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2D Character Animation
Illustration by John Hersey

A run in four poses


From:

2D Character Animation

with George Maestri

Video: A run in four poses

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.
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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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2D Character Animation
5h 50m Advanced Nov 13, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Creating character joints that really work
  • Building with the Puppet tool in After Effects
  • Understanding internal versus external forces in movement
  • Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes for dialogue
  • Setting up a scene in both After Effects and Flash
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Author:
George Maestri

A run in four poses

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about 2D Character Animation.


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Q: In the chapter "Creating joints that work,” the author uses a circular point for the joints in the arm animation. Do circles need to be drawn in the joints while tracing the character, or there is another method that can be used?
A: It doesn't absolutely have to be a circle, as shown in the video. However, that method is show because it’s the easiest way to make sure the joints will rotate easily.
It’s a matter of personal preference, so use whatever method will work best for each character.
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