Wednesday, 18 November 2009

The Art of Walking

Walking Animation Cycle test

The art of making your animation or character move is a good experience. A simple animation test of a walking cycle is a start. But it basically starts from one's own walk in real life. I have learned that when one leg lifts off the ground, my height increases and my hips raise as well. Before I looked at the photographed waling cycle's of Eadweard J. Muybridge (April 9, 1830 to May 8, 1904). He was a photographer and is known for his capture of animals and people in motion and has able to project them through a "zoopraxiscope" device allowing us to see the walk cycle as an animation frame by frame.

One has to see how he will walk to see the animation. The shoulders move up and down and sometimes our body could move from side to side. I even learned the difference between some walks from women and that of men. My 2D and 3D teachers appointed the assignment to make a walk cycle animation. I started with the 2D:

According to Andy Wyatt, my Head course teacher, it takes 6 frames for one leg to start from an "Extended" point to a "Passing" and finally back to "Extended" and so forth thus making a total of 12 frames. But then this is not a walk I would make unless i was in a hurry for a lesson...then again I would run instead. I then thought of making it 8 frames per leg but instead I ended up making 10 frames foe each leg thus 20 slides in total for the two legs to "Pass" and extend. In the end, this turned out to be a nice, simple and calm walk: a walk similar to my own. I might have missed on frame somewhere where one leg moves down or looks a bit stiff but passing those errors, one can see a nice walk.

The next was using the 3D software of Maya:

This is "Burt", a robotic ball with legs added on. Once again I had no need to use a frame by frame technique but I did had to correct the leg movements, placing one leg in a position, "key selected" it and repeat the same step on another frame while relying on the computer to do the rest. Making him walk is fun but his feet seem quite heavy and rather large. At least this a test to make an animated character walk for other future projects in mind. What is useful, I now know that I could make a sculpture and the computer would scan it onto Maya, allowing me to animate that particular character. Imagine making statues coming to life.

I also began drawing walking cycles of my own characters from my "ARTA" idea. Here we had a 2D walking Cycle of OOD and NOG. Ood seems to have a walk similar to that of humans, despite that his legs and feet are completely different. He moves his arms back and form and his ears flop up and down when he moves.
Nog on the other hand has a very strange walk. He lets his hands dangle at his sides, almost trailing them on the floor. To imagine his walk, you need to have your legs spread outwards almost revealing your private area. Nog's back legs move up and down and forwards like an half insect-man. His head bobs up and down when he moves forward.For this Walking Cycle of Ood, I drew him walking in a 3D technique or as if he was walking round in a circle or on the spot but spinning revealing the 3D mechanism. His back body moves slightly from side to side when his small shoulders move up and down. His ears flop like a dogs ears. I like it when my characters have an alien walk that still can be similar to a human walk. To imagine his walk, you have ti walk on your toes ans sway your arms sightly from side to side while hunching up at the same time, because Ood's arms are at the back of his body which makes him an interesting character.

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