Monday, 16 December 2013

96. Quadrupedal Dölf the Christmas horse

Finishing off the quadrupeds with a Christmas theme. Today I worked on a X-Mass horse. The shape of the figure is inspired by a large Maurovic painting I’ve seen as a child. 

The large over exaggerated musculature of the body and top part of the limbs creates a powerful animal. Dölf is walking with a parade march, his front limbs resembling that of a soldier, while the back leg push offs are closer to a classic equine placement. They both push off and slide on the ground moving the large trunk in a forward attentive pointer stance. The front legs are also breaking the joints on their way down creating a stronger swing arc and accenting the solid stance frame afterwards. The neck is doing a figure eight with a small loop at the front and a large one at the back. 

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

95. Quadrupedal Doom Yoga Metal Ocean

Today's walk has been largely inspired by a Yoga session and a healthy smattering of Ahab (doom metal German symphonic music with a distinct aquatic theme). The figure itself has joints which are broken in many ways compared to a standard animal. 

It resembles an insect/ arachnid or a hand. I wanted to play with the form which would create quadrupedal walk  cycle if I broke all the rules I learnt so far. So the figure is propelling itself forward by using the top torso, it’s spindly legs dragging itself. On an odd accent beat the back leg catches up and pushes forward becoming so stretched by the figures spine movement that it rubberises and turns tentacle. This then slams in the ground bouncing off in a ‘normal’ step for such an odd figure. These walks are taking a lot longer than 30 minutes currently as they are more developed. A twisted cycle today.

Monday, 9 December 2013

94. Quadrupedal burly bison

After the zany walks of last week I wanted to create something a bit more conservative. A powerful and somewhat slow animal like a bison would be ideal for this task. 

Though it has some similarities with the ‘raging bull’ of the past post this figure is much more ponderous and slower moving. In order to emphasise it’s size a 45 degree angle was used in it’s front feet comparative to the ground creating an reverse obtuse angle and a powerful negative shape which allows it to move forward with grace whilst emphasising the weight. The front legs curve and unravel while the back ones stretch out. Majority of the muscle mass moving it forward is in it’s powerful upper torso. Maybe it will create small puddles as it navigates the prairie. 

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

93. Quadrupedal floppy sniffer from Melmac

Having more fun and playful animations. The walk cycle is of a lazy canine like creature. 

The movement is floppy all the way through, keeping only a semblance of bone structure and entering into rubber-hose, without any rubber. The concept was to imagine that the creature crawling is a sock puppet. The front limbs raise only slightly, while the back legs curve  as they flop into place in order to create forward momentum. The head is forced into bends as the bottom pushes on the torso unnaturally bending over itself (an influence from a bloodhound from early Termite terrace walk).  The only snap is in the head. This would could be slowed down with 8-10 in-betweens in order to give a lazy character illusion. 

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

92. Quadrupedal twisty froggy

Continuing with odd and twisted walks today I went with an amphibian crawl. To make it more interesting I attributed the walk onto a humanoid figure. 

The back legs break and twist back as they supersede the front ones. The front legs shoot forward with a snapping force stretching out. This is transferred back with elasticity which moves the entire torso and the head forward for another stretch as the whole body duck down to balance itself.  Each of the accents is revisited and the pose re-framed in order to create them into additional keys. A very amusing walk where one of the limbs is shooting out at all times.

Monday, 2 December 2013

91. Quadrupedal brawny bulldog


I went with a more complex quadruped today. Having re-watched some early Spumco, and a host of other nineties toons in the background I think that feel of animation permeated into today's walk. The overtly muscled bulldog has echoes of Mark Anthony whilst having playful motion. 

I aimed for him to be moving forward in a corkscrew motion, front legs crossing each other, back legs leaping through air on a spiral arc reaching under the body and crating a huge accent for the next front arm movement. The action is mirrored with a mirrored change in the motion on the action arc between the front and back leg. There is a lot happening in this arc and I could have kept animating it for a lot longer, adding more in-betweens but time crept up. The whole action is kept away from realism using what I’ve learnt with the quadrupedal studies grounding it in unreels cartoon world. 

