Start learning with our library of video tutorials taught by experts. Get started

2D Character Animation
Illustration by John Hersey

Animating the feet in After Effects


From:

2D Character Animation

with George Maestri

Video: Animating the feet in After Effects

Now let's go ahead and start animating the walk. We need to block out the steps of the walk and also get the hips moving, so that they stay between the steps. Now the way that I animate is I like to animate the feet and the hips first and then fill in the legs. So what we are going to do is we are just going to isolate the feet and the hip. I am going to go ahead and select the right the right and left shoe as well as the hips. So these three objects here are going to be highlighted. Now, I am working in the Woman_01 composition.
Expand all | Collapse all
  1. 2m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 16s
  2. 48m 21s
    1. Designing characters
      3m 22s
    2. Tracing characters
      4m 32s
    3. Creating joints that work
      3m 53s
    4. Working with outlines
      4m 0s
    5. Accessorizing your characters
      2m 21s
    6. Creating parts for replacement animation
      1m 41s
    7. Rigging hierarchies in After Effects
      5m 33s
    8. Rigging replacement animation in After Effects
      5m 52s
    9. Rigging with the Puppet tool in After Effects
      3m 16s
    10. Rigging Flash characters
      5m 50s
    11. Rigging replacement animation in Flash
      4m 25s
    12. Rigging with the Bone tool in Flash
      3m 36s
  3. 55m 29s
    1. The first law of motion
      3m 3s
    2. The second law of motion
      3m 45s
    3. The third law of motion
      3m 19s
    4. Using slow in and slow out
      5m 34s
    5. Arcs and smooth motion
      5m 4s
    6. Understanding overlap and follow-through
      5m 16s
    7. Animating overlap and follow-through
      5m 46s
    8. Understanding squash and stretch
      3m 10s
    9. Animating squash and stretch
      4m 40s
    10. Squashing and stretching characters
      5m 16s
    11. Understanding weight
      3m 27s
    12. Understanding anticipation
      4m 54s
    13. Animating anticipation and weight
      2m 15s
  4. 45m 50s
    1. Internal vs. external forces
      4m 45s
    2. Bringing characters to life
      4m 57s
    3. Animating blinks
      4m 37s
    4. Animating changes in eye direction
      2m 43s
    5. Animating head turns
      8m 1s
    6. Creating a strong line of action
      4m 16s
    7. Creating strong silhouettes
      2m 19s
    8. Pose-to-pose animation: Blocking
      4m 32s
    9. Pose-to-pose animation: Animating
      4m 21s
    10. Pose-to-pose animation: Finalizing
      5m 19s
  5. 46m 53s
    1. A walk in four poses
      2m 27s
    2. Motion of the head and body
      1m 32s
    3. Walk cycles and backgrounds
      1m 40s
    4. Skeleton motion and walking
      4m 2s
    5. Animating a walk: Contact position
      3m 0s
    6. Animating a walk: The feet
      9m 10s
    7. Animating a walk: The body
      5m 19s
    8. Animating a walk: The legs
      8m 21s
    9. Animating a walk: The upper body and arms
      3m 46s
    10. Animating a walk: The head
      2m 50s
    11. Animating a walk: Squash and stretch
      4m 46s
  6. 26m 52s
    1. A run in four poses
      4m 10s
    2. Animating a run: First pose
      4m 39s
    3. Animating a run: Second pose
      3m 45s
    4. Animating a run: Third pose
      3m 27s
    5. Animating a run: Fourth pose
      5m 1s
    6. Animating a run: Upper body
      5m 50s
  7. 37m 6s
    1. The basics of dialogue animation
      4m 35s
    2. Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes
      5m 33s
    3. Phonemes and lip-syncing
      8m 36s
    4. Animating dialogue: Animating the body
      6m 27s
    5. Animating dialogue: Assigning mouth shapes
      4m 10s
    6. Animating dialogue: Finalizing
      7m 45s
  8. 1h 27m
    1. Animating a scene
      2m 0s
    2. Setting up the scene in After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Animating the feet in After Effects
      10m 40s
    4. Animating the legs in After Effects
      4m 21s
    5. Animating the upper body in After Effects
      9m 44s
    6. Animating the mouth and blinks in After Effects
      7m 5s
    7. Setting up the scene in Flash
      4m 6s
    8. Animating the feet in Flash
      9m 0s
    9. Animating the body in Flash
      5m 23s
    10. Animating the legs in Flash
      7m 24s
    11. Animating the hands in Flash
      11m 54s
    12. Animating the mouth in Flash
      12m 26s
  9. 33s
    1. Goodbye
      33s

Watch this entire course now—plus get access to every course in the library. Each course includes high-quality videos taught by expert instructors.

Become a member
please wait ...
2D Character Animation
5h 50m Advanced Nov 13, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.

Topics include:
  • Creating character joints that really work
  • Building with the Puppet tool in After Effects
  • Understanding internal versus external forces in movement
  • Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes for dialogue
  • Setting up a scene in both After Effects and Flash
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Author:
George Maestri

Animating the feet in After Effects

Now let's go ahead and start animating the walk. We need to block out the steps of the walk and also get the hips moving, so that they stay between the steps. Now the way that I animate is I like to animate the feet and the hips first and then fill in the legs. So what we are going to do is we are just going to isolate the feet and the hip. I am going to go ahead and select the right the right and left shoe as well as the hips. So these three objects here are going to be highlighted. Now, I am working in the Woman_01 composition.

