Burning Question: How do I create a Walk Cycle?

Burning Question: How do I create a Walk Cycle?
News, Tutorial, Burning Questions Jul 08, 2015 at 09:32 AM

If you’re animating some characters and need to make a natural looking walk cycle quickly and easily, do we have some great resources for you! Here is some reference, tutorials and scripts to make your next walk cycle animation a breeze.

Walk Cycle

Introduction

I remember my first time trying to make a walk cycle with a comic I used to draw. It was a challenge. I ended up getting this great book How To Draw Cartoon And Paint Animation (how To Draw Series 26) by Preston J. Blair. The book is now out of print, but Preston Blair has released many other books on the topic. If you're really interested in learning to draw walk cycles, I highly recommend picking up a book like it. They may even have this one at the library. 

Below is an example from the book of the differences between the walk cycle and the run cycle. 

Walk Cycle

Notice that not every single in between move is shown in the walk cycle. Animated cartoons often double up the poses, displaying two frames of the same thing, to save money and your brain will fill in the gaps. Those cheaply produced cartoons from the 1960s and 1970s that were churned out quickly (Scooby Doo and The Flintstones come to mind) even did them in threes and fours!

Reference

Basics of the Walk Cycle by Francis Jasmin

If you don't have the time or money to get a book on the topic, Francis Jasmin has a really useful and deep information on his blog about the Basics of the Walk Cycle. He goes into balancing movement of the arms with the legs, movement of the torso, common mistakes and more. 

Endless Reference

endlessreference has an insane number of motion reference libraries for animators and artists, including things like a limp walk, an exhausted walk, long strides and more. 

Tutorials

Character animation tutorial - Felix Sputnik

Felix Sputnik is very good with human movement. He mainly uses Flash but the same concepts apply to After Effects and even hand drawing characters for a flip book. Check out his work on vimeo.

Here's Structuring a Walk Cycle the Sputnik Way. Note: He doesn't clothe most of his characters, so if you're sensitive about cartoon nudity, you may want to skip this one.

Here's more of his work, if you'd like to see some examples.

Making a Walk Cycle in After Effects

Walk-Cycles in After Effects from School of Motion

Joey from School of Motion included this in their 30 days of Tutorials series they covered walk cycles in an excellent hour long video.

Creating A Character Walk Cycle In After Effects

Brad Chmielewski shows how to animate a character using a combination of parenting layers and the puppet tool in After Effects.

Newton Character Rigging

Motion Boutique's Newton can make character rigging and physics in After Effects so much simpler. This can get you started on a walk cycle. Watch the video.

Duik - DuDuF IK & Animation Tools Adobe After Effects

Duik will help you rig your character. Download Duik here. It's donation ware so pay the price of what you think is fair.

There are quite a few tutorials on Duik out there. Here are a couple. 

After Effects Character Rigging + Walk Cycle 

Cartoon Animation Tutorial - Part 3: The Run Cycle

Easy Walking from Victor Bandiera

Victor Bandiera has come up with a script to make animating the walk cycle easier and faster. Create your character in Illustrator and animate it in AE CC 2014 or AE CC. Download the Easy Walking script from his website Bandiera.tv.

Animating a Walk-Cycle Using Loop Expressions from Dan Ebberts

Dan Ebberts at Creative Cow explains how to use expressions to make your character continue walking. Project files are included. Learn more

Character comfortable controllers Tutorial

Although this is not a tutorial on creating a walk cycle, Tony Pinkevich has come up with a simple way to control the walk cycle so that you can easily pull the walking character around the screen.  Watch the video and download his project file here.

Walk Cycles in MAXON CINEMA 4D

The CMotion System was introduced in CINEMA 4D R13. C4D users can use make a character do walk cycles along a spline or terrain, or manually move the character, based on cyclic motion. There are presets or the user can create their own. Learn more about walk cycles at Cineversity and check out Cineversity Live - Intro to CMotion.

Introduction

Part 1

Part 2

Cinema 4D R13 - CMotion by Orestis Konstantinidis

Creating a Run Cycle in Maya

Matthew Tardiff explains how to create a run cycle in Maya.

Posted by Michele Yamazaki

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