Friday, 29 November 2013

90. Quadrupedal dynamic walk

Getting to the end of the four legged walk cycle. I wanted to combine all that I’ve learned for the final run of walks. I also wanted to have all of these be very fun and playful to animate. I eventually took longer than allocated thirty minutes for this one. One cycle is done with 26 frames. 


Consequently there is a lot going on. The figure is similar to lion/dragons/hounds of victorian times. It is advancing in a cautious yet threatening mood. The back legs are grabbing at earth like a bull would be, pushing the hips high and tensing all the frontal torso. The back feet slowly rotate and then quickly strike the ground. The front legs claw at the air, like the figure is swimming like a gorilla striking the earth only to pull itself like a reptile in a sprawl forwards as it;s spine straightens. The head is swaying side to side at a larger arc than that of a feline it’s momentum originating at the nape of the neck and then curving with the final skull movement. A fun walk altogether. Only five left!

Thursday, 28 November 2013

89. Quadrupedal high soft walk three solid feet


For today’s walk I wanted to play around with a recent walk. (85) In contrast with the one legged push off here there are three feet on the ground at all times. The figure is a strange twisted humanoid. 

The movement starts with one of the from feet rolling forward by hyperextension at the elbow joint. It follows by the opposite leg creating the ‘X’ walk formation. The body squashes each time the two back feet catch up and knees hit the ‘elbows’. The movement becomes jerky and alien, especially as I tried to keep the head still in the same position. It has a semblance to ‘Star Wars’ four legged war walkers whilst remaining organic. Having a lot of fun with this I added a bit more render to the walk. 

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

88. Quadrupedal pointer sniffer

A while ago I read a host of books about dog training. I believe I was around 6/7. My uncle used to have hunting dogs and I was eager at helping train a pup. This reminded me of working dogs. 

There is very particular economy of movements when they are at their job. I remember that well. They would sniff and freeze point to a place of prey continuously haven their little heads pointing in the direction as they would carefully ‘feel’ the air. So using that experience as a jumping point I’ve animates a sniffing pointer. The figure is advancing forward, the front legs resembling a sneak, with paws raised high to clear any grass and air enabling the smell to reach the nostrils. The hind legs, slightly sprawled for balance are the main propulsion. The head dip like a wave capturing as much aroma as possible in it’s search. 

Tuesday, 26 November 2013

87. Quadrupedal gorilla aping alter

Round two! Going back to yesterdays gorilla strut I decided to break the frames down and insert more life  (animus) into it.

 I added the squashes and stretches especially to the arms which i bent and then broke in order to convey more imminent dynamic forward. The movement is still coming from the shoulders but the elbows follow suit as the arms swing in a wild and wide arc impacting the ground as the head overbears the central line off-llining the spine movement. The legs are very similar but with a little bit more twist on the feet/hands as they swing back. The two cycles need to be looked next to each other to compare the evolution of the movement. Whilst the last one has realistic conventions this one is leaning towards the stylistic aesthetic primarily playing with negative and positive spaces and geometric propulsion. 

Monday, 25 November 2013

86. Quadrupedal swinging gorilla

Here we go! A posturing and seining gorilla. The ape was partly inspired by the dominance of raging bull and partly by brilliant impersonation by CJ Markham (Animation supervisor on K.Kong). I’ve tried to mimic the movements demonstrated on myself and then proceeded to imbue them into the figure. 


The character is displaying aggressive display in his walk. The back legs grab at the ground sharply throwing the dust at the imaginary opponents behind. The whole torso is twisting like a shark searching for a prey (animals moving like fish next? aquatic?) with each of the fists smashing into the ground. In order to maximise the visual impact they are further raised at an elbow, after the shoulder momentum takes them to each side. The head followed the shudders giving a wide vision arc as he tries to smell his own butt (dog chasing tail next!) The movement on the right side is a little bit faster emphasising the uneven nature and giving more ‘full animated’ look. 

