In this video, Dermot O' Connor demonstrates animating a horse walk.
- You'll often hear people tell you that horses are particularly difficult to animate, and I had this in my head for ages, and I'll be honest with you, when I began building out this course, it was the part I was dreading the most, and then I began doing it and it was really fun. So, don't be scared of any particular animal because you might have a knack or an aptitude for it that you don't realize. Anyway, this is a simple horse design that I did a while back for my previous course on how to draw cartoon characters for animation. So, it's pretty rough, but it's got some nice proportions to it, so I thought let's use something very similar for this movie.
So just to give you an idea about what we're going to work toward, this is the walk cycle. This is the finished horse walk cycle. So, like any four-legged motion, at first glance it can look pretty intimidating. So let's break it down. We look at the front and back separately. So I've chainsawed the horse, and we're just going to look at the contact through passing and contact series. You'll often hear people tell you that horses are particularly difficult to animate and I had this in my head for ages and I'll be honest with you, when I began building out this course, but it's best for you, I think on a first pass, if you can, to look at the front and back as their own separate series of contacts and passings and high points and contacts.
So here we see the poses animated side by side. So, again, we can see that if you hold your hand or a sheet of paper over one side of the screen, and then the other, you can see that we have very nice actions. Fundamentally simple, they're not doing anything super fancy. We have a contact, a passing, and another contact, and that's creating this very nice, very elegant walk. So the only thing to watch out for really, will be to make sure that on the passing position, you've got your leading foot clean off the ground, the trailing foot is not doing anything fancy, it's just an in-between.
Same thing with the leading foot on any given side. It's a few inches off the ground. Other than that, there's really not too much to say. So, there's no ironclad way to offset the timing of front-to-back, but the main thing to watch out for again is that the front leg lifts off the ground as the back leg begins the contact. So, depending on the individual walk, you're going to see variations in this, and I've said this in the previous movie, I'll say it again, Watch those Muybridge movies that I've included in the handout and you will see that sometimes the front leg, the front foot, lifts after the back foot lands, on others, it lifts like a few frames, just a frame or two before, so there is this natural variation in the way animals walk.
So you have a little flexibility to within the range of about, 4-5 frames, of where you want to slide them. So whatever you think you can get away with and what's going to look best. If you can, do these two separate animations and then mess around with them or, you know, see what works particularly well for you or if you have a small group of variations you can create, you know, it'll give you, I think a much more enjoyable facility in terms of creating your own animation. So as you can see here, we have the frames 4 frames after the contact on this side has been moved back to this position here, so this red part of the horse here has been chainsawed off and surgically attached to the contact position on frame 1.
So, I prefer to think of it as like a 4-frame offset on the other side, but it's basically a 20-frame differential from the front to the back, so it could be 19, it could be 21. So, here is the animation now moving across the screen, and that's with the offset, so as you can see, we have the-let's look at the rear leg coming down. See how they're both off the ground just for about two frames? And same thing happens on the front. And as I've already said many times, and I will say it again, I could've held the front leg just a frame or two, but this is fine. Watch that.
That doesn't look unreal. It doesn't look like the horse is going to fall down. So I was very happy with this when I saw it. There's a nice variation also on the hindquarters and the front. So they're not both moving up and down at the same time. So you get this slight unevenness in the flex of the spine, which gives flexibility, makes it look much more lifelike. So here's the complete walk cycle with the offset, and the speed can vary, but I don't want you to make it look too fast or it'll turn into a trot, so you do have, like a range of timings you can play with.
In this case I've made it 33 frames, and again, that's a 24-frame per second 33 so, if you're animating on 30 frames a second, you've got to adjust that accordingly. But the animation is, I think it's a 16-frame before we get to the next contact and 16 frames again to complete the complete cycle. So here I've turned the contacts and the passing positions to green. That's your first thing to create. And there are the contacts of the front in blue, then we have the contacts and the passing (laughing) of the rear in green, we have the passing and the contacts of the front in blue.
So you can again see the relative offset of one series of contacts and passings with the other, and this might be a little easier to see, so again I've marked the rear with green text, and the front in blue text, so you can see again where the contacts and passings are happening. So, that concludes our coverage of the horse walk cycle. In the next movie, I'll show you what happens when we increase the speed, when we move beyond the speed of a walk and we work with a trot and a gallop.
- Reviewing the basic walk poses
- Reviewing Muybridge's photos and the videos derived from them
- Understanding the basics of a quadruped walk
- Offsetting the legs to create a convincing gallop
- Animating a horse walking and trotting
- Adding personality or individual quirks to a run