– Female Walk Cycle – Workflow Tutorial –
In this Tutorial I show my personal workflow to create this Female Walk Cycle (in place)
Rig: The Eleven Rig http://elevenrig.blogspot.de/
“Female Walk Cycle” – RECAP (INTERMEDIATE)
In general, before you start your cycle, you need to decide what type of walk you want to create, the style, the timing, the mood of the characters etc…
Make a research, shoot yourself, watch other walks, make some test. There’re infinite ways to walk and it’s important to chose the right one for your character!
In this tutorial I show you a very fluid and sinuous walk (I made this choice ’cause I wanted play with overlap) 😉
This are the KEY poses for this walk, focusing just on the HIP and LEGS (and below the hip positions in the in-betweens)
You can see the 2 CONTACT POSE with opposite foot leading (the foot forward), the DOWN position with the extreme DOWN pose of the hip, the PASSING and the UP with the extreme UP hip position.
Before start to pose the character, I usually hide the parts of the body I don’t want to see for the moment, I will start posing the legs and the hip, so I temporarily hide all the other faces
To do that, just create a new material (a lambert) and make it transparent, then select the mesh and the faces you want to hide and assign them this transparent material
After that, I also assign 2 different colors to legs and arms to better visualize left and right
We start from the CONTACT POSE. Use a SIDE VIEW and move a bit downward the body, then select the leading foot (in this case is the right one) and move it forward (the leg is straight, not bended) and rotate the foot upward so that just the heel touches the ground.
Move back the left foot and with the foot rool pose it so that the heel starts to leave the ground
In the FRONT VIEW move on X the feet so that they are almost aligned in the center of the body, one in front of the other
Then we copy the same pose at the end of our cycle (frame 31) and in the middle (frame 16) we add an other key, but this time we mirror the pose of the feet (now the left foot is the leading one)
To mirror the pose: go on frame 1, select the right foot ctrl and right-click on the timeline and select COPY, then select the left foot ctrl and move on frame 16 and right-click…PASTE. Then go in the channel box and change the + with the – (or viceversa) for the axis that are opposite for the other foot (translation X, rotation y and Z)
Again, go on frame 1, select the left foot ctrl, COPY, select the right foot ctrl and go on frame 16, PASTE, and mirror values. Do the same for the knee ctrl!
Now select all the ctrls and in the graph editor be sure to have the tangents in SPLINE (or Auto), then select just the feet ctrls and switch to LINEAR the part where the feet slide on the ground
At frame 3 set at 0 all the rotations of the right foot (now it touches completely the ground), move downward the body (here it reaches his lowest position)
On the left foot increase the values of the foot rool so that now it’s alsmost detached from the ground, it touches it just with the toes
Both the legs now are bended!
At frame 8 we create the passing pose, the moment when both the legs are aligned in the middle of the center of gravity, the left foot is moving forward and the right foot…backward
The body started to go UP again, the right foot is still complately flattened on the ground and the left foot is in the air (rotated downward and translated and rotated a bit externally)
Keep attention to balance the body in this pose. The right foot must be perfectly on the center of gravity (’cause all the weigth is on this foot now)
On frame 12, move the body upward (this will be his highest position), the left foot is almost forward, pointing upward and the leg is a bit bended
The right foot is flattened on the ground but the heel started to detach from the ground a bit
Let’s copy and mirror the DOWN (frame 3), PASSING (frame 8) and UP (frame 12) poses on the other half of the cycle: mirrored DOWN (frame 18), mirrored PASSING (frame 23), mirrored UP (frame 27)
Switch ALL the curves in STEPPED and make a playblast!
Now we can add the HIP movement! Funny part 😉
In the contact pose (frame 1), the weight of the character is on both the feet, but we translate a bit the hip on the left, and rotate it towards the left foot on Y and a bit on the left on Z so that we will have a big change of rotation of the hip between down and passing pose!
Then we skip for a moment the down pose, and we move directly on frame 8 (passing pose) and here we have a completed change of the weight on the righ foot, so we translate the hip on the right and we rotate it on Y and Z towards the right foot (this is the extreme hip pose on the right side)
Now add a key on the down pose where you just have to slow down the spacing between contact and down, so rotate the hip a bit on the left so that is more similar to the position at frame 1! In this way we have a slow spacing between contact and down, and a speed spacing between down and passing!
