AuthorTopic: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle  (Read 1234 times)

Offline Xolotl

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[CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

on: September 25, 2018, 02:53:34 pm
Hi all,

I'm working on a horizontal walk cycle, and I'm trying to make it look as neutral as possible. I'm aiming for something relaxed, with a short stride, and little in the way of exaggerated movement - more of a stroll.



I'm fairly happy with the legs at the moment, but the arms definitely need some work. It feels as if perhaps the arm doesn't go back far enough, or maybe it snaps back to the right too quickly, rather than lingering to the left. I'm not sure though - any suggestions?

I'd also appreciate any useful reference animations or videos - I've found it surprisingly hard to find generic, non-stylised clips of people walking horizontally.

UPDATE:
Here's a slightly cleaned up version:
« Last Edit: September 25, 2018, 03:58:46 pm by Xolotl »

Online eishiya

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #1 on: September 25, 2018, 05:25:22 pm
The walk feels rather stiff, I think it's because the stride is very small but the vertical motion is very large, and the mismatch looks unnatural.
Other contributing issues:
The feet to remain at a 90 degree angle with the legs at all times, instead of moving as they normally would.
The arms swing very little compared to the motion of the body, and a relaxed stroll tends to have more arm movement. In addition, the arms barely bend, but relaxed arms bend very readily. The forearm has its own pendulum movement from the elbow, in addition to the whole arm's pendulum swing, and it will tend to lag slightly.

Offline Xolotl

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #2 on: September 26, 2018, 10:15:41 am
Thanks for the comments Eishiya. Here's another attempt:


The walk feels rather stiff, I think it's because the stride is very small but the vertical motion is very large, and the mismatch looks unnatural.

I've reduced the vertical motion a lot - too much?

Other contributing issues:
The feet to remain at a 90 degree angle with the legs at all times, instead of moving as they normally would.

I've made the feet bend slightly more.

The arms swing very little compared to the motion of the body, and a relaxed stroll tends to have more arm movement. In addition, the arms barely bend, but relaxed arms bend very readily. The forearm has its own pendulum movement from the elbow, in addition to the whole arm's pendulum swing, and it will tend to lag slightly.

I've made the arms swing more, and I've tried to accentuate the bending of the elbow. Though honestly I don't know if it's bent enough - I had some trouble making the definition of the bent elbow pronounced enough.

Lastly, I feel as if the arm may be swinging back too quickly, or perhaps forward too slowly - is that the case?

Update:
I've reduced the forward motion of the arm by one pixel.


« Last Edit: September 26, 2018, 06:34:54 pm by Xolotl »

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #3 on: September 26, 2018, 03:19:30 pm
The new vertical motion feels more natural for this sort of stride. Personally though, I think I would've made the stride a little larger instead - the character lifts their knees a lot and it seems like a rather brisk walk, so the small stride isn't the most intuitive match for it.
I'm afraid I don't see the bending of the feet.

The elbow doesn't bend enough still, and the swing feels too fast when moving backwards. I think the problem is that you're animating the arm as forceful intentional motion rather than as a pendulum swing that slows down as it reaches the extremes and is at its fastest in the middle.
(Also, I think the arm might be a little too short?)

The legs move forward very quickly, perhaps slowing that down might help? Rather than move the existing frames though, consider adding some extra frames, to slow the walk down overall. That should help with the small strides not matching the fast movement speed. The backwards motion looks great already.

Offline astraldata

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #4 on: September 26, 2018, 09:44:29 pm
Everything eishiya said -- plus he looks like he's about to fall backwards while walking (like a toy robot).

The arcs aren't bad, but they could be a bit more exaggerated on the arms and the feet could "drag" a little as they're coming forward.

To reduce the "robot" feel, you might want to bring the shoulder back a bit more as it moves back and emphasize a little more "twist" in the hips and shoulders. Right now (leg-wise) it's like he's walking on stilts (i.e. waaay too "vertical" of an action-line), which feeds into the "brisk robot walk" problem.

