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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 that we have the first pose in place, we can start animating the walk by focusing on the feet. So let's go ahead before we start and actually take a look at our storyboard. Now in the storyboard we have her starting in this pose. She walks to center stage and stops. Then she delivers her line. So when she is walking her feet are pointed forward but then when she stops, notice how her heals are together and her feet are out. So we need to have her walk out and then turn her left foot so that she is in this pose.
Now the next thing we need to do is figure out how many steps will it take to get her into the center of the stage and how long will those steps take. Well this we can just do by kind of rough estimation. Let's go ahead and take a look at our scene. What we have to do is we have to go from here to here. Now I notice we can probably take one, two, three steps. So I think it's somewhere around three to three and a half steps and if you notice from the dialogue line, the dialogue starts somewhere around frame 40.
So we need to get her into position before then. In fact, I want to get her into position a little bit before that to give her to relax and get into her next pose. So that means I have to get her from here to here by about frame 30. So if she is doing three steps by frame 30, that means she has about 10 frames per step. Now we are animating at 30 frames per second. So she has got about a second to get into the center of the screen. I am actually going to animate this at about 8 frames per step and I think it will work out just fine.
So let's go ahead and start this walk by animating just the feet. Now this is something I always like to do. I want to get the feet walking properly and then the rest of the body will follow. So let's go ahead and focus on the feet. So I am going to go ahead and turn off the upper body. I am going to also turn off the arm and then I am going into the Lower Body folder here and I am actually going to turn off the legs as well. So the only thing that's going to be turned on is the L_Shoe and the R_Shoe.
So let's go ahead and start animating. Now the first step I am going to take is actually not going to be a full step, because she actually has her feet together. This is going to be a little bit more than a half a step. So for 8 frames per step, a half step is 4 frames but I am actually going to give myself a little bit more time to get started, so I am going to do it at 6 frames. So I am going to go to frame 6 and I am going to go ahead and insert a keyframe. I am going to go ahead and select the shoe and hit F6 and select the other shoe and hit F6.
So now I have a keyframe. So I am going to go ahead and select this right shoe and we are going to move it out just a little bit. Now I am going to move it out just so that the heel of that foot is about a half a foot ahead of the other foot. So the right foot is going to be about a half a foot ahead of the left foot. So now we have this situation where it snaps from one point to the other. Now in Flash, in order to in-between that, all I have to do is click in this gap between these two keyframes, right click and go Create Classic Tween and I am going to do that for both of these.
Now I am not going to be using any motion tweens or any of these sophisticated things in Flash CS4, because well, this is actually a better way to animate for this type of animation and also this applies to almost every version of Flash. So now we have got this foot coming out and if you notice the foot really is just sliding along the floor but that's going to be okay for now because all I want to do is get the basic motion of the feet and then we will go ahead and fine-tune it. So now that we have this first half step, let's go ahead and go 8 frames forward to frame 14 and again, I am just going to go ahead and select those frames and hit F6 to give me a keyframe and I am going to go ahead and select the left foot and again, just slide it over so it's about a half a foot length ahead of the right foot.
So now we have got right and then left and of course, I can certainly just put in the tweens. So now we have got the feet kind of sliding and then the last one is at frame 22, 14+8 is 22 and again, F6 sets in my keyframes and this time it's going to be the right shoe. And I am going to put that somewhere around the center of the screen, somewhere around there and again, just in-between that.
So now we have got right, left, right. So I am going to go ahead and create a tween for the left as well. This isn't fully done, because this foot has to flip around and come up into this other foot in order to get that final pose. But before we do that I want to actually put in a little bit of in-betweening here. Now when the feet walk, they are actually going to lift off of the ground. So I am going to go one or two frames into this animation and then I am just going to go ahead and move this foot up and notice how it automatically creates a keyframe and then I am just going to tilt that toe down.
Again, remember how the feet roll off the ball of the foot and this will simulate that. So again, it's kind of rolling up and then right before it sets down, I am going to go one frame back, select this and then just rotate that toe up so it sets down on the heel. So now we have got something that looks like this. So let's take a look at this. So you can see it goes rolling off the foot and then that toe comes up and it feels like it sets down on the heel.
So let's do the same for the left foot. So I am going to go one, two frames in, select that left foot, lift it up just a little bit, tilt that toe down, then go to this keyframe here, one frame back, lift it up just a little bit and lift up that toe. Now we have got that and again, the same for that right foot. You can roll off the toe, set down on the heel.
So now we have this. We still have to get this foot up against that foot. Now what I am going to do is actually take this left shoe and I need to flip it around and then slide it in. How this is going to work is that as this foot passes, I am going to go ahead and spin on the toe and then once as right foot is planted the left foot is going to be facing the other way and sliding up into it. So I need to add in some keyframes here.
So I am going to go in one, two, three frames back, set a keyframe for this, then I am going to go and I am going to scale it down. In fact, let's go ahead and zoom in here, so we can see how this looks. So I am going to scale this a little bit and make it look like it's turning. So it basically look like it's turning on its toe, maybe even rotate a little bit more and then on this frame it actually is going to go ahead and flip over to the other side and again, I am trying to make this look like it's kind of in perspective here.
So it kind of flipping over and then the last frame is going to be that foot flipped over on the opposite side. So now we have got something like this. Now I need to slide this up against the other foot. So I am going to take about 4 frames to do that. So I am going to go to frame 26 and again, insert some keyframes, F6 and then just slide that up against there and let's do our classic tweens. So now we have got, here we go.
So let's take a look at this in frame and I am actually going to go ahead and lock these so you can actually see them without the brackets on them. So let's go ahead and see how this works. Okay, so that looks pretty good. So let's scrub that again, great. Now here is the final version. I have stored that in Woman_Stage_01. So let's go ahead and see what the final version of that looks like. Very similar. So now that we have the feet animated, we can now start animating the body and the legs.
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