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Analyzing a walk

From: Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

Video: Analyzing a walk

In this chapter we're going to animate a simple walk cycle. Now before we actually get into animating this walk, let's go ahead and analyze a simple walk and show you what makes a character walk, what makes a successful walk. So I have this file open here and if we want, we can simply play it and you can see it's just a very generic walk. So let's go over to our Perspective view and I'm going to actually show you a few things. Now let's take a look at what a walk is. Well the walk starts-- it depends on what frame you want to start with, but typically how a walk happens is a character shifts his weight from foot to foot. So he puts his weight on his left foot, then shifts his weight to his right foot, and each time he does that, he pulls himself forward.

Analyzing a walk

In this chapter we're going to animate a simple walk cycle. Now before we actually get into animating this walk, let's go ahead and analyze a simple walk and show you what makes a character walk, what makes a successful walk. So I have this file open here and if we want, we can simply play it and you can see it's just a very generic walk. So let's go over to our Perspective view and I'm going to actually show you a few things. Now let's take a look at what a walk is. Well the walk starts-- it depends on what frame you want to start with, but typically how a walk happens is a character shifts his weight from foot to foot. So he puts his weight on his left foot, then shifts his weight to his right foot, and each time he does that, he pulls himself forward.

So he drops his foot down, pulls himself forward, and so on. Now in doing this a number of anatomical things have to happen. Well, first of all, when he puts his foot out here, he has to put it in front of the body, which means that the hips have to rotate to meet that. So let's take a look at this, so this hip is actually forward and the other hip is actually back. But in order to maintain his balance, this shoulder has to rotate in the opposite direction.

So this is one of the key things in a walk is that when the left foot is forward, the left shoulder will be back. So let's take a look at that again and let's just watch the shoulders. So what happens is as this foot moves back, the shoulder moves forward. So what we have is a twisting motion of the spine. Now when he moves his foot forward, one of the things he does is he also puts himself out of balance.

So right here, he's actually falling forward just a little bit. So his weight is actually going to fall forward just a little bit and what happens is he's going to catch his weight with this foot. So when we do that what happens is-- let's take a look at this. So when he catches his weight with his foot, he starts with a straight leg and now that will need bends because what we're doing is we're shifting weight.

We're shifting weight from this foot, the left foot, to the right foot, and the same thing happens on the other side. So he puts his foot down, puts his weight on the foot which causes the knee to bend, and then he straightens that up as he lift himself up, allows that foot to come through, catches the ground, cushions, extends, and then takes another step. Now if we want, we can actually take a look at this a couple of other ways.

So I've got all of these geometries on layers, so I'm going to go ahead and turn off the upper body. So we can see how the legs move. So if you just see this, you can see how the hips are rotating left and right. So as this character moves forward, these hips rotate this way and then when he steps the other way the hips rotate in the opposite direction, in that direction.

So let's go ahead and turn on the rest of the body. Now another thing you want to take a look at is there's also a forward and back motion of the spine, so as he catches his weight here, the spine is going to arch forward just a little bit. What that does is because he's catching his weight on that foot, so as soon as he catches the weight on the foot, the body kind of leans forward, then it straightens up, then it catches again, and then it leans forward again.

Now one more thing I want to show you is the walk from the front. Let's take a look at how the spine works. So when he puts his weight on one foot here, we've got all of the weight of the character coming down onto that foot. And what this does is this creates a large weight on this side here which rotates the spine here, because we've got this giant weight, which is basically of character's foot, pulling this down.

And so in order to compensate for this, the spine has to arch from the front this way, okay. So that is in the middle of the walk cycle, which we call the passing position, where the foot passes the opposite leg. So when he does that we're going to have a little bit of a spine twist that way. So those are some of the basics of a walk, just some general guidelines, and we'll be going over these again as we animate the walk.

So I just wanted to show you a few key pointers to a walk, how the hips, the spine, and the shoulders move to make a character walk successfully.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya
Character Animation Fundamentals with Maya

65 video lessons · 9887 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 22m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 10s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 8s
    3. Character rig overview: Simple character
      6m 19s
    4. Character rig overview: Full character
      7m 30s
    5. Using other rigs
      48s
    6. Using screen drawing tools for Windows
      3m 9s
    7. Using screen drawing tools for the Mac
      2m 14s
  2. 23m 47s
    1. Creating strong poses
      3m 27s
    2. Creating custom MEL scripts to help pose characters
      4m 39s
    3. Using layers to select characters
      1m 10s
    4. Learning the basics of posing characters
      10m 7s
    5. Creating stock poses
      4m 24s
  3. 25m 11s
    1. Understanding forces and character motion
      2m 13s
    2. Understanding drag
      5m 51s
    3. Working with secondary motion
      5m 33s
    4. Bringing the character to life
      4m 21s
    5. Refining the animation
      7m 13s
  4. 39m 30s
    1. Keyframing initial poses
      4m 21s
    2. Creating the blocking pass
      7m 42s
    3. Moving holds
      5m 27s
    4. Animating weight shift
      4m 21s
    5. Animating pose to pose transitions
      7m 46s
    6. Animating a wave
      9m 53s
  5. 42m 15s
    1. Analyzing a walk
      5m 43s
    2. Setting up a character for a basic walk
      1m 22s
    3. Animating a walk: The feet
      5m 55s
    4. Animating a walk: The lower body
      8m 23s
    5. Animating a walk: Making the cycle symmetrical
      3m 10s
    6. Animating a walk: Working with the spine
      5m 59s
    7. Animating a walk: Arm motion
      7m 28s
    8. Animating a walk: The head
      4m 15s
  6. 24m 15s
    1. The importance of the passing position
      4m 52s
    2. Working with foot placement
      3m 50s
    3. Adding character to a walk: Contact position
      5m 10s
    4. Adding character to a walk: Passing position
      3m 20s
    5. Adding character to a walk: Finalizing
      7m 3s
  7. 52m 27s
    1. A run in four poses
      2m 39s
    2. Animating a run: The first pose
      4m 31s
    3. Animating a run: The second pose
      7m 17s
    4. Animating a run: Mirroring the basic poses
      10m 59s
    5. Animating a run: Hip and foot motion
      5m 12s
    6. Animating a run: The upper body
      5m 2s
    7. Animating a run: Left arm motion
      5m 31s
    8. Animating a run: Right arm motion
      4m 39s
    9. Animating a run: Cycling the animation
      6m 37s
  8. 1h 20m
    1. Animating blinks
      7m 56s
    2. Animating changes in eye direction
      5m 6s
    3. Animating a head turn
      4m 35s
    4. Working with audio
      3m 38s
    5. Overview of mouth controls
      2m 44s
    6. Animating vowels
      15m 14s
    7. Animating consonants: B, D, and G
      7m 2s
    8. Animating consonants: F, M, and S
      8m 22s
    9. Animating lip sync: Assigning phonemes
      10m 43s
    10. Animating lip sync: The head
      9m 44s
    11. Animating lip sync: The body
      5m 10s
  9. 55m 55s
    1. Creating the main poses
      4m 18s
    2. Blocking poses to dialogue
      7m 1s
    3. In-between blocking pass
      3m 27s
    4. Animating moving holds
      5m 19s
    5. Creating weight
      6m 19s
    6. Adding secondary motion
      10m 0s
    7. Animating dialogue
      8m 12s
    8. Finalizing the animation
      11m 19s
  10. 24s
    1. Goodbye
      24s

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