mad in pursuit journal


Animation 101: Walk Cycle

Fresh from my triumph creating a 40-second aerobic dance routine, I decided to back up to the basics: Making my Maddie puppet walk across the stage.

Mastering a "walk-cycle" has been the essential and most difficult skill for an animator since the pre-Disney stone age. My previous attempts have resulted in severe brain freeze. But having Maddie jump around on the beat last week loosened me up. It's all about the beat.

I got out my textbook.* I did the math. I followed the diagrams. It took me all afternoon. Got it. Two seconds: right foot, left foot, step, step. She stepped across the stage.

Next: lots of cartoons have the figure apparently walking, but keep the character center stage and move the scenery behind. Got it! Looped it! Results above (no audio).

She has kind of a "dude" walk in this beginner version. And I think I got the tempo wrong. I'm glancing at the book again and it says "normal walks" are march tempo -- 2 steps per second. I have 1 step per second. Oops. A stroll.


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* "The Animator's Survival Kit" by Richard Williams.