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Animating a walk: The feet

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Animating a walk: The feet

Now that I have this first pose, this extended pose, set up, I can start animating the walk. Now, when I animate the walk, I am going to start with the feet and then just move up the body. I'm going to do the feet, then the hips, then the legs, and then the rest of the body. But before I can do any of this, I need to know some timing information. I need to know how long does it take the character to make one complete step. But before I start animating anything, I need to know the timing of the walk.

Animating a walk: The feet

Now that I have this first pose, this extended pose, set up, I can start animating the walk. Now, when I animate the walk, I am going to start with the feet and then just move up the body. I'm going to do the feet, then the hips, then the legs, and then the rest of the body. But before I can do any of this, I need to know some timing information. I need to know how long does it take the character to make one complete step. But before I start animating anything, I need to know the timing of the walk.

In other words, I need to know how long it takes the character to take one step. Now this will vary depending upon the character. Some characters will be long and slow and lumbering and they'll take a lot of time to take a step. Some characters will be fast, small, tiny, quick and they all step a lot more quickly. But for the average character, it's generally about 2 steps per second, which means that the character will take a right and a left step within a second. So for 24 frames a second, that's about 12 frames per step and 30 frames per second it's about 15 frames per step.

But generally, if we're animating at 30 frames per second, we up that to 16 frames per step, just because you can divide it in half to get eight and that makes it much easier to animate the walk. You don't want to be animating at seven-and-a-half frames, for example. So with this character we're actually animating at 24 frames per second. So I'm going to go ahead and set up a timeline with 24 frames. Now, once we have this set up, we're ready to animate. But in order to animate the walk again, I'm going to start with the feet and move my way up.

So just to make things a lot more clear I'm going to isolate the feet of this character, so I'm going to go ahead and turn off everything but the feet. So I'm going to go ahead and turn off the legs and also turn off the rest of the character. So all we have are the character's two feet and so let's just get these animating and then we'll worry about the rest of the character. In fact, I'm going to go ahead and start this animation with the left foot.

So I'm going to turn off the right foot and the reason I'm starting with the left foot is it's the one that is forward and it's much easier to start with the forward foot than it is with the foot that's back because as you'll see it's much easier to get those first 12 frames in. So I've got my timeline here at frame 0 and I'm going to go ahead and scrub forward to frame 12, which is halfway through that cycle. Then all I really need to do is just slide this foot back so it hits that line. In other words, so it's at pretty much the same position that the right foot was in.

In fact, if I turned-on the right foot, you would see that I pretty much mirror at the two. Now one is a little bit higher than the other, just because of perspective but you can see I have pretty much matched both feet. So, now once I have this, I have already got the first half of the cycle, which is just sliding back straight along the ground. Now the last half of the cycle is this foot moving forward, so to do that again we're doing a cycle. So I'm going to go ahead and scrub towards the end of this. Actually I got it looping at 23 because frame 24 is going to be identical to frame 0 and if I loop at 24, I'm going to get a double play of the same frame.

So what I'm doing here is I'm just scrubbing to 23 and then just copying those frames to 24. So what I have done is I have actually copied what's at frame 0 to frame 24, and then I've created a keyframe here in the middle. So, this is what I've got. So basically, this foot is just sliding back and forth. Now this just looks like he is walking on ice or something. He is really not taking a step, because as this foot moves forward from frame 12 to 24, it's actually going to lift up.

So in order to do this, I'm just going to go halfway through this step here, which is kind of right around the passing position, and I'm just going to go ahead and move the foot up vertically, so I'm just going to go ahead and lift up that foot. So now we've got him moving back and then lifting up and moving forward. Let's go ahead and play this. But as you can see it's not really a step. That foot is going to rotate down. Gravity is going to pull that foot down and the foot is also going to drag back.

So at this point, I really want to rotate this foot down a bit and that will give me the sense of weigh,t that gravity is pulling it down and also a sense of drag and that it's wanting to stay put. But we also have two other points that we need to consider, and that is as this foot lifts off, just think of how a foot really lifts off of the ground. What it does is the heel lifts and then you roll off the ball of your foot onto your toe and then the foot lifts off the ground. So we're really not rolling the foot off the ball of the toe here.

So in order to do that, I need to do another rotation. So I'm going to go about 2 frames forward, so I've got from frame 12 to 18. 18 is in the middle. So about frame 14, which is about a third of the way between that middle pose, and I'm going to go ahead and rotate this foot down so that it pretty much touches the ground. Then I'm going to slide the foot back a little bit. I'm going to again bring it back to that line and what this does is it gives the impression that foot is rolling off of the ball of the foot and then lifting up.

So now, we'd get something like this. So now it looks a lot more like he is actually taking a step. At the end of this, we also don't want the foot to set down like this, because typically what happens is we set down on the heel. So we lift off of the ball of the foot, but we set down on the heel and in this case, his foot is still kind of leaning a bit forward, which means he is setting down on the ball of the foot. That's kind of more of like tip toe type of step and that's not what we want. So let's go ahead and flip that foot up right before he hits.

So, I want to get a little bit of contrast in there, so I'm just going to put that in somewhere around frame 22 or 23 and so now we've got him coming down and then he flips up, so he can come down on his heel. So let's just take a look at what that looks like. Much better. So now that I have this cycle in place, we can do the same thing for the right foot. So I'm going to go ahead and turn off this left foot and then turn on the right. So for this foot, we're actually animating it backwards.

We are moving it forward first and then sliding it back on the ground second. So I'm going to go to frame 12 and I'm going to just slide it forward and this is to kind of get his final position for that frame. So now he is basically moving his foot forward on this frame, so then I'm actually copy the keys at frame 0 to frame 24. So, now I have him doing this. He moves forward first and then back.

But of course, when he is moving forward, his feet are lifting off the ground. So halfway between 0 and 12 is frame 6, so I'm going to lift his foot off the ground here and when do we do, we rotate it down to get a little bit of drag. So now we have this. But we also need to roll him off the ball of his foot, so I'm going to go frame 2, which is about a third of the way between frame 0 and 6.

So that way you could do in your animation that has different timing. Just remember that it's about a third of the way in rather than two frames or three frames or whatever. So I'm going to go ahead and put that foot here and then slide it back so it touches the line. So again, I just want this to look like he is rolling off the ball of his foot and that actually looks pretty good. Then he lifts up, passes and then about two frames and again this is going to be almost a hard number, because you want this to set down fairly quickly.

So you want him to kind of hold this foot up until almost right before he sets it down. You want to flip that foot up right there. So now we've got this and that's look pretty good. With that, we have both feet firmly walking and let's go ahead and play those. So just by that, you can see you've got a pretty good sense of cadence to the walk and now once you have the feet in place, the next step is to move towards the hips and get the weight of the character moving up and down.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for 2D Character Animation
2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 22207 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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