Do the same for the other stride. Move on frame 23 and create the extreme hip pose on the left side (copy the pose of frame 1 and increase the translation on the left and both the rotation of Y and Z)
Now you have an interpolation between frame 8 and frame 23 where the hip moves from right to left, add a key on frame 12 and move it to frame 16 (in order to slow down the spacing between the passing and the contact position and speed it up between contact and passing of the following step – between frame 16 and 23)
Now add a key again on frame 12 (just keep the interpolation)
On frame 31 just copy the pose of frame 1 and then add a key on frame 27
That’s it! So…the big change of position for the hip happens very fast (3 frames) between the contact – passing pose (this makes a more “sashay” effect)
When you are happy with the result…go forward with the REFINE! 😉
For this walk I just animate in Blocking the legs , the body and the hip, ’cause are the more complicated parts in a walk, and I will animate chest, head and arms directly in spline!
Switch the curves in STEPPED and create a playblast! 😉
Start refining what you animated so far, legs and body. In the graph editor switch again all the tangents in SPLINE (or AUTO) except for the translation Z of the feet in the part where they slide on the ground, that must be LINEAR
After that, cycle ALL the CURVES (pre and post infinity) and adjust the transition at the start and the end, using flat tangents (when you have just two extremes keys) or using the handles. REMEMBER to adjust the tangents of the first and last keys together at the same time (they must be the same)
-BODY (COG) REFINE-
Select the body (COG) ctrl
and add a small movement left and right: on frame 1 move it a bit on the right (copy the same value on frame 31) and on frame 16 move it a bit on the left. In the graph editor select the X axis and make the first and last keys FLAT
Then, keep open the graph editor and select the traslation Y and polish the curves
The result should be like this:
At this point I just animate 1 leg and then I copy/past the animation on the other one (but if you prefer you can animate both the legs separately to have less symmetry in the walk). During the blocking is important to have both the legs animated to check timing and poses but now…you can hide one leg and animate just the other one! 😉
On frame 2 adjust the right foot and make it flat (set at 0 all the rotations) and animate the toes cntrl that must point upward (it doesn’t touch the ground yet)Now animate the TOES (offsetted from the foot movement) for the entire range of animation (ex. when the foot moves upward the toes point downward and viceversa)
If you have it, use DEFORMERS ctrls to adjust arcs and legs shapes! They will help to smooth your animation 😉
Now clean the path of your foot movement (you can see my tutorial on “How to REFINE a shot” minute 5.40 where I also explain the use of motion trails to adjust the arc!)
You have to create a nice, rounded and smooth arc for your feet! 😉
Also, you can use the knee deformer to avoid POP result during contact and down pose!
The KNEE should have a smoothed movement just like the feet but sometimes you could have a bad effects due to the movement of foot and body, in this case a knee deformer can helps you (animate it frame by frame during the contact and down positions)
Now you can polish the curves of the foot:
When you are happy with the result, copy/paste the animation on the other foot!
Remember to past the animation of ALL the controls you used for the first foot (foot, toes, knee, deformers etc…)
To copy the animation: select one control at the time, example: select right foot ctrl, in the timeline select the entire range of animation, right-click COPY –> select the same ctrl on the left foot, point on frame 1 and right-click PASTE
Do the same for ALL the controls and after that you should have the feet with the same animation at the same time (they should move together)
Select ALL the controls used for the left leg and, in the Graph editor, select all the curves and drag them forward in the timeline (the first keys should be at frame 16, exactly in the middle of the cycle)
Check you animation, does it works? Ok, now go back in the graph editor, with the same ctrls selected of the left foot, and add a key at frame 31, select all the keys after this one (31 included) and drag them backword up to frame 1, now copy the keys at frame 1 to frame 31! That’s it!
