animation strategies

Walk Cycle and Body Mechanics

Initial Experimentation with Body Rigs

To start getting used to handling both body rigs I messed around for a bit, basing my initial poses on photos from google images and the reference image gallery senshistock on deviantArt. I wanted to have some fun whilst seeing how far I could get the models to work with the more extreme poses. I was also thinking about weight distribution, specifically with the ‘contrapposto’ pose referencing Michelangelo’s David.

The next set of poses I did not use a reference for, but tried myself to express an emotion through the character. I also wanted try out editing the proportions of a rig and also interaction, as seen in the image with the two Jill rigs embracing where I made one of the characters slightly shorter than the other.

I was also thinking about my body mechanics animation, below is shown my first attempts at showing somebody tripping and falling. I chose the Jill rig for this as I think it is a little easier to work with, for example the Jack rig has largely proportioned hands which can look awkward with some poses and I prefer the level of flexibility the Jill rig offers.

Though I know there are problems and inconsistencies between the stages of the fall it really was good to think about weight and how the parts of the body will move in motion and in collision with another object (in this case, the floor). Still, I don’t think I will go for a fall in my final body mechanics animation as it was quite tricky and time consuming to even get three key poses.

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For my last bit of experimenting with the rigs I wanted to work with weight, extreme poses and character interaction so used the Jack and Jill rigs together in ballroom dance poses.


I know I copied the poses from the reference picture but I will likely have at least partially planned out my later animations, and intend to use plenty of references in doing so, so I don’t think it’s cheating too much. I like these two poses the best, they read pretty well and have a good sense of weight and interaction about them.

I need to learn more about rendering before I start making a portfolio or showreel, as right now I can only render with Arnold and the only light that seems to show up in the renders is the skydome light. Many of the other options I have experimented with do not display in any render at all and I still haven’t figured out why this is. Also as you can see many of the renders are grainy and bad looking, so I will research removing noise as detailed in this SolidAngle post.

Walk Cycle

Research and Reference

My main point of reference for the walk cycle was The Animator’s Survival Kit but I also used the following videos and various gifs as well.

I know how easy it is to fall into uncanny valley territory with 3D so I’d better make sure my animations don’t end up looking like this!

Walk Cycle


Here is a gif of the rough version of my walk cycle. I will likely make some alterations and refinements to it in the future, for instance I need to work on the arms and use the graph editor a bit more so that the movements overall look more natural.

Sneaky Walk Cycle

I made a gif of above video which was main reference for this walk. I liked the way the poses were exaggerated and held for a bit longer than in a normal walk so wanted to try out something similar myself.


Body Mechanics

For my first experiments with the body mechanics animations I wanted to work with more subtle movement and shifting weight. Below is my attempt at doing so which I abandoned after a while as I had made the mistake of keying the entire pose each frame instead of the key moving body parts and this made editing a chore in the long run.


Other ideas for my body mechanics included someone doing an acrobatic backflip or slipping comically on a banana peel.

However I settled on animating a baseball swing, using these two gifs as basis for the poses.

Initially I wanted to do a very exaggerated swing with more of a slapstick comedy look but had difficulty pushing the key poses to the extremity I had envisioned and getting them to work in motion.

Final versions of all walk cycles and animations here.

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