Once you figure out the side-view, only then should you really aim at the back view. However, at least the back view doesn't read too poorly except for the (our left) arm, and some strange "popping" of the shadow of the (our) right elbow from the back view.
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Offline Xolotl

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #5 on: October 03, 2018, 04:07:01 pm
He's been hitting the gym, so now the anatomy and animation should be somewhat clearer. Defining each body part has helped me get a better idea of exactly what's going on.





The new vertical motion feels more natural for this sort of stride. Personally though, I think I would've made the stride a little larger instead - the character lifts their knees a lot and it seems like a rather brisk walk, so the small stride isn't the most intuitive match for it.

In the latest version, I've made the full extent of each arm reach about halfway across the thigh at its furthest reach on the 5th frame, and halfway across the lower leg at its furthest reach back on the 1st frame. I'm starting to think it looks a little weird how his hand flicks forward by a pixel between the fourth and fifth frames. Anyway, here's an image with red dashes to indicate how far the arm is swinging - do let me know if you'd suggest increasing it by a pixel or so on each side to match the stride better:



I'm afraid I don't see the bending of the feet.

Yeah, it was very minimal. Hopefully it's more visible in the newest version.

The elbow doesn't bend enough still.

I suspect that's still the case. I'm having a surprising amount of difficulty drawing a more pronounced bend. I'll see what I can do though.

The swing feels too fast when moving backwards. I think the problem is that you're animating the arm as forceful intentional motion rather than as a pendulum swing that slows down as it reaches the extremes and is at its fastest in the middle.

I've made the swing move fastest in the middle both ways, and only by a pixel at each end of the arc. I can't currently detect any unnecessary speed in the back swing, so hopefully that seems fixed.

(Also, I think the arm might be a little too short?)

Yes, I think the arm was a little too short - I'm fairly confident the new proportions are more suitable. To be honest, I think the head on the most recent version looks a little large, but it seems to match up with references.

The legs move forward very quickly, perhaps slowing that down might help? Rather than move the existing frames though, consider adding some extra frames, to slow the walk down overall. That should help with the small strides not matching the fast movement speed.

I'm determined to do this on just 8 frames, particularly with regard to future efficiency. When I get something I'm happy with, I'd like to use it as a template for other characters. I have tried slowing the frame rate by 25%, however. It's interesting to see it at this speed - the legs still look okay to me, but there might be something I can't quite identify going on as his arm moves back, over frames 7, 8, and 1:
 


The arcs aren't bad, but they could be a bit more exaggerated on the arms and the feet could "drag" a little as they're coming forward.

I'm trying to avoid an exaggerated, cartoony look, but I'll give this a go. Do you think it would suffice to move the arms about a pixel further forward and back both ways?

The feet could "drag" a little as they're coming forward.

What would it mean to make the feet drag as they move forward? Would I slow down the rate at which they move forward slightly for the first few frames, then allow it to speed up for the last ones?

To reduce the "robot" feel, you might want to bring the shoulder back a bit more as it moves back and emphasize a little more "twist" in the hips and shoulders. Right now (leg-wise) it's like he's walking on stilts (i.e. waaay too "vertical" of an action-line), which feeds into the "brisk robot walk" problem.

The shoulder has a horizontal range of just three pixels in this version (i.e. it moves back just one from its starting position, and forward just one). How many pixels would you suggest increasing it to? His hips don't move much at all either. They move forward one pixel, then back again. About how far would you suggest they move?

Also, would it also make sense to have him leaning forward slightly, or does that not happen noticeably at this resolution when someone is walking casually?

Once you figure out the side-view, only then should you really aim at the back view. However, at least the back view doesn't read too poorly except for the (our left) arm, and some strange "popping" of the shadow of the (our) right elbow from the back view.

