2D Animation Exercise #3: Walking Cycles

One of the most basic motion in animation is walking, and from Richard William’s The Animator’s Survival Kit, it is said that “walks are about the toughest thing to do right”.

Needless to say, during the lesson, I thought I could master the walking animation in no time at all, since I could memorise the five basic poses and timing of walking. I even began to draw a walking cycle draft during the lesson.

Of course, due to my frustration, I could not finish the early one, and when I began to draw one out of scratch for submission , I realized how little I know about drawing walking cycles.

Due to limited time, I could only aim to draw the arms swinging and legs moving on ones, without much reference in characterization and movement. While I am allowed to use both TVPaint and Photoshop to animate, I decided to animate with Photoshop so I don’t have to stay at school every time. Needless to say, I felt that Photoshop is not interface friendly compared to TVPaint. Drawing motions were tricky, and outlining them were even more so.

As a result, the motion seemed smooth in movement, but uncontrolled and aimless without character.

The aborted early version
The aborted early version.
Final Version, made out of scratch.

Due to the lesson learnt from the previous assignment, when I began my next assignment (Walking Cycle, with Lifting Motion), I made research on some special walking cycles. I chose ballet, for the movement appeals to me in aesthetic terms. For reference, I made some sketches about the ballet walking cycle drawn from a video, along with brainstorming what item the character will lift, and how.




As said before, Photoshop is not an easy tool for animation, especially for complex, realistic motion. It was not helped by the fact that I kept mixing up left leg/arm from right leg/arm and vice versa. Added the fact that I had to finish it under tight deadlines, the best I could do was to salvage the result. Several ideas were aborted due to lack of time, including adding a ballerina tutu for accent.

Needless to say, despite of the rushed quality, the work can be said as an improvement compared to the previous one.

Ballet Walk and Lift
Ballet Walk and Lift

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