landing, closer to the ground. I found the rig was restricted in bending the leg, making the knee stick up more than natural. I felt I couldn’t bend the chest more forward like suggested because the leg just looked weird. A person would definitely have more flexibility than that.


Final Walk Cycle

After taking in all the feedback I have made my final walk cycle. What I have changed:

  • Used toe rig instead of foot to bend toe
  • Head sways slightly side to side
  • Hips are not swaying just as much, more natural
  • Arms have more follow through
  • Hips pull up when the leg steps up
  • legs go further out on the behind step
  • Made sure the feet are firmly on the ground at the same level

I created a video that shows the different angles of the walk. I noticed that at one point the right knee sways out slightly, but I just could not get it straight again. I left it because I thought it would look more natural (not every step is the same when you walk).

Lecture -Walk cycle issues

After giving feedback to the whole class, in today’s lecture Alec looked at some issues alot of people were having with the walk cycle. He found that the feet and hips were a problem with some people and he did an example on how to do it and what to consider. Things to remember with the feet and hips:

  • Ensure that both feet are on the ground on the contact pose.
  • Use the toe rig to bend the foot when it is back, not the foot/ankle.
  • Ensure the legs are slightly bent and not straight out (which causes the click).
  • When the pose is at the high, make sure the legs do not go straight.
  • Make sure the hips do not rotate to much going back, it would look like the body would go off balance.
  • When the feet are on the ground make sure they stay at the same level (Look at the graph editor to help with this).

He then looked at the arm swing and how to make it more natural. He used follow through action and overlapping animation to make the arm and hand more fluid. To get this, have the wrist rotate forward and back during the motion of the arm. Make the wrist move slightly after the elbow and shoulder, giving it a dragging action. Off setting the timing of the elbow to the arm also helps to achieve this look. Alec looked at the difference in IK and FK which changes the Rigs of the model. He also looked at how the head should bob slightly when the body is moving up and down. To have a natural look the head would slightly be off set from the body, making a dragging motion. It can vary depending on how the person is walking and what they are looking at.

The scenes

Alec suggested looking at to get some inspiration when modelling our scenes. It is a free website that has other artist work. It also has an option to look at different faces if it is a 3d model, so you can see it without light or texture.




Today Alec took the time to go around everyone and look at their walk cycles and action and give feedback. He looked at my walk and give me suggestions for slight adjustments. When I have bent the toe I have used the ‘raise toe’ option in the foot rig which also moves the angle. He suggested using the actually rig for the toe rather than the foot. It bends the toe more without making must difference on the leg. He also suggested the model should be going down more on the down pose. He thought the arms could have a little more follow through in their movement and the head to have better timing. The rotations of the shoulders and hips looked fine.

With these suggestion I went back and did some tweaking with the model. I took all the key frames off the raised toe foot rig, and used the toe rig instead. I had to adjust the legs after doing this as the ankle did not need to be rotated as much and the leg was too bent. I also changed the down pose to be lower and adjusted the head. Below is a video of what I have  so far. I think it is almost completely, perhaps a slight more adjusting on the head sway as she walks.

Alec had a look at the jump action. He thought the jump off worked well, showing weight as the body is pushed of the ledge. He advised that the arms should be different from eachother to look more natural. The timing of the fall could also be slightly faster just before he lands. I haven’t finished the landing at this stage, but he suggested that the model is bent further as he loses balance, using his arms to catch himself. The video below is what I have got so far.

The Jump

After looking at different videos of Parkour I thought I would give a jump from one building to another a go. Most of  the videos I saw did a run and jump but I wanted my model to jump of the building from the same position, this is so that I can show weight and momentum when the body is pushed of the ledge by the legs and body weight.

At the beginning I used the Stepped animation to help with the poses and the timing. (At this point I have not yet animated the hands or shoulders). I posed the model in a standing upright position to start with, then had him crouching low, legs bent and arms extending backwards. The reason for this pose is for when the body jumps forward, the arms will also swing forward throwing him off balance. The leg muscles will pounce straight, projecting the body out away from the building.

The image below is the next pose, after the body has pushed himself off the ledge. The legs are completely straight, giving as much push as possible. The arms are also straight out. The hips have been rolled back slightly aswell as the back and chest. I think I could probably give the character more bend in this pose now that I am looking at the image again. When the body begins its descent the legs are pulled forward and  the back and hips are rotated inwards. This is so that the body can straighten itself out in time ready for impact.


During the descent the body starts to straighten out. The legs and back are still slightly bent, to help absorb impact


When the body hits the ground I wanted the model to lose balance (it was a very high jump). After his feet hit the ground he would throw his arms forward to catch him and the back to bend. The shoulders would be rotated forward aswell. Once the model has balanced himself he will push off the ground into standing position.




