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Lesson 2: The Walk Cycle part 2
4. Draw the recoil pose
(Bear in mind my rant in the previous paragraph. ) Put down a clean sheet, number it #2 in the top right of the page, write the letter "R" beside that, and draw the character as his foot hits the ground. The character will be at his lowest point in the cycle. Don't move the head and body too far forward or you can inadvertently cause any number of arcing problems later on.
I find as a general rule of thumb that the body should fall by half a head to one head in height to keep the walk "bouncy" enough. (It's a common beginner's mistake to keep the figure at the same height throughout the entire walk.)
Remember...the recoil position will be almost identical later in the walk, on the subsequent step:
This is what will determine the overall arc pattern, and the positions of all the poses inbetween the recoil and the following contact pose. On the recoil pose the character impacts the ground. The rear foot lifts off, and the arms are extended to their maximum from the body because of the force of hitting the ground.
Now a brief note on the overall timing of a walk.
As you can see, a complete cycle works from #01 to #12, beginning its repeat on#13. I put the recoil immediately following the contact without an inbetween between them because an inbetween frame would make it look "mushy". The contact should usually snap into the recoil immediately, without an intervening drawing.
If #04 is the high point the walk will look like this:
As you can see above, this makes the character "bounce off the ground very quickly, making him light footed.
If #06 is the high point the walk will look like this:
This timing above slows down the character as he rises from the recoil pose, making him seem a lot heavier.
I will take the middle path and name the high point #05, resulting in this:
This is a more even timing: it should make the character seem like an average weight, without any extreme attributes. These are the kinds of decisions that you should make before you begin animating. Now we can look at our overall exposure sequence again:
Now we have our 3 main key frames, #1 #2 and #5, and their near twins #7 #8 and #11. The empty spaces in the sequence above will all be inbetweens. Don't worry about them yet.
5. Draw the high point.
You have a little more freedom when drawing the limbs on the high point than on the recoil, as the leading foot is up in the air, and the arms are swinging over a pretty wide space. That gives you a number of different possibilities. The example frame that I have included is fairly typical.
The most important thing to get right with this drawing is the arc path of the head and body. A mistake on this one frame will effect all the inbetween frames around it.
Once that is finished, you are ready to move on.
6.Add the timing charts.
Timing charts need to be added to #2 and #5. The timing chart on #2 will describe the positions of #3 and #4 as they work into #5. The chart on #5 will describe the position of #6.
Put #2 on the drawing board. Underneath the frame number in the top right corner of the page, you will add the chart. Here's what it should look like:
As you can see, #4 is the main inbetween halfway between the two keyframes. #3 is a smaller inbetween which will completely smooth out the motion.
The next timing chart to be added is on #5. Put #5 on the drawing board and write a timing chart beneath the drawing number in the top right corner of the page. It should look like this:
This shows that #6 will be a single inbetween halfway between #5 and #7. Now it's time to draw the inbetweens.
7.Draw #4: the main inbetween.
You have to flip between #4 and the two key frames beneath it. You should remember that from the bouncing ball tutorial:
Again, be sure that your character follows the arc path as he walks. When you're finished the drawing, remove the drawings from the pegs and place #2, #4 and #5 back on the pegs in that sequence. Now you can roll them to see if they move properly. You'll also remember that from the bouncing ball tutorial.
If you see any errors in your inbetween, then you must lift the drawings off the pegs again, then place #2 on the bottom, #5 above it, and #4 on the top. Then you can flip again, correcting any errors that may have crept in. It's tedious, but it's the only way to do it.
8.Draw the remaining inbetweens.
You should be looking at a stack of paper, numbered #1 through #7. If you put all those drawings on the pegs, you should be able to roll them and have a rough idea of what your scene will look like when it's shot. If anything catches your eye, chances are it's wrong. Go back in, repeating the process described in step 7, until you're happy with it.
9.Finish the rest of the cycle (or else).
I hope that makes sense.
The second half of the walk is identical to the first, except that the arms and legs will be on the opposite sides of the body.
10. A general note about arcs.
Place all your drawings on the board. If you have a backlight switch it on. Pick a body part, e.g. the right wrist. Place a clean sheet over the drawings and draw a small dot on it at the position of the right wrist on frame 1. On the same sheet draw a dot for the position fof the wrist for #2...and so on.
By the time you're finished you'll have a sheet of paper that looks like this:
That's what it looks like if it's done properly. If you've made an arc mistake, it'll look like this:
If your walk is to look smooth and natural, your arc paths must also be smooth, curved, natural shapes. You should repeat this process for every part of the body to make sure they all move properly.
If you're new to this: draw simple cartoony characters at first. Don't even think of attempting anatomical designs until you've gotten comfortable with the simple ones first.
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