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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.
At this point, we have the feet and the hips moving and this gives us the basic structure of our walk. Now we need to fill in the lower part of the body by animating the legs. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to take the left leg and we are going to go ahead and animate that. So I'm going to go ahead to solo that and I'm going to turn off the right shoe, so all we are working with is the left foot and the left leg. So let's see what we have got here. So as you can see, we have got this foot and hip moving, but the legs don't match up.
Well, we can fix that fairly easily just by animating the legs. I'm going to zoom in here so we can see this a little better. So as you can see, everything is moving but the legs. So let's go ahead and start adding in some keys for the legs. Again, I'm putting in some keys at frame 0, just so I have a good strong pose and now let's go ahead and go out to frame 6 because what happens is this foot stays solid until frame 6. Nothing really happens.
So what I can do is I can just rotate and move the upper part of this leg, which should be left upper leg, and again just match it up so that it looks like it's moving. So now you can see it looks like it's pivoting off of that leg. And then I'm going to go ahead and copy and paste keys for the lower leg as well, just so that we have them in place. Now, as that foot lifts up, we need to do some more complex keying.
So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go to the passing position, which is about four frames in, which is about frame 10, and I'm going to start with the upper leg and move it and then take the lower leg and rotate it so that we have got a nice pose here, so something like that. Now you can see that the in-between doesn't really work all that well. So what I'm going to do is I'm going to go halfway in-between there and see if we can get a better pose.
Now in some of this you may have to tweak a frame at a time. So now we have got the leg moving and let's go ahead and get this extended position, which is at frame 14. So again, I'm going to straighten out that knee and go ahead and move it over. So really it's just a matter of connecting the dots. What you have got is you have got these two points, you have the hip and the foot, and you just need to make the leg bridge that gap and I find this is much easier than trying to animate the foot from the leg down.
Keeping that foot separate really helps a lot and again what you need to do is just kind of go back and tweak it. But it's really not that difficult of a task. It's really just kind of lining things up. Now I'm going to go ahead and switch over to Composition:Woman_03 and let's take a look at what that looks like. So let's go ahead and zoom in and we can see a little bit closer, as to how this leg works. Just scrub through that a little bit more slowly.
So as you can see, it bends, extends, squashes and then as it pivots, I'm actually not animating the leg hardly at all. It's the foot that's really doing most of the work. If you notice that this curve here is always on the right side. Now if I wanted to, I could actually use the Puppet tool or something like that to give it a little bit more balance, but this seems to work just fine. Now once you have one leg, the other leg pretty much works the same.
I'm not going to go ahead and go through all that process. So let's go ahead and take a look at what the final version of the hips, legs and feet look like. So again, for the right leg, it's exactly the same process as the left. You just have to match it up and make sure that everything holds together. Then once you have that, you can start moving on to the upper body and the rest of the character.
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