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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, at this point, we've got the hips, legs and feet animated. So, we have the foundation of our walk. Let me play you what we have so far. So, as you can see, we have a good basic walk but of course the upper body is completely dead. So, let's go ahead and start animating that. The next place I go when animating the body is to the arms. There's a number of ways you can animate the arms. The first one is just to use secondary motion; in other words just let the forces move the arms around.
In that case the arms are pretty much going to move like pendulums. If the character has motivation, he is doing something, you can also animate the internal forces of the arm, which is if he is holding something or if he is waving or doing really anything with his hands or arms then you're going to have to animate them a little bit differently. So, for the purposes of this walk, let's just go ahead and animate his arms as relaxed. So that would make it a classic case of secondary motion, in other words, drag and followthrough.
So, when he is walking, he starts with this cycle with his right foot back. Right foot moves forward and then back again. So, we're going to go ahead and animate his right arm. So, when the right foot is back, the right hand is forward. So, I'm going to go ahead and rotate this arm forward and maybe even move it forward a little bit to give it a sense that the shoulder itself is forward. So, once we have this forward then we need to get the opposite position and when the right foot is forward, the right hand is back.
So, I'm going to move this arm back a little bit to indicate that the shoulder is rotating and then rotate it back. And I want to get a little bit clear of the body. But if I go too far back it's going to appear unnatural. So, I'm going to go just a little bit out like somewhere around there. So, now his hand is moving back and now again, we have to cycle this. So, again I'm going to copy the keyframes at frame 0 over to frame 24 and now, we should have a basic cycle.
So, let's see what we've got. Well that's looks a little bit better but again let's take into account secondary motion. So, as that arm moves back somewhere around frame 3 or so, I'm going to take that elbow and then just move it up. So again, I'd get kind of a bend. It comes back and then somewhere around frame 12, actually a little bit further, it's going to straighten out. So, I'm going to go ahead and straighten it out here right around at frame 14 because again, this is overlap and followthrough.
This is going to drag behind the main action. That elbow is going to straighten out as it's pulled forward. So, once that shoulder moves forward, that elbow is going to kind of lock and move forward and then the cycle will begin again. So, let's take a look at that. Okay, now in order to finalize this all you have to do is to do the same for the opposite arm and you have the arm motion in place and we're getting pretty close to the end here. Now, all we need to do is to some head motion and maybe a little bit of squash and stretch, and we will be done.
So, remember when you animate your arm that it's generally going to move like a pendulum with overlap and follow- through but if the character has motivation then you'll add some internal forces or internal motion to make the character do whatever he wants and be sure to balance those action against the natural motion of the arm wanting to swing back and forth.
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