Yes, I'll just focus on the side view for now.
« Last Edit: October 03, 2018, 04:23:28 pm by Xolotl »

Offline astraldata

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #6 on: October 03, 2018, 10:16:04 pm
Regarding the exaggerated thing -- One thing I've learned is that is that exaggerating motion is always a good thing as long as you're in the business of making it "read" better to the audience. To do this, you can do all sorts of unusual and unexpected things -- the only holdback in this is that you follow the laws of physics enough to be convincing in how quickly things move, speedup, or slowdown. Things such as scale and angle (sometimes) can be fudged, but rarely can you fudge angle (especially on keyframes), and never fudge both at the same time. Look into "breaking joints" -- The Animator's Survival Kit (by Richard Williams of Who framed Roger Rabbit fame) teaches a lot about it, and that this can work for "realistic" characters too. I think I bought a copy for 12 bucks on Amazon once. Highly worth the price if you want to know how far you can "push" animation in a realistic way.

Regarding "drag" of the feet -- I really meant let the toes lag behind the foot more in the passing positions.

Regarding the "robot" feel and the shoulder -- Keep in mind that distance (in pixel animation) rarely matters more than actual TIMING of the pixel transitions (and their volume shifts), and in the case of your shoulder, try not to make it thrust the elbow so far forward so quickly (otherwise it makes him kind of look like he's shoving his breast forward with such quick shoulder thrusting). Again -- the number of pixels it moves is actually fine -- it's just how quickly (or gradually) you allow it to transition between those 3 pixels that defines the subtle way it comes across to the viewer.

Regarding the "lean" forward -- I think it's actually fine as-is if he's walking fairly slow like an average person might walk to get something to drink or go to do some other basic task.


Overall -- It's definitely looking really good compared to version 1.0, so keep at it. The major point of pain from my perspective is how the shoulders move (and how they make the hand have to "flop" forward to keep the inertia correct.) That's really all I've got so far. Great job!
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Offline yrizoud

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #7 on: October 04, 2018, 08:18:33 am
This reference has helped me a lot in understanding what actually happens on walking and jogging, and you can vary lots of parameters.
https://www.biomotionlab.ca/demos/
(First demo is html5 walk, last demo is the same in Flash)

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #8 on: October 04, 2018, 01:18:34 pm
This latest one is a massive improvement! Better anatomy, better timing, better arcs :D I particularly like the way you have the hands lagging behind the forearm, looks very natural and relaxed.

The elbow could use a bit more bend, but yeah, it's tough at this scale. On the movement back, try pushing the elbow back one pixel and adjusting the rest of the arm around that to see how that works. I'm generally a forms-first person, but with animating the limbs, thinking in terms of stick figures first can be more efficient.

We should probably see some minor changes to the silhouette of the torso as it turns. Right now it feels like the shoulders are moving but the chest isn't. And it's a rather large chest - someone's been attending pec day but nothing else ;D

Offline astraldata

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #9 on: October 04, 2018, 04:03:13 pm
I agree with eishiya on the massive improvement.
Again, I think the (ease-in and ease-out) speeds of the shoulders' movements are more to blame than the movement of the arms and elbows themselves.
Great job though! -- You're definitely getting somewhere with this! :)

This reference has helped me a lot in understanding what actually happens on walking and jogging, and you can vary lots of parameters.
https://www.biomotionlab.ca/demos/
(First demo is html5 walk, last demo is the same in Flash)

That is really cool!

https://www.biomotionlab.ca/html5-bml-walker/

I wish I had this when I started learning how to animate walks!
Being able to rotate it freely is really useful, but without the lines or a character's body in the way, this makes the overall motion easy to understand. :)
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Offline Tuna Unleashed

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #10 on: October 04, 2018, 08:39:23 pm
Its looking a lot better! When animating, try and think of what motivates every movement, what parts are conscious and unconscious, the force of gravity weighing down on his limbs, the effect of his posture. There's infinite depth to a walk cycle, try and take advantage of as many elements as you can.

Offline Xolotl

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #11 on: October 10, 2018, 03:15:36 pm
Thanks for the feedback, everyone. It's really helpful. Here's the latest:



I don't want to create a world populated by muscle men, so I've made a character with (hopefully) more average proportions on the left.

Regarding "drag" of the feet -- I really meant let the toes lag behind the foot more in the passing positions.