You can watch my tutorial “Run Cycle” minute 10.56 where I show how to copy/paste animation from a foot to an other! 😉
Now polish the curves of the HIP ctrl and… you should have something like this 😉
Chest controls (in my case I have 3 ctrls)
I use the upper ctrl to add a squash and stretch (I can use the other 2 just for rotation)
Use the rotation Y to add a visible Up and Down, the chest should squash with a bit of delay from the Up and Down of the body: with the Low extreme position between the Down Pose and the Passing Pose (around frame 5 or 6) and the Highest extreme position between the Up pose and the Contact pose (around frame 14/15)
To do that: add a key at frame 1/16/31, then on frame 8 translate a bit downward the chest, and on frame 14 a bit upward. Then copy the pose at frame 8 on frame 23, and copy the pose of frame 14 on frame 29. Now select the handles of the first and last key and smooth the transition
Now we add a bit of Rotation on Y
select all the 3 chest ctrls together and on frame 1 (with the right leg leading) rotate the chest on the left (copy this pose on frame 31), on frame 16 (with the left leg leading) rotate the chest on the right
Offset 2 of this controls, select the one in the middle, select all the keys and move them forwards in the timeline by 8 frames (so now the first keys is on frame 8), then add a key on frame 31, copy this key on frame 1 and delate the key on frame 38. Now select the handles of the first and last keys to smooth the transition
Then select the upper control and move all the keys forwards (so that the first keys is on frame 16) then copy the key on frame 31 and paste it on frame 1 and delate the keys on frame 46!
So now the upper part of the chest is rotated opposite to the leading leg!
Now use the same process to rotate the chest on X, a small rotation back and forth. You can use just the upper ctrl of the chest: add a key on the rot X on frame 1/16/31, then on frame 8 rotate a bit the upper chest forwards, and on frame 14 a bit backwards, then copy the keys on frame 8 and past it on the other stride (frame 23) and the copy/paste the key of frame 14 on the frame 29. In the graph editor select the handles of the first and last keys and adjust them to smooth the curve, the adjust also the handle of the frame 16
Just as for the legs, you can animate one arm and then copy/past and mirror the animation on tje other one (or, especially for the arms, you can animate both of them separately, I always suggest to add a bit of variations in the arms movement! 😉
The arm are in FK, and you have 3 controls: arm, forearm, wrist + the shoulder ctrl
Before animate the arm, pose the fingers in a natural and relaxed pose (avoid rigid pose, ore fingers too separated between each other, or “paddle hand” effect)
First of all we set the 2 main key poses in the contact pose (frame 1/16/31).
The arms always move in the opposite direction of the foot on the same side
On frame 1 we have the right foot forward, so we move back the arm (the 3 controls) and also the shoulder (for the shoulder you can also use a bit of translation back and forth)
Choose a natural and armonic pose of the arm, use deformers to adjust it or make it a bit more rounded and “soft”
When you have done with the first pose, copy all the 3 ctrls + the shoulder (and the deformers if you used them) on frame 31
On frame 16 create the opposite pose, with the arm rotated forward (and the shoulder also translated a bit forward)
Now create the passing pose (around frame 8) and, it depends on the pose you choosed for you arm, in my case I keep the arm straight during the passing pose and I break the joint a bit (rotating the forearm and the wrist backward and using the deformers)
Now select the forearm and offsett it by 1/2 frames from the arm
Then polish the curve in the graph editor and do what you have done for the chest to keep the animation in the range of 31 frames
Select the wrist and now offset it by 1/2 frames from the forearm this time (add some in-betweens to overlap)
Then polish the curve in the graph editor and again, keep the animation in the range of 31 frames
When you have done, copy/paste mirror on the other arm or, as I said before, animate it separately!
Let’s move to the head! First of all, add a nice and relaxed expression to the character, keep attention to the eyes look direction, we need the feeling that the character is looking at something to keep it alive
For the head we just go to add a small X rotation back and forth, following the back and forth movement of the chest: frame 5/6 extreme forward rotation, frame 13/14 extreme backward rotation
I also add a bit of animation to the hair, this rig doesn’t has hair ctrls, so I directly animated the mesh so…is something you can do just for your animation test but NOT IN PRODUCTION 😀
In this particular animation (due to the character design) is interesting to add a nice and exaggerated animation of the brest (just to have more overlap!)
We can translate and rotate them in order to create a circular movement + an Up and Down (use motion trail if needed) and animated them offsetted by 1/2 frames! 😉
THA’S IT! 🙂
So, don’t be shy and send me your walk cycle adding a link to your video in the page “YOUR ANIMATIONS” to receive my feedback! 😉