Friday, 22 November 2013

85. Quadrupedal one leg push off



Today I decided to do another playful walk. I enjoyed the gravity defying movement of the ‘raging bull’ and its jumps from yesterday. This has led me to try another somewhat complex pattern. I wanted to use a figure on the right low end of ‘The Big Triangle’ (S. McCloud).

My character would start off on all fours. It would then proceed to push itself forward balancing on front left leg, then transferring to right leg followed by hind left and hind right. At any of these frames the figure would have all of its weight balanced on one limb. It would descend down only to do the same forward propulsion with a back leg kick off. Only this time it would start with front right leg etc. in the opposite order. What I got is a very playful walk which was a lot of fun to do. The body and head support the entire momentum. This is another walk which would benefit for additional accents and at least one set of in-betweens. The cycle is already hitting over 24 individual frames though and took just over an hour to develop. Maybe in future I can try doing some longer walks, leading them to finish. (one for the walk idea book)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

84. Quadrupedal raging bull II

Going back to walk 24 this time with a quadruped and a literal raging bull. I wanted a matador adversary, a drawing reminiscent of El Castilo. A powerful bull committing to more than just a walk. The bull is displaying threat and dominant behaviour. 


To achieve this he is wildly stabbing the air on both of his sides, while digging in with his paws to the ground. The front legs are stamping. The right hind leg digs for the dirt and then steps forward in an arc which uplifts the bull’s powerful torso. The other leg follows whilst the front right leg goes under the hind sprawl continuing one sided dirt/dust digging pea-cocking. I break the hips in order to give an exaggeration with the bulls movement. Head swings side to side but is otherwise locked with the powerful neck in order to prevent any injury. The whole cycle is done on key frames and given more time would benefit from some in-betweens in order to give dramatic tension to the movement. Some more animal-specific behaviour may be coming in future (add-note)

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

83. Quadrupedal revisionary head-down

Going back to the simple walk i decided to do a hominid. For this walk I wanted to translate into animation the emotional movement of the body as opposed to purely figurative. To achieve this I went on all fours and started to practise different walking styles. I settled on a kind of snifter one (juxtaposition to the first accidental ‘H’ cycle).

 However I did not concentrate on the motion of the character, but how it felt when I was moving. How my leg felt it moved as opposed to how it actually did move. So much in animation is conveying the emotional message and connecting with the viewer one can become bogged down in the physics and aesthetics of it all and disregard the complex emotional side of movement, and not just blaring out character traits and tropes, or character acting. I found my hips felt that they were hyper-extending forward and my whole body is moving forward wishing to collapse over itself, to roll, to become a steamship. The legs followed suit, ankles twisting back and feet becoming shovels. The front limb preventing the fragile head hitting the floor were busy high-riving it repeatedly, pushing off and allowing for the legs to rotate and roll the body forward.

Tuesday, 19 November 2013

82. Quadrupedal funky plutonic walk

Fresh from the BAF I’m feeling imbued with inspiration. As a result here is a rather playful walk. I used a figure of a cartoon canine for this one. I wanted to give myself a little more time and try to capture lot’s of playful elements in one cycle. Inevitably there are echoes of Pluto here. 

The front legs are moving in a slight stomping motion as the head bobs up and down in  a pretzel movement arc from the centre. As each of the front limbs is raised the back ones push the body forward and the movement originates in the ‘shoulder’ joints and then follows through. For the hind legs there is a classic boxer sprawl with the dogs behind being high up in the air. As each leg moves forward the knees explode upwards (exploding legs could be fun for a walk) and then digs into the ground creating a 45 degree propulsion from the ground. This movement add the pretzel to the head and a pendulum to the entire body. A very fun walk to animate. 

Thursday, 14 November 2013

81. Quadrupedal H-sprawl

Another common way to use a reptilian and a further evolution for today was a sprawl. For this I used a ‘H’ system inspired by a couple of instances of today. One was seeing an extra-terrestrial reptile (a cool model thereof) and the other a saying by B. Godfry ("I mean these schools that are springing up all over the place ‘How to Walk’ ‘How to Run’, based on live action. How a live action man runs, how a live action person walks, you know, people in animation don’t have to walk, I mean they don’t even have to have legs, they can go up in the air." excr. from interview).