Now what I need to do is get this character from point A to point B, point B being the center of the screen. I'm going to go ahead and turn on the Grid here, so that we can see that this line here is the center. So we want to get it pretty much around this line. But we only have about a second or so to get it there. Let's take a look at this board. So what we have is we have got her walking in and then the dialog starts right here between 40 and 50.

Now we are animating this at 30 frames per second, which means that I have about from frame 0 to frame 30, maybe a little bit past frame 30, to get her into the center of the screen. Now the reason I am kind of shaving off those 10 frames is that we need time to get her into her first pose. So I want to make sure I get her to that spot a little bit early so that we can get her into her first pose. So what we have got is we have got to get from here to here in about a second and that means we need to take how many steps? Well, let's go ahead and take a look at this.

So we need to get from here to here. Now it looks like we are going to need about three to three-and-a-half steps in order to do that. Three steps over 30 frames, that's about 10 frames per step, but actually I'm going to shave it off even a little bit more. I'm going to make it about 8 frames per step, which is actually a fairly fast walk, but I think it will work. So let's go ahead and start animating the feet and blocking in this walk. Now I'm going to go ahead and start this with the right foot.

Let's go ahead and make sure that we understand why I'm starting with the right foot. Because we are going to step here and then that third step is going to be crossing that line. I'm figuring about one of these grid lines per step. So we have got one step, two steps and then that third step is going to go ahead and cross over that line. So this would be 1 and 3, and this step would be step 2. So I need to start with the right foot. So let's go ahead and lay in some keyframes.

Now for this first step, you got to realize that she is standing with her feet together. So it's not going to be a full step. It's going to be a little bit more than a half step. So if I am doing 8 frames per step, I am going to do this one at say 6. I could do it at 4, but I think 6 is actually going to work a little bit better. So I am going to go to frame 6, make sure the right shoe is selected and then I'm going to go to this position value here and I'm just going to click and scroll this so that it's about a half-a-shoe length ahead of the left foot.

So this distance here is about one half of a shoe. So now that I have got that blocked out, I have got kind of the first step. Now what I'm going to do is just block it in with the feet shuffling and then we'll go ahead and make this a little bit more of a solid walk. So now that I have got the right shoe, we need to work with the left shoe. So I am going to go ahead and expand this, go back to frame 0, and set in some keyframes. Now I would like to set in keyframes at 0 just so I know I have my first pose locked in, and I'm going to go ahead and just select and copy and paste those to frame 6.

Even, so they are the same keys, I like having once at 0 just so I have them for reference. Now we are going to go from frame 6 plus 8. Remember it's 8 frames per step, so 6+8=14. So I am going to go to frame 14, select this left shoe and again bring it about a half-of-a-foot or half-of-a- shoe length ahead of that right foot. So now I have got this.

So you can see we are starting to make our steps. Now, let's do the same for the right foot. Now here, I want to make sure that this foot stays in place, so I'm going to go ahead and copy and paste the keyframe at frame 6 to frame 14, just to lock that in place. Then I'm going to go another 8 frames, which is going to be frame 22. 14+8 is 22. And again just slide the horizontal one until I get that foot just right around that center line. So here we go.

So let's go ahead and just play this and see what it looks like. So you can see we have got a nice little walk. One of the things we have to do is we have to get her into her final pose. So as you can see, her final pose has her heels together and her toes out so let's go back to this and we have to get this left foot into that position. So what I need to do is as the right foot passes the left, I want to take that left foot, pivot it around, and then slide it up against the right foot.

So what I'm going to do is right around the passing position, right where the one foot passes the other, I'm going to take this left shoe and I'm going to flip it around. So I'm going to take probably maybe three or four frames and I'm going to scale it in the opposite direction. So where it was -100, now it's 100. But I have got that a little bit wrong, because I need to go ahead and lock that pose down at frame 19, so I'm just going to go ahead and copy that first frame, the scaling in the first frame, and paste it to frame 19.

And then as it flips over, you'll see here we have got pretty much a nice flip here but it's getting way too skinny here, so I'm going to go ahead and expand that and then just rotate it down just a little bit, so that it looks like it's pivoting down and again I'm going to have that same problem with the toe moving. So I'm going to go ahead and copy the rotation key from frame 1 again. So that's going to rotate down and then I'm going to again scale it and rotate it.

So again, what I'm doing is I'm kind of pointing the toe down to give almost like a false sense of perspective. And then I'm going to go ahead and put it back to the original rotation and scaling and I'm going to go ahead and lock in the position as well. So now we have got it kind of flipping over. You can see how that foot is flipping over. In fact, let's go ahead and take a look at this up close. So now we have got this left foot, scales down, rotates so the toe is down, flips over and then goes back to normal.

