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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.
Another way to look at a walk is to actually analyze the way the skeleton of the character moves. And if you understand how the bones or the skeleton of the character moves, you can understand how the character will look when it's animated. So let's take a look at this really simple skeleton and this will give you a much clearer idea as to what's going on underneath the surface of the character. In fact, let's go ahead and highlight some of these joints. Let's go ahead and highlight the legs and the arms.
Then when I play this, you will notice that the right leg and the right arm are actually moving counter to one another. In other words, when the right leg is forward, the right arm is back and then that goes in the opposite direction. As the leg goes back, the arm goes forward. Now let's take a look at this from the top. When I play this, you will notice that the arms and legs do work opposite to one another.
But the reason they are doing this is because the shoulders and the hips are also going opposite. So let's take a look at this in the highlighted mode. Now if you notice the shoulders and the hips are actually rotating opposite one another, so when the right shoulder is back, the right hip is forward. Then it rotates, so that the arm and the legs are opposite again. Now this twist is actually happening in the spine.
The spine itself is kind of rotating to rotate the hips and the shoulders. Now if we look at this character from the front, you will notice that there is also another type of rotation. Let's go ahead and highlight the hips, spine, and shoulders. And as this character walks forward, notice how the hips actually sway from left to right. In fact, let's take a look at this a little bit more closely.
So what happens is the hips are level or horizontal to the ground when the character is taking his step, when he is in the contact position. Now as he goes into the passing position what happens is the weight of the foot drags down that hip and so it actually gets pulled out of center. Now the shoulders have to compensate for this is so they rotate in the opposite direction. Now when the character hits the ground again, that means he is in a contact position and the hips and the shoulders are level.
As he goes into another passing position, notice how again it goes out of sync and the spine has to curve to compensate. So let's take a look at that. So as you can see the hips and shoulders are also kind of walking back and forth. So in other words we have two counter rotating motions. From the top, let's go ahead and turn this one on again. So from the top we have the character rotating this way. In other words rotating around the spine and then we have the opposite rotation happening from the front where the character is now rocking back and forth, because the weight of the leg is pulling the character out of center.
Now let's go ahead and take a look at this in a perspective view, so you can see how this all works together. As you can see there is a lot of different rotations happening in the joints of the character. In fact, let's go ahead and take a look at this all at once. So now you can see how the joints of the character move while the character walks. Now understanding this basic bit of anatomy can help make your walks that much better.
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