So I kept the sprawling fantastical and completely unrealistic trying to create an exaggerated sprawl. In this walk the hip movement comes from the core axe the truing has an egg-like perpendicular movement. The front limbs are grasping and pulling while the beck arches forth and reverse. the neck is rigid all the way through creating a sinker for the spinal cord. If I added a tail it would have been a counterbalance, but I wanted to see whether I could keep a hominid look with reptilian motion feel. 

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

80. Quadrupedal serpentine draco



Leaving the stylistic explorations of ‘sakuga’ from last two days I engaged into a complex walk based on a fantastic creature. I wanted to do a reptilian serpentine walk. For this I used a dragon similar to those of far east with a definitive resonance with Azdaha from home turf. The legs are those of a lizard, (komodo or similar) whilst the body is a fat snakelike structure.

 For the movement the intention was to have it moving like a body  of a snake through water, sand. To achieve this I animated just the body of the figure in a crawling motion which a poise (for attack) and a whip triggering momentum. I raised the figure off the ground and added legs. They resonate with the torso movement. As the body stretches forward the legs follow suit, with the front limb grasping and back opposite going into full push. It may be worth to point that I used ‘X’ leg cycle formation here (so diametrically opposite locomotion). As the body coils inwards the legs come together adding to the whipping force with their accent. I also added some side seining manoeuvres to the motion with front joints overlapping the back ones. The body would twist as a small corkscrew in order to gain from it’s serpentine musculature. 

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

79. Quadrupedal Imaishi hyper-style

Continuing with the ‘sakuga’ theme of yesterday there is one animator style which I really wanted to try out. The famed Hiroyuki Imaishi. Having enjoyed his work on Dead Leaves, Redline, the irreverent Kill la Kill, as well as Cutie Honey and Blade Master he has made a name as animators animator, though these days he mostly directs. There is a certain hyper stylisation with his work. The in-betweens are extremely loose without much attention given to them par the movement impression. This is offset by the powerful posed key frames which snap in from the abstract in-betweens. His figure rendition takes Kanada base to a new level of hyper stylisation where the block colours become block shapes with heave set blacks acting as shadows. There is a certain semblance to Mignolas work in the stylisation which in turn lends itself to easier and consequently more playful hence better animation as demonstrated by Bruce Timm. 

To utilise all of these elements I’ve used a quadrupedal abstraction, a creature straight out of Imaishi’s repertoire. I’ve used the strong keys as the snap ins and went to town with in-between, twirling the accents, twisting the stretches and rounding the squashes. It is a fun way to work on a figure movement, always thinking how to show off and be flashy. I believe that this approach of animation is best suited for fast and complex scenes with extreme camera angles (just like Imaishi uses) as it’s impact gets somewhat diminished with a simple side view. I think next time I’ll be trying it out in a more explosive manner.

Monday, 11 November 2013

78. Quadrupedal Itano circus

Harking back to the ‘sakuga’ week I did a while ago I wanted to revisit different styles of expression but this time with quadrupeds. I looked at well known sakugas which I missed last time. (There are so many one could do a whole series on it). I decided upon Ichiro Itano and his signature missile circus. If anyone has seen early Gundam or Robotech/Macross it’s those crazy frantic missiles which interweave as the race towards the target. Itano is so famed for this other animator frequently do homage of this movement. According to lore he came up with this movement dynamic after strapping rockets to his bicycle as a young boy. 

To use the circus in the walk cycle I had to amend a few things. though it would be interesting to do a giant robot shooting missiles as it stepped forth it would be to deviant from my initial plan for this exercise (and delectably self-indulgent). I used the movement of muscles, bones and intent of the quadruped to extrapolate the arcs of movement which I used as dissipating energy hence creating body missiles. A fun walk indeed. Maybe one day I’ll have a go at the full Itano circus. I’m sure it’ll come handy.