I need to slide that up against the right foot. Now the right foot stops and plants at frame 22. So that means from frame 22 to about say 26, I have room to slide this foot up against the other one. So now we have got that. So we are going to step, step, step, slide. Now I still have a little bit more work to do, which means that I have to get these to look like it's walking.

So what I need to do is let's go ahead and zoom out a little bit. So let's go ahead and take this right foot and what it's going to do is as it lifts off, remember that the foot will pivot off the toe as it lifts up. So I'm going to go ahead and rotate that foot down and lift it up. So now it looks like it's lifting up and then right before it sets down, which is at frame 6, I'm going to go ahead and rotate it up so that it looks like it's setting down a lot more solidly.

So now it goes like this. Rolls off the toe, toe lifts up, it sets down. Let's do that one more time for the other foot. So I'm going to go ahead, and go about 2 frames out, lift up the foot and rotate the toe down so it looks like it's rotating off of that toe. Then when I get to the very last frame, again I want to make that 0 so the foot is flipped and then I want to go one more frame before that and lift that toe up and maybe even lift the foot up just a little bit.

So now I have got it looking like it's an actual walk. Now the next thing I need to do is I'm going to go ahead and stop here. You can do the rest of the feet by yourself. But let's go ahead and just show you a little bit about how the hips would work as well. Now once I have the feet moving properly, I need to get the hips moving as well. So let's go ahead and do them. So I'm going to go ahead and just drop in some keyframes. Now as the feet go apart, the hips are going to drop.

So I'm going to go ahead and drop the hips and move them forward just a little bit. Now this is going to be very subtle. You are not going to have a whole lot of motion here. Then as the feet pass each other, again the hips are going to go right above, the feet and they are going to go high, because again the passing position is the highest point of the walk. And then, as they set down again we are going to go again about halfway between and we are going to come down again, and so on and so forth. So let's go over to Woman_02, which is the final version of the feet and the hips, and let's see what these look like.

Okay, so as you can see, they walk and they set into place. So they walk, look at how the feet move, and then the foot flips over and again the hips just stay pretty much centered between the feet. Once you have this, you have the basic structure of your walk and everything else will fall into place.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about 2D Character Animation.


Expand all | Collapse all
please wait ...
Q: In the chapter "Creating joints that work,” the author uses a circular point for the joints in the arm animation. Do circles need to be drawn in the joints while tracing the character, or there is another method that can be used?
A: It doesn't absolutely have to be a circle, as shown in the video. However, that method is show because it’s the easiest way to make sure the joints will rotate easily.
It’s a matter of personal preference, so use whatever method will work best for each character.
 
Share a link to this course

What are exercise files?

Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course. Save time by downloading the author's files instead of setting up your own files, and learn by following along with the instructor.

Can I take this course without the exercise files?

Yes! If you decide you would like the exercise files later, you can upgrade to a premium account any time.

Become a member Download sample files See plans and pricing

Please wait... please wait ...
Upgrade to get access to exercise files.

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Learn by watching, listening, and doing, Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along Premium memberships include access to all exercise files in the library.
Upgrade now


Exercise files

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

For additional information on downloading and using exercise files, watch our instructional video or read the instructions in the FAQ.

This course includes free exercise files, so you can practice while you watch the course. To access all the exercise files in our library, become a Premium Member.

join now Upgrade now

Are you sure you want to mark all the videos in this course as unwatched?

This will not affect your course history, your reports, or your certificates of completion for this course.


Mark all as unwatched Cancel

Congratulations

You have completed 2D Character Animation.

Return to your organization's learning portal to continue training, or close this page.


OK
Become a member to add this course to a playlist

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses—and create as many playlists as you like.

Get started

Already a member?

Become a member to like this course.

Join today and get unlimited access to the entire library of video courses.

Get started

Already a member?

Exercise files

Learn by watching, listening, and doing! Exercise files are the same files the author uses in the course, so you can download them and follow along. Exercise files are available with all Premium memberships. Learn more

Get started

Already a Premium member?

Exercise files video

How to use exercise files.

Ask a question

Thanks for contacting us.
You’ll hear from our Customer Service team within 24 hours.

Please enter the text shown below:

The classic layout automatically defaults to the latest Flash Player.

To choose a different player, hold the cursor over your name at the top right of any lynda.com page and choose Site preferencesfrom the dropdown menu.

Continue to classic layout Stay on new layout
Exercise files

Access exercise files from a button right under the course name.

Mark videos as unwatched

Remove icons showing you already watched videos if you want to start over.

Control your viewing experience

Make the video wide, narrow, full-screen, or pop the player out of the page into its own window.

Interactive transcripts

Click on text in the transcript to jump to that spot in the video. As the video plays, the relevant spot in the transcript will be highlighted.

Are you sure you want to delete this note?

No

Notes cannot be added for locked videos.

Thanks for signing up.

We’ll send you a confirmation email shortly.


Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

Keep up with news, tips, and latest courses with emails from lynda.com.

Sign up and receive emails about lynda.com and our online training library:

Here’s our privacy policy with more details about how we handle your information.

   
submit Lightbox submit clicked
Terms and conditions of use

We've updated our terms and conditions (now called terms of service).Go
Review and accept our updated terms of service.