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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 most of the body animated, we have the feet animated and now all we need to do is bridge the gap between the feet and the body by animating the legs. I have a file here called Woman_Stage_02 and this has the animation to this point. So let's go ahead and just play this to see where we are at. So as you can see I have animated the body parts and the feet and all we need to do is bridge the gap with the legs. So the first thing I am going to do is actually just turn off most of the body parts except for the hips and then I am going to turn on the legs.
So we are actually going to go ahead and start with the left leg. So I am going to go ahead and turn off the right shoe as well as the right upper and lower leg and all we are going to be working with is the left leg, the left shoe and the hips. The hips and the shoe are already animated, all we have to do is work with these two points and make sure that they bridge the gap and we'll be golden. So let's go ahead and start animating. I am actually going to zoom in a little bit so we can see what we are doing. So first thing I want to do is go to this first pose, right before this foot leaves the ground.
So it leaves the ground here on frame 6. So I am going to go ahead and select these two, left upper and lower, and hit F6 to put in a keyframe. Now I am going to position these. So I am going to go ahead and take this pivot point, position it somewhere around the hip and move this so that it's right up against that hip and then rotate it to make sure that it lines up.
Now let's do our Classic Tween. Let's see what happens. Okay, that looks pretty good. So now the next part of this is where the foot lifts off the ground, passes the other foot and sets down again. So I am actually going to go and do this passing position first, so you can see its right about here and so let's go ahead and blow in some keyframes here and let's start positioning this. So the first thing I want to do is just get the rough position of the upper leg, so I am going to position that pivot point and just rotate everything.
One thing I will do is I am going actually lock the hip, so I don't accidentally move them and then let's go ahead and just move this so that it's right about the right position. Now I also have to select this lower leg and rotate that so it's in position as well. And notice how this isn't quite lining up with the foot. Well, one of things we can do is select both of them and just scale it or skew it just a little bit so that it does line up a little bit better.
Once we have that let's go ahead and create our Classic Tween. You can see it looks pretty good, although it looks like this is off just a little bit, so I am actually going to go ahead and move that into place and maybe even scale it down just a little bit. It kind of blew it there. There we go. If you get this right you can see how it's pretty darn close. There is a point right there where it doesn't quite line up here. So let's go ahead and just add in another little keyframe, so that we can just get that lined up.
There we go, beautiful. So now we have got our first step and let's go ahead and go to frame 14 where that sets down and again, add in a keyframe, F6. Now this is where the leg is extended, so the first thing I am going to do is create a straighter version of this leg, make sure that that's all in place, then select both of them and just position it as best I can and I may have just skew it a little bit.
Now this is a kind of the nice thing about Flash is that lets you kind of do this kind of cartoony stretching very easily. So there we go. Let's go ahead and Classic Tween that. You can see that that frame is right but these two aren't. So I am just going to go about halfway in between here. Now this is kind of a point where you really are kind of fine-tuning this and you really just want to make sure that this pretty much matches up, there we go. And all we are really doing is filling in the blanks here. So there we go.
Now I have got a little bit of a nub kind of hanging out there, right here, but I don't think that's going to be all that big of a deal. So what I can do is take this pivot point here and skew it that way just a bit. So now the next part is where the foot starts to turn. So I am actually going to go to this point right here, right before that foot turns, so somewhere around frame 18 and let's go ahead and again, one more keyframe. I am going to straighten this out and again, I am just moving this pivot point here to where I need it, making sure that everything is in place and let's do our Classic Tween.
There we go and then as it spins around, go ahead put F6 in for these and again, just position them. So you can see the workflow is pretty straightforward. All you are really doing is bridging the gap between the hips and the feet. Now once you have these legs in place, you will have a pretty decent walk. Now I am not going to go through all of this, but you can see what the process is. Now you have to do this for both legs. But let's go ahead and take a look at what the final version looks like.
I have a file here called Woman_ Stage_03, which has this in it. So let's go ahead and just take a look at this one leg that we were working on and this is the final version of that and you could see that just by doing some nice in-betweens you can actually get that into place. So I went ahead and animated the right foot and the right shoe as well and let's see what that looks like. Now the process for these was exactly the same. What you do is you animate the legs to bridge the gap between the hips and the feet.
Now once you have all of this in place, let's go ahead and turn on this upper body here and let's see what it looks like. There we go. It looks pretty good. Now the one thing is these arms are not in the right place, so I am actually going to go ahead and take the right hand and arm, I am going to move those down so that they are below the rest of the body. Now once that's in place, we have a pretty good little walk here. So there is our basic walk.
Now we still need to get some fine details in the body as well as animate the dialogue. So we need to work a little bit on the hands, some secondary motion, as well as animate the face and animate the dialogue and lip-sync of the character.
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