Friday, 8 November 2013

77. Quadrupedal flexy-joint creepy spindly crawl

Today I reverted to a more natural figure. The Shape is that of a hominid. The legs are relatively bestial with additional joint in the ankle while the spine and trunk are very human. The figure is crawling on the ground ready for a leap at any point. 

The entire spine worms itself forward. Front limbs behave as those of a feline as they tap interchangeably on the ground closing in. Back knees are lifted high contorting the figure and in the drop accent the have a small joint shake when all the joints below the knee are broken before putting the foot down. This gives power in the push of step as the whole leg straightens creating distinct momentum. The head is predatory as the vision is locked straight ahead.

Thursday, 7 November 2013

76. Quadrupedal low-bearing bug slide

Keeping in with the simple figure this time I chose a round trunk and thin spindly legs. 

There is less rubberhose here and the movement is mostly in the limbs. It takes a different approach to abstract figure motion. I tried to keep to the same one sided walk (H), but this time I had the figure sliding forwards like a curler. All the limbs are synced in unison as the trunk has a little bit of squash and stretch. The head is making a figure of eight as the configuration of the figure is more  similar to hominoid than a bug. 

75. Quadrupedal rubbery-sneak-back-flex

Having enjoyed Trottlemme’s cycle yesterday I wanted to do another very cartoony walk. For this I had to keep the form simple. So rubberhose limbs, a circle for head (this time I omitted neck altogether) and a sausage trunk. 

The movement is where I wanted to really explore the possibilities of motion. Keeping the humanoid touch with a single side motion I decided to go for a sneaky-sneaky here. The limbs side to side limber up, juggle then extend higher arching the back in a cat-like accent. The figure is quickly sneaking up. This could work equally well on x shaped formation. 

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

74. Quadrupedal Trottalemme strut

Harking back to walk 20 with that fummeti camomile drinking cowboy Cocco Bill comes today's walk. Cocco has a horse, a foul mouthed cigarette smoking leg bending wise cracking, Winchester totting Trottalemme. An extremely cartoony character was just a joy to animate. I removed features in order to concentrate on the walk itself. 

Because Trottalemme is more human than probably Cocco I decided to use once again the unbalanced leg work of yesterday. The two sides would balance each outer out as the back leg would spiral into place. As this propels the mount the front leg would reach for next step ruberhosing and accenting both ways creating a whipping motion. The head leads and the neck is protruded with forward motion, leaving the simple trunk to do a small figure of eight. This walk compromises of 18 frames, which is fairly long in comparison, but something this abstract can just keep evolving giving more personality quirks. I can only imagine how he would run…

Monday, 4 November 2013

73. Quadrupedal Stompy Sniffer

After the haywire of Maverick update and food poisoning of last week I’m back on track this week with a new walk cycle. Having done one full week of study walks I definitely feel I understand the differing cycles in the animal kingdoms a lot better. So I will be playing around with different walk using all this new knowledge. Entering with a fantastic walk of a stumpy snifter. Inspired by the ungulator of last walk and adding that onto a feline body I decided to really play around with this and attempt the walk that led me onto the study walk week. 

Here I purposely move the two same libs at the same time giving the creature a magical impression, working with a bigger pendulum sway from side to side in order to keep the balance going (would be interesting to do a millipede at some point). The trunk/snifter hits the ground with each sway and bounces back up with the momentum coming from the hips in a ramming motion. 

Saturday, 26 October 2013

72. Quadrupedal Rhino step


So busy mapping I'm running a bit late with this update. But squeezed some time in late last night and this morning to finish off the week of animal studies I utilised a real heavyweight in a form of Rhinoceros. 

While an elephant has more subtlety in its walk the heavy form of rhino with its large grazing head and stiff skin is a different mover altogether.  I kept the horn off for the purpose of animation. Most of the movement  comes from the front legs which step relatively quickly order to maintain the balance. The movement is transferred from the shoulders to knees to feet in a fast succession. The back legs slot in place whilst being very stiff in their movement, like a classical pugilist. The back knees are locked with toes having minimal movement. All the momentum comes from hips adding more propellant to the creature. 

