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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.
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.
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