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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.
So once you get the basic motion of the feet, the next step is to animate the hips and get the motion of the character's body. So let's go ahead and take a look at how these feet are moving. You can see we have a very nice cadence, so let's go ahead and just start working with the body. Now, before I do this I'm going to go ahead and turn off these guidelines, because now that I have the feet placed I really don't need them and it'll make it a much easie, to work without all that clutter on the screen.
So, I'm going to just go ahead and turn on the character's hips. Now these are actually just a round shape. If you want, I can turn on the rest of the body so you can see how it all kind of fits in. So you can see this is the body and then just that shape is the hips. Now this is kind of nice, because it represents almost like the bouncing ball and we can just animate the hips, almost like a ball bouncing above the feet. So let's go ahead and do that. Now at this point we have a key already set up at frame 0. We've already set up that extended position.
So, I have this key, and it's actually what I want for frame 0 and then halfway through the cycle here when the feet are on opposite sides it's going to be pretty much the same. So, I'm going to go ahead and copy it there and again to frame 24 just so that I've a nice loop. And again I'm only animating to frame 23, because 24 is the loop point and that's identical to frame 0, so I don't want to double expose that frame.
So now that I have this you can see that the feet are just moving below the body but it doesn't look like that mass of the hips is really connected to the feet. So in order to this we need to start to get a sense of motion for this. Now, I'm going to start here with the passing position. Now the passing position for the hips is basically where the leg goes under the body and so the hips are at their highest point. So I'm going to go ahead and lift those hips up to give the legs room to move underneath.
So now, I have the hips bouncing up, going down and then I can literally copy the keyframe here on frame 6 to frame 18 just to get that same height, so we have a little bit of consistency. So again, I just at frame 18 again, halfway between the steps at the passing position I lift it up again. So now I've got this sense of bouncing motion here. But what is also happening is that as the character goes into the step we actually are shifting weight from one foot to the other.
Now, remember when we had pose-to-pose animation, what happens when you shift weight? The weight drops. So at this point I'm actually going to take the weight and make it lower than where it was at the beginning. So I'm just going to drop it just a hair, just enough to give it a sense of realism so it drops and then lifts. And then again, a few frames into this second step, it drops again. So now I have this. So it actually drops, lifts, drops, lifts.
Even with that simple motion you could see now you can almost imagine the legs connected to the hips and we have kind of almost having like this bouncing ball above the feet. Now let's go ahead and turn on the rest of the body because I really wan to give one more little tidbit of animation here. So, I'm going to go ahead and select the rest of the body and go ahead and turn that off for just a second. And what happens here is that as this character falls down he is shifting weight, so what is happening here? Let's go ahead and just play this.
You can see he is bouncing up and down, but there's really no back and forth rocking motion. As he comes into this step he's actually going to lean forward a little bit, so here on frame 2, maybe a little later, but generally right around here around frame 2, he is actually leaning into this step. So now he leans in and then steps up and then again on the second step we repeat that frame.
So, now we've got a little bit of a lean to the step. It gives a much better sense of weight. Between here and here it seems like he moves forward a little bit too quickly. So actually, I'm going to go ahead and take that frame where he's leaning forward and move it back from say frame 14 to frame 16 and again, here at the beginning I'm going to move it from frame 2 to frame 4, so that lean-forward is a little bit more gentle. So that looks a little bit better. So now I've got him leaning forward as he steps and it gives a much better sense of weight and almost it's like he's a pendulum going back and forth.
So as you can see we've got the hips and now the feet moving, so we've got the major mass of the body moving as well as the feet. So the next thing to do is to connect the feet to the hips by animating the legs.
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