Thursday, 24 October 2013

71. Quadrupedal elephant stroll



What does one hunt tigers with? Elephants! It seemed as a logical progression from yesterdays cycle. The elephant is a huge mammal which has it's own style of movement. In order to concentrate on leg locomotion I took the trunk and the ears off the figure and kept the head tapir looking. 

A creature this size as a lot of weight, but elephants are capable of stampeding so they can achieve high speed as well. The wight distribution is equal as each leg is lifted only momentarily front the ground. The knee joints are first leading in all the cases as the large foot comes last gripping the ground and supporting the body on that pivot as the joint is locked in order to ensure safety. There is a lot more gravity for it to fight due to it's mass and this kind of economic movement is essential. 

Wednesday, 23 October 2013

71. Quadrupedal tiger stalk


Getting more dangerous with some heavy mammalian action. A large feline moves very differently from a equine or cervidae for that matter. Though they are both hoofed. A tiger varies a great deal. 

It's weight is a lot lower to the ground and the musculature of the body is heavier and more equally distributed to allow it to circumnavigate through dense terrain, whilst stalking part undisturbed. It leads with the head, relying on it's senses with more of a crawl locomotion. The front limbs snap to the front with weight distribution starting at the shoulders then going down to other joints until it's pulling the animal with the paws. The back legs respond to this action remaining tense during the movement and somewhat stiff in readiness and anticipation to the action. The chest and back are fully active in the movement as the spine wiggles during the stalking.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

70. Quadrupedal horse slow trot study


Today I've used a horse as the basis of the study. Though similar in it's structure to the deer from yesterday a horse has a lot more musculature and power behind it's legs and locomotion. Must be all the open prairie evolution. To represent this I wanted to give the horse a slow deliberate trot. 

A relaxed yet regal and gracious walk. I've worked on 15 frame cycle here which is a lot slower. Points of note are it's more led by 'knee' joints to the front, with feet being placed in a dominance posture. Each step tightens and elevates the neck muscle and the head consequently. The hind legs are hip led with feet falling to the ground last. There is only a small amount of body twist, primary in the buttock of the animal. 

Monday, 21 October 2013

69. Quadrupedal deer trot study


First day of doing studies based on direct animal reference. Inspired by a bike ride and deer encounters of the lat summer, after some Internet searching I found a host of various deer cycle to compare. I opted to do a simple trot as that is what I had difficulty with last week. 

There is very little back movement and the neck has more of a pigeon, bird like forward momentum. Interesting observation is that each hoof replaces the spot left empty by the left/right one. Most of the musculature is on the thighs and front limbs, while the body only bends a little bit. The hooves are placed in position rather than dropping or falling creating a kind of wild grace using economy of movement. 

Friday, 18 October 2013

68. Quadrupedal evo-trot


Moving on from a stroll and the walks with paws and feet I wanted to tackle something a bit more troublesome, like hooves. For this I've used a figure inspired from future-animal-earth-evolutions book I've read as a small child. Some of the visuals have stayed with me so this deer-dog came about. Having hooves would add an extra articulation point as well as different distribution of weights. 

Once I finished this walk it looked a bit funny to me. Something was off. On second inspection I realised my folly. The walk was lop-sided. One side of limbs would raise and then drop down allowing the other to do the same. The body did not shift at all and the limbs would extend in swimming motion reeling the weight to be taken on the other side. I guess I was enthralled with the figure model and trying to get the small parts right, like the spine movement, the head bob and the hoof grasp I did not spot this immediately. This means that I still have a long way to go before the lessons of quadrupeds are instilled in my psyche. Next week I'll be mostly doing reference walk in order to remind myself of the principles and drill them further in. On the other hand the walk does have some fantastical charm and if the creature was 'magical' in some way I may experiment with it in future. It is treating quadruped as a biped which achieves this. Reference collection weekend is on!

Thursday, 17 October 2013

67. Quadrupedal soft circular stroll



After the strong frontal posturing and the kicky-flickiness of last two day this was a soft for a soft walk. As soft as a falling autumnal leaf. The figure is somewhat abstract expressionistic hominid. 

