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Animal locomotion

From: 2D Animation Principles

Video: Animal locomotion

The subject of animal walks and runs is enormous. Goes forward, hits the ground, and only when it And there you see the back leg hits, the front leg leaves.

Animal locomotion

The subject of animal walks and runs is enormous. And frankly, it's well beyond the scope of this lesson. There are just so many varieties. So there are some general rules I can show you. But first let me introduce you to probably every animator's favorite resource whenever they're given a scene for some strange beast that they've no idea how to handle, and that's Eadweard Muybridge. And back in the 1870s and 1880s this very strange man did a series of photographs of as many animals as he could take photographs of.

Animals like horses, even bison's and as you can see here's a wonderful bison at run cycle resource. So, his books are enormous and they're must-haves if you're going to be encountering many animal walk cycles or run cycles. And with that I'll take you into the generic four legged animal walk cycle as simply as I can show it. And here we have a super cartoony version of a dinosaur. And the primary rule that I follow whenever I have to do a four legged walk is that you don't have the front leg of the character leave the ground until the back leg hits the ground as well.

And let me be precise about this, we're talking about the same side of the body. So watch the back leg. Goes forward, hits the ground, and only when it hits the ground does the front leg leave the ground. And the same happens on the opposite side of the body, just at a slightly different timing. And there you see the back leg hits, the front leg leaves. Back leg hits. Front leg leaves. So, that will be the case with dogs. And many, many animals will hit that pattern. As you get into gallops and runs, of course, this will change. And, at that point, you'll reach for Eadweard Muybridge because, quite frankly, there are so many varieties.

Camels, for example, are notorious. They're quite different in terms of the way they move than a horse. Elephants will move differently from a kitten. They all have four legs. That's about the only commonality to them. So, if you're handed a scene that has an elephant in it, you have to reach for the reference book. And I wish I had an easy way of handling this beyond that, but it's one of those things that you have to be flexible on and willing to learn very quickly. Here is an example of a mule. Same principle applies. You'll see the back leg hits the ground and the front leg leaves at the same time.

This won't leave you too far wrong. If this guy went much faster than this, the patterns would definitely begin to change. This rule would break. When he runs fast enough, yes, you'll probably have a frame where all the legs are off the ground at the same time. But again, many, many animals, different anatomies, and slightly different patterns will apply. I'll very quickly show you a very rough bird fly cycle, and mercifully, birds are a much simpler creature to deal with. The bird fly pattern, the classic pattern, goes from the wing up to the first down frame.

At which point the shape of the wing reverses, into the down position which gives it the maximum push up. And then the birds wing has to get up as quickly as possible for the next down stroke so the feathers pull together. This is at the point at which they're the closest together, bunched very tight and then they splay out again on the upstroke before flailing out. And as you can see as the weather beats down, the feathers splay out as widely as they can to catch as much air as possible. So, let's take a look at that. This timing is quite generic.

A larger bird like a, a great eagle or a flamingo would definitely have maybe a slower beat. So keep that in mind. This is not a one size fits all, either, but it'll get you in the ballpark for any fly cycles that you might need. So with that, we've covered animals and birds.

Show transcript

This video is part of

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2D Animation Principles

35 video lessons · 5516 viewers

Dermot O' Connor

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  1. 1m 42s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 18m 9s
    1. Understanding appeal and design
      4m 3s
    2. Comparing body types
      6m 27s
    3. Understanding silhouette
      1m 52s
    4. Creating gesture drawings
      2m 50s
    5. Tying down the drawing
      2m 57s
  3. 18m 10s
    1. Comparing storyboard styles
      5m 8s
    2. Understanding shot composition
      4m 36s
    3. Demonstrating lighting
      4m 8s
    4. Understanding the 180-degree line
      4m 18s
  4. 13m 8s
    1. Understanding X-sheets (dope sheets)
      3m 25s
    2. Comparing frame rates
      4m 39s
    3. Creating sweatbox notes and preparation
      5m 4s
  5. 18m 42s
    1. Understanding arcs
      7m 38s
    2. Squash, stretch, and volume
      4m 59s
    3. Comparing timing and spacing
      6m 5s
  6. 10m 4s
    1. Using anticipation, overshoot, and settle
      4m 2s
    2. Breaking and loosening joints
      2m 43s
    3. Leading action
      3m 19s
  7. 19m 51s
    1. Understanding primary and secondary action
      4m 14s
    2. Using overlap and follow-through
      6m 0s
    3. Applying lines of action, reversals, and S-curves
      4m 34s
    4. Moving holds and idles
      5m 3s
  8. 15m 52s
    1. Understanding walk and run cycles
      5m 24s
    2. Creating eccentric walks
      6m 50s
    3. Animal locomotion
      3m 38s
  9. 14m 31s
    1. Finding dialogue accents
      2m 42s
    2. Creating dialogue through body movement
      2m 46s
    3. Creating stock mouth shapes
      5m 4s
    4. Using complementary shapes
      3m 59s
  10. 13m 8s
    1. Creating thumbnails
      4m 31s
    2. Comparing straight-ahead and pose-to-pose animation
      4m 37s
    3. Adding breakdowns for looseness
      4m 0s
  11. 2m 9s
    1. Next steps
      2m 9s

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