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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.
Let's go ahead and animate a simple walk. I have a basic character here and as you can see he is composed of puppet parts, so I have just various parts of this character I can turn on and off. Now this will make the walk cycle much easier to animate. Now before I start animating I want to set up a guideline. And what this is, is just a simple horizontal line along the bottom of the screen. Now I have positioned this so that it's even with the bottom of his feet.
This makes him much easier to move the feet along a straight line when we actually get to animating the walk. Now before we start animating, we do need to set up the first pose of the animation and the first pose is going to be the contact position. This is where the legs are farthest apart. So we are going to actually start with the feet and we've got to pose the feet first. I am going to put the left foot forward and the right foot back for this pose.
Now we don't have to start with the left foot, but this is just a way that I want to do this. So the first thing I am going to do is just move that left foot forward and then I am going to take the left leg and just rotate it, so it kind of matches up with that foot. Now for the right foot, I am going to go ahead and move it back. But I am not going to move it back nearly as far as I moved the left foot forward. This is because the leg doesn't bend back nearly as well as it bends forward.
So we don't want to put this leg into an unnatural pose. Then once I get that foot positioned, I am going to go ahead and take that right leg and then just rotate it. Then maybe even move that leg so that it matches. Now one other thing I am noticing here is that when I move this leg down, the hips seem to be a little bit too high. So I am going to go ahead and grab those and positioned them, so that they are a little bit more evenly distributed between the legs and just a little bit lower.
Now once we have this initial pose, I am going to go ahead and turn on two more guidelines. These are vertical guidelines that determine the stride length of the character. Now what the stride length is, is how far apart the feet are when the character walks. So a character with a large stride length may be taking very long steps and obviously a character with a shorter stride length may be taking shorter, more frequent steps.
So the stride length will determine to some degree the character of your walk. Now that we have the contact position, we can actually start animating the walk. Now make sure that your contact position is balanced and it looks good, because this is going to be the basis of our entire walk.
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