The bones are softened and almost ruberhosed, whilst still retaining the initial structural premise. Knees go high up and the front limbs grasp for the ground. The locomotion is evenly distributed between front and back locomotion. The head is more upright and leans back pulled by the body as the front limbs lock after their extension. There is a little bit of drop on each side as each of the limbs is raised, giving a heftier effect of the gravity. 

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

66. Quadrupedal backflick crawl


Reversing the movement of yesterday I tried to create an opposite motion. Whilst the frontal stomp was aggressive this is a more progressive motion. The hind legs provide most of the locomotion, as the front limbs are crawling more than anything else. Each of the hind legs breaks at the hip, shoots forward, stretching on an accent before it zaps right back. The push off comes from the back and the leg snaps forward, the front limbs respond in crawling with the momentum of the rubber band. The figure this time is less 'heroic' than yesterdays more akin to a 'polip'. 

There is a small body movement reflected from the large hip angulation and a small head nudge follows. 

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

65. Quadrupedal front stomp


Working from the stride, I wanted to experiment with some of the changes in front and back motion as well as the emotion which it would convey. This time the figure is moving in a menacing stomp, exhibiting threatening behaviour. The front limbs are being smashed into the ground increasing the size of the figure in confrontation. The legs are merely catching up, but to add some more interest I've added one leg acting as a bigger push than the other. So one is being placed while the right is quickly pushing the figure. I've used a fantasy figure built, primarily to add more weight to the frontal limbs (it could nicely pose as a dragon with folded wings). 

The forearms are large and the motion for the front stomp is akin to swimming motion as the body twists from side to side. The head acts similar to a stride, main difference being it cuts through the air at smaller angle. I think I'll play with some different body shapes in future and observe how they add character in locomotion as well as change the physics of such. 

Monday, 14 October 2013

64. Quadrupedal Strider


For the beginning of the week I've evolved the sneak walk. Elongating the circular motion of hip/shoulder joints we get a striding motion. the body is still doing a wave and the head has a forward circling momentum as it 'cuts' through the air. Each step becomes individual grasp of the earth bellow and this is reflected with the nonchalant wiping of the paws. The body momentum, alongside the limbs is most reminiscent of a climbing figure. The canine in question could be going through some wind, mist or elevated terrain. 

Friday, 11 October 2013

63. Quadrupedal superhumanfishmonsterbeast sneak from aside



I wanted to elaborate more on sneaks, and to slow the action down in order to achieve more subtlety. For this movement I still worked on 2s, but I undertook 17 frames, which gives a much slower more deliberate movement giving me more room to play. I wanted a strange lopsided sneak. A movement with one step is a classic sneakiness to the front of the body. This is counteracted by an over-reaching right leg which breaks in few places and and dislocates the hip in order to propel the character forward. The left leg is dragged as the torso is pulled up hence pulling the leg setting it ready for next step. So the main step is with the right leg and right arm, whilst left is slower reaction and mainly follows. Could be weighted figure, lameness or terrain feature, but it certainly makes for a more interesting movement. 

The figure itself is a mishmash of a 'human fish' (from the deepest cave in Europe-Slovenia) a c/f-line and a few other bits, just for the interest. The structure of the bones is mammalian throughout though. 

Thursday, 10 October 2013

62. Quadrupedal cartoony shuffle

After the complexity of (semi-realistic) walks of last few days today I've tried to create a cartoony shuffle. The character is a simple sack character and the movement is similar to HB cartoons. 

So very simplified in the body movement, something which would be aimed at pre-school with simplicity (and kawai). Though the legs are just little stick they move as they would if they were more complex, though I've kept only one joint on them. The head has a little bob, and the body has a small drag. A simple little character which is quickly animated without much of the 12 principles being utilised.


Wednesday, 9 October 2013

61. Quadrupedal reptilesprawl



Keeping it low and sneaky a reptile sprawl came my way. Reptiles have a somewhat different leg distribution than mammals. They are in a permanent type of sprawl as their hip bones, and shoulders consequently are positioned differently. 

