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Notice (in key 1) that when the character's left leg is down and forward, the left hip is also down and forward, but the right hip is pulled up and back. The right arm, in compensation, drags the right shoulder down and forward, while the left is pulled up and back—resulting in a twist in the spine. In key 9, the reverse is true. Although this example is grossly exaggerated, in the course of one step a great deal of body movement goes on. As with all animation, you will learn only by feeling the movement in your own body, then re-creating it in drawn movement on your lightbox.

As you study body movement, don't forget the movement of the head. An enthusiastic character, for example, may sway the head from side to side while walking. Again, observe people on the street to fill your mental filing cabinet.

As you become more experienced with walks, take on the challenge of originality. Provided you get the basic principles of movement correct, there is no end to the sophistication and detail you can add to produce that little something special in the action.

Assignment

Copy and inbetween the key positions here on even inbetweens and shoot on twos for six feet. Then, using the same two key positions (and with as many inbetweens as you choose), create your own walk cycle encompassing as many of the guidelines from this chapter as you can. Shoot for a minimum of four seconds (or longer, if your cycle is a long, slow one).

Study every aspect of your walk cycle and see where improvements could be made. If you feel confident enough, make the necessary changes and reshoot. Then compare the difference between your first tests and your second. Repeat this process, if necessary.

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