The fish man. (NMD 375 – 3D modeling and Animation)

Walking is a basic action that we complete every day, it seems very simple, we learn how to walk at a very young age and move ourselves around with this technique for more or less the rest of our lives. Dissecting the walk cycle though is something that could take years. The complexity as to how the human body moves itself is astounding, it is not simply the movement of just our legs going back and forth but a series of systems that need to interact to sustain our weight and speed. For animation, we were tasked with dissecting the previously mentioned cycle and it took about 2 tries for me to make the whole thing look okay. My first attempt is represented in the photo that is featured in this blog post. I created a pair of legs and simply tried to make a fish walk. Now what started is an alright plan turned out to be much more complicated. I could not imagine how a person starts from a stand still and takes their first step. I can imagine someone walking, but for some reason I could not imagine the intricacies of someone beginning walking. I had to watch a few videos of just walking, and I had to watch other people walk as well, after some time, I had a basic idea, and realized that I would need a whole human model if I wanted to do this correctly. I’m not putting my more detailed walk cycle here though due to the fact it uses a model that I did not create, simply animated. What I ended up using was a frame by frame gif file of a run. The convenience of a gif, is that it’s a simplified version of an animation and in some cases, requiring the gif creator to minimize the number of frames used. This means, the final product only (or should only) have the most important frames of the animations. By watching low frame gifs, I was able to easily digest the idea of where limbs were moving, and to what extent they moved. By using this strategy, I more or less copied the frames that I saw, but transposed them to 3D, (the file I studied was of a 2D running animation) The screen shot that your seeing, was more or less a collaboration of ideas to see what worked and what didn’t.

My struggle with beginning a walk cycle began with the concept called ‘anticipation’ in animation. like a batter winding up to swing, ‘anticipation’ is used to let the audience know what is going to happen next. I wanted to make sure that the audience was going to know my character was going to take a step, but I got hung up on what that meant and tried to think if I choreograph my movements in the real world. Overall the animation wasn’t really what I wanted it to be, but filled the requirement for a 10 second walking animation. I made sure to go back and animate walk cycles after this to hone my skill and understanding of the movement.

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