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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.
Walking is only one way for a character to move through a scene. A character can also run, hop, skip, jump; there are a number of different types of gates. The run is probably the second most popular. So let's go ahead and take a look at how characters run. I have a simple run that I've sketched out here. Let's go ahead and play that. And as you can see, a run is more of a series of leaps. In fact, let's go ahead and pause this and scrub through it so you can see it a pose at a time.
So the run usually starts in this position which I call the extended position and this is where a character basically takes off into a leap and so now we have what's called an airborne position where the character is literally airborne and then the character lands and this is more like a passing position where we have one leg is passing the other. And then as the leg absorbs the character's weight, we have a recoil or a cushion position here and then we do that again on the other side.
So we have an extended, airborne, passing and then a recoil position. Let me go ahead and run through this one more time. So as you can see, it's a series of jumps or leaps, so he leaps lands, cushions, leaps, lands, cushions. So let's go ahead and play this in real-time again. Now, I am going to turn on ghosting and this will give you a much clearer idea as to how the character moves through the scene.
So let's go ahead and take this a little bit more slowly. So as you can see, the character, much like the walk, sweeps out an arc with his head, so as he goes into this airborne position, he is at his highest point. Then when he lands and cushions, he is at the low-point and again, we repeat that for the next part of the cycle. So let's go ahead and play this one more time, so you can see that. So you can see how he sweeps out an arc with this head as he bounces up and down as he runs through the scene.
Now let's go ahead and take one more look at this and let's look at these poses in detail. So we're going to start off with this extended pose. Now what this pose has is it has the character pushing off with his foot on his toes and we have this knee kind of cocked ready for that foot to come up and start moving forward to take the leap. Now the next pose is the airborne position and this is where the legs are pretty much far apart and this leg is getting ready to land and this one here is just pushed off.
The next pose is the passing position. Now what this does is this leg is planted and it's ready to absorb the weight. This is just as it hits the ground. It hasn't absorbed the weight yet. And now we've got this leg here ready to pass and get ready for the next pose. So as this character lands, you can see how this knee bends and this leg starts to pass. So let's go ahead and look at this on the other side. Let me go back into the extended pose, airborne, passing, and notice how this leg is fairly straight when it lands.
Now notice how he leans back as he plants his foot. This is because his momentum is putting him so far forward, he has to put that foot out in front of him to catch his weight and then once he gets into this recoil position, he does straighten out and that knee bends and then the weight of the character goes down to absorb the shock. So let's go ahead and see this play, see if we can see how this cycle works. So those are the basics of how a character runs. Now remember, a run is a series of leaps and a run naturally has more momentum so the character will be moving up and down a lot more than he does in a normal walk.
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