They do have incredibly muscled bodies and strong tails which aid in balance and momentum. In the case of this figure, the front limbs are grabbing the ground in front while the back ones are being lifted but the body and stepping forward keeping balance with the side swing of the body. The whole movement is more complex than I managed to capture and I think I've only just scratched the surface when it comes to such reptiles. I'll definitely be coming back to this one. 

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

60. Quadrupedal bearwalk




What is the opposite of sneak. A freakin' bear that's what! So that is what I went with today. 

There are a few similarities with the sneak walk. Having watched a few polars go for a stroll (and I mean the real ones the not the carbonated drinks Gladiator and Aliens edition - though that would be an interesting and beatific project) I noted that their hind limbs are permanently erect while their from ones resemble a kind of sneak. For the purposes of propulsion along the slippery surface, and because they don't do much sneakiness the front limbs turn into a type of stomp/grasp of the surface. This relates the mass of the creature well and allowed it to speed whilst being levelled with its pray. This is achieved with an accent on each frontal push-off, whilst back legs will inevitably have flicking paws. (for snow cones and ice cream).


Monday, 7 October 2013

59. Quadrupedal sneakster




Understanding more of the quadrupedal walk cycle I've attempted a more complex motion. For this I used a canine body. The motion is that of a sneak. 

While sneaking for a biped involves tiptoeing and similar walking like an animal but on two limbs, the sneak cycle in a quadruped is rather different. The momentum comes from both ends. The front limbs are carefully placed in order to cover as much ground as possible. The hind legs propel the back and the body creating a worm like torso movement, as it contracts bending upwards and then expands expressing downwards. The head follows the shoulder line as the butt is always higher, allowing the figure to leap and have stored energy if so required. For this one I've tried to vary the speed of front limb movement in order to have a slow expression and a quick one in one walk. 

Friday, 4 October 2013

58. Quadrupedal hipster





I think I understand the four-legged movement a lot more. This time I wanted to do a study of a hip propulsion in a quadruped. For this I reverted back to a skeleton. 

It could be a canine, but could be easily a feline or another animal. The hip movement is representative of mammal, and a pawed creature at that. Hoofed and trotter animals have a different propulsion. The hips are powerfully swaying from side to side, leading with knees and the ankle and paw fall in after this. As soon as the foot reaches the floor the front paw is raised in a mirror mimic of the knee/elbow joint as forearms swing down at forty five degrees with foot propelling the motion and causing the other hip to come in to the side and the action is repeated henceforth. There is a small change in the spine as the main movement is lateral. This is reflected in a small bob of the head. 

Thursday, 3 October 2013

57. Quadrupedal lamedog




Wanting to solidify my understanding of the four legged cycle I stripped all the ingredients down to their basics. The Model I've needed up using is a very abstract dog (or an ant). I went ahead and animated it straight without any prep, just maiming for a discovery animation to happen as an experiment. Usually I have a concept/theme and then I work from key positions through key frames to accents and then I add any necessary in-betweens. This time as a visual memory exercise I animated straight through, the only desire to create a walk cycle. I ended up with a lopsided step and the back left leg has a stronger step indicating weakness or limp in the right. It reflects in the body and a crawl by the front limbs. So I've inadvertently animated a lame abstract canine.

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

56. Quadrupedal soft hominid


Firm yesterday. Soft today. I wanted to achieve and practise a fluid soft walk. The figure is almost stroking the ground as it glued through. In order to mix things up a bit and to prevent myself from becoming stale I chose a hominid figure. It could be a small monkey (I've avoided tails at this point; though they do add to the balance to some creatures other use it for communication purposes and it would detract from the main propulsion which I'm attempting to solidify).

The hind legs are raised high and the propulsion comes from it's hips. The front limbs are used for balancing as the entire chest bends down to take on the weight distribution. The front and hind paws are softly placed on the ground. Leading with the wrist at the front, and with the toes at the back, allowing for push off to happen with back of the foot-paw. 

Monday, 30 September 2013

55