For part two of creative strategies we have to animate an action using the rigged models. It must show the use of weight and timing aswell as correct poses of the action. I looked at last years students work and seen the different actions they used. People had a character standing up or jumping. Alec showed a good example of the character jumping from a tall object to the ground. He looked at the acceleration and trajectory of the model and how far he would jump our from the tall object. Then he would have to think of the weight when he lands, how the pose would be effected from the height he jumped from aswell as the speed.

For inspiration I had a look at several examples. The video below discusses how to create a strong character pose. He talks of the line of action and how it would draw attention to something or is pleasing to the eye. It would describe an action happening or about to. It gives an example of a character throwing a ball. Having a strong curved line when the character throws the ball, the line of action will follow his body through. Something else that is important is silhouetting. When character is in a good pose, if it is silhouetted the audience can still see what is happening. This is because people tend to see the outline of a character first before looking at the detail. The angle of the character must also be considered so that the audience can read what is going on. Weight and balance gives a more realistic pose, instead of too straight and stiff. When using weight and balance it is important to think of the balance of the person, that they are not standing in a way that they could fall over. An audience could pick up on this and see that something is not right.

I came across this short film a few years back and I was really impressed by the movements and actions of the character. The use of timing and speed made the whole animation exciting to watch. Looking back at it now I can see the different poses and line of action when the character is moving. He does some really cool jumps and flips and the use of weight when he lands. I might consider doing something similar to the jumps the character does off a building, something like Alec had suggested.

This is a cool animation. It has two actions going on with one character being chased by a dragon. The man is doing parkour, jumping from building to building to escape. The timing has been used well with the actions of both the man and the dragon, like he ducks or rolls the same moment the dragon swoops down. There was some good jumps in this video. One particular I liked when he landed with one arm on the ground taking the weight and the other outstretched to the side. There was a good bounce motion on the arm that is outstretched. If you want to check it out it is 20 seconds into the video.


I really liked watching this video below because I could clearly see where the characters limbs where at any time because of the colouring of the model. It has really good jumps and strong poses throughout. I particularly liked the ending running and jump. He is about to do a twisted twirl in the air, so he turns to the side to gather momentum and balance as he runs, ready for the jump.


I looked at some gymnastic moves aswell to see if I can recreate their flexibility. I came across this girl doing really cool flips on a trampoline, even slowing it down or showing it in reverse.


Attempt Fail 

I had made an attempt at a gymnastic doing a back flip on a beam and landing in a hand stand split. As I was doing it I found the waist Rig completely left the body and I was unable to move the model back to standing position. I got a little frustrated with it and gave up, decided  to do something else instead.

Run Cycle – First Attempt

So after doing several walk cycles I thought I would change it up abit and try a run. I found that position of poses and timing where completely different and it took me a while to get the legs correct. As I was doing this, to make it easier I made the timing slow, then speed it up when I was finished. Using the references from the Survival Guide book and watching athletes run I made my first attempt at making Jack run.

(its a little jumpy as I pasted the keys together carelessly)

I posted this video onto Facebook and asked my fellow class mates on some feedback before I tried another attempt. Several people noticed that the arms seemed stiff and was not in sync with the legs. I think this is because  I animated it in slow mo and I didn’t judge it correctly. Rosie suggested that the back should be more bent on the down pose. Rebecca advised that there should be more weight on the legs coming down. I am finding this a little difficult to achieve with all of my attempts and I will be asking Alec for advice in the next lecture. So for my next attempt I will concentrate on getting the motion of the arms correct and also bringing weight into the movement.


Walk Cycle – Third attempt

After the last attempt I asked Alec Parkin for some feedback. He said that it looked abit floaty so I should think about the weight of  the body when it comes on the down leg. Also he thought the leg was going too far back on the out step. He also mentioned the popping and advised that I should go back frame by frame to fix them at the end when everything else is positioned. The reference I used was very exaggerated for a cartoon so he showed me some realistic poses to use.

In my next attempt I took the feedback into consideration and made the steps more realistic. I have made the walk a little exaggerated. The model Jill walks with a sway, rolling her hips and shoulders like a cat walk model would. Also I gave her hands a swaying motion, going infront of her body when at the front. I wanted to study the way the shoulders and the hips move together.

Walk Cycle – Second attempt

So I finally think I’m getting the hang of the timing of poses and positions. At first I was really overwhelmed with so many points and key frames but now I’m beginning to understand it. Below is my second attempt. I can definitely see the difference between this one and the last. The legs are alot better (though I think they can be smoother) and are not clicking just as much. Looking at the finished video I am noticing that the hips are not swaying quite right in regards to the shoulders. The last attempt was a male model and this one was a female, so I should have taken that more in to consideration. At this point I am just trying to make a ‘normal’ walk. Once I am more confident I will animate more characteristics to the model. In this attempt I played abit more with the arms and hands swaying aswell as giving more movement into the shoulders. For my next attempt I am going to moving the toes aswell as the feet to make it more fluid and realistic.