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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.
When animating a walk, you need to pay attention to four basic poses. These are the contact position, the recoil position, the passing position and the high point. Now, when you tie these four poses together, you get a convincing walk. In fact, let's go ahead and play this. Now, when I'm playing the walk, you'll notice that it's just those four poses. There are no in-betweens. But those four poses alone are enough to create a convincing walk cycle.
If you have in-betweens it will just amplify that, but the four poses are what's important. So let's take a deeper look at what these poses are and why they are important. We're going to start with the contact position. This is where the body shifts its weight from the back foot to the front foot, and so what happens is there is a big shift in weight. This actually affects the next pose, which is the recoil position.
This is where the weight actually sets down on the front foot. Now, when this weight sets down on this foot, it causes the character to bend his knee to absorb the weight. Now, once the character has his weight firmly on that foot, the leg pushes up into the passing position. This is where the leg that was back starts moving forward and passes the leg that is supporting the body.
Now, once this leg passes, it goes into what's called the high point which is where the leg, which is now the front leg, gets ready to set down and when it does we have another contact position, but this time with the legs obviously reversed. We have another contact position with the legs now reversed and then we go through the cycle one more time with recoil, passing, and high point for the other leg.
When you combine both of these, you have a convincing walk. Now, once you understand these four poses, you can then modify and change them to suit your character, so that way your walks will have a lot more life and character themselves.
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