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Animating a run: Upper body

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Animating a run: Upper body

Once you have the foundation of the character animated, in other words, the hips and the feet, you can move onto the upper body. So let's go ahead and see where we are at. We've got this nice little run cycle, but of course as you can see the body really is kind of dead. So let's go ahead and start working with that. Well, the first thing I want to work with is basically the transition between the lower and upper body, and that's the line where the shirt intersects the pants. So that we can see it a little bit better, I am going to go ahead and turn off this arm so we can see this line.

Animating a run: Upper body

Once you have the foundation of the character animated, in other words, the hips and the feet, you can move onto the upper body. So let's go ahead and see where we are at. We've got this nice little run cycle, but of course as you can see the body really is kind of dead. So let's go ahead and start working with that. Well, the first thing I want to work with is basically the transition between the lower and upper body, and that's the line where the shirt intersects the pants. So that we can see it a little bit better, I am going to go ahead and turn off this arm so we can see this line.

What's going to happen? Now we have talked about this in the walk cycle. Now let's go ahead and go over it again. What's going to happen here is that as the character moves, this shape actually will change because right now it's kind of down and it's kind of like this concave line here. And what this means is that right foot is down and back. But when the right foot is up and forward, that means the other foot is down and back.

So really the weight has shifted to that other foot. So if we actually animate this shape, the line between the upper and lower torso, we can actually get a much better sense of volume in the character. So notice how now instead of concave, it's convex. So we go from this shape here to this shape here on the opposite foot, and when we put all that together, you can see how it gives a much better sense of volume.

It looks like his hips are rocking back and forth as he runs. So now let's go ahead and move up to the head. Now, this head is actually going to have some secondary motion as the character bounces up and down. So as he pushes up, this is going to kind of sink into his collar. So now, he pushes up, it sinks into his collar, and then as he falls down here, the head is going to lag behind. So it's going to kind of come up a little bit like this.

So now we have got almost like a piston. It kind of comes up, comes down, and then it goes back to the original. So let's go ahead and play that. So as you can see we have got a much better motion on the head, but another thing that looks pretty stiff is his hat. Now, we can have a lot of fun with that. We can do a lot of squash and stretch animation. So again, just like the head, as that head is being squashed into the body, the hat is being squashed into the head.

So let's go ahead and animate some squash and stretch on the hat. So I am going to go ahead and squash his hat down, maybe rotate it a little bit to get it kind of set down onto his head. So now, as he pushes up, that hat squashes and as he moves down, it's going to stretch. Let's go ahead and rotate it. As it stretches, it actually may even leave his head just a little bit because he is really doing some pretty hefty motion here.

So now, I have got it squashing around frame 2, stretching around frame 6, and then going back to normal on the cycle. So let's see how that works. Now, I can actually have that squash down a little bit more on the head here. Let's go ahead and stretch this a little bit more. Yeah, that's much better. So now we can then stretch this more. There we go. Let's take a look at this.

There we go, much better. So now we have the body. And the last thing we need to do is animate the arms. Let me go ahead and turn those back on. The arms actually move opposite the legs very similar to a walk. So as the right leg is back, the right arm is rotated forward. So I am going to go ahead and rotate it forward and even move it forward a little bit to give a sense of his shoulders moving forward, and also rotate this a little bit at the elbow.

That's actually a little bit off right there. We can fix that. So that's my good first pose. Then just go halfway through the cycle and get to my second pose, which will be this is straightened out and the shoulder is rotated back and it also moves back here, something like that, maybe a little bit more. So now, yeah, that looks about right. So now all I have to do is just copy and paste those first frames to frame 16 to give a nice cycle, and let's see how that looks.

It's a little bit off, but that will be good for now. You can see where we are going with this and I have also already animated the left hand to make sure that it works as well, and there we go. So there is a basic 8 frame per step run cycle and as you can see, it looks pretty good. So when animating a run, it's often best to do it pose to pose. Now, make sure that your poses are strong and also make sure that you have smooth in-betweens between the poses.

Once you are done with the basic run, you can add a little bit of squash and stretch to make it give it more life. Different characters will run differently, but hopefully, this run is a good template for which to base all of your other runs.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for 2D Character Animation
2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 22121 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  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

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