I've made the toes point backwards more on the passing frames. Hopefully that seems a bit better?

The elbow could use a bit more bend, but yeah, it's tough at this scale. On the movement back, try pushing the elbow back one pixel and adjusting the rest of the arm around that to see how that works.

Here are the characters with the elbow pushed back further, and a more pronounced arm bend:



Now my concern is that perhaps the bend on the forward swing isn't pronounced enough to match the bend on the back swing - or am I just imagining that?

Regarding the "robot" feel and the shoulder [...] the number of pixels it moves is actually fine -- it's just how quickly (or gradually) you allow it to transition between those 3 pixels that defines the subtle way it comes across to the viewer [...] The major point of pain from my perspective is how the shoulders move (and how they make the hand have to "flop" forward to keep the inertia correct.) [...] I think the (ease-in and ease-out) speeds of the shoulders' movements are more to blame than the movement of the arms and elbows themselves.

I think I've cleared this up - it no longer reads to me like he's thrusting his shoulder forward. This was a tricky one because I read that the shoulder moves first, then the upper arm, lower arm, and hand. But if the shoulder is only moving one pixel, it moves the whole way immediately.

Regarding the "lean" forward -- I think it's actually fine as-is if he's walking fairly slow like an average person might walk to get something to drink or go to do some other basic task.

Yeah, I can see how there's no need to make the character on the right lean forward. I'm not so sure about the character on the left though. His head is one pixel further back relative to the shoulder than the head of the character on the right, and it reads to me like his posture is unusually straight. I've tried pushing his head forward slightly as he walks. Do you think this looks more natural?



This reference has helped me a lot in understanding what actually happens on walking and jogging, and you can vary lots of parameters.
https://www.biomotionlab.ca/demos/

This is great. What I notice immediately is that the default walk seems pretty unpronounced compared to walk cycle references and guides. If anyone is interested, I converted the side view into a (very poor) 4-frame gif:



I particularly like the way you have the hands lagging behind the forearm, looks very natural and relaxed.

Thanks. Unfortunately I've found that too difficult to include in just 8 frames now that I've extended the reach of the arms, because the arm would have to dwell at full extension for 3 frames while the hand moved out and in. For this character I want it to be as neutral as I can make it anyway, so perhaps that hand movement is too relaxed for my purposes.

We should probably see some minor changes to the silhouette of the torso as it turns. Right now it feels like the shoulders are moving but the chest isn't.

I'm not totally sure where to start with torso movement. I feel like the torso in the 1st and 5th frames would have to be different because those are the frames where the arm and legs are fully extended. I've tried modifying the thickness of the torso by one, but it just feels like it's popping in and out sporadically; it doesn't feel like movement. If I want to communicate movement rather than a binary appearance and disappearance, I feel like I'll have to move the torso by three pixels rather than two, but I'm not sure. Any suggestions on how the torso should move for these characters?

Online eishiya

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #12 on: October 10, 2018, 04:09:03 pm
For torso rotation, it might help to work with a little bit more than just a silhouette. Add indications of the ribcage and pecs, and you might have an easier time seeing how the silhouette should change.

Offline astraldata

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Re: [CC] - 8-Frame Walk Cycle

Reply #13 on: October 22, 2018, 08:46:59 pm


I'm not so sure about the character on the left though. His head is one pixel further back relative to the shoulder than the head of the character on the right, and it reads to me like his posture is unusually straight. I've tried pushing his head forward slightly as he walks. Do you think this looks more natural?

The problem with the guy on the left and the guy on the right is that their skulls are different sizes entirely.

The skull should be attached at the base -- right against the spine.
From this, the entire size of the skull should be determined.
The guy on the left's neck is jamming right into the center of his skull.

To be more clear -- if he fell straight down, his spine would jam right through the center of his brain, but also through his tongue and inner jaw. This is not how the spine is supposed to be configured. The back of the skull kind of "sits" or "rests" on the tip of the spine.

The guy on the right looks more natural, though his neck is particularly "thick" with musculature -- or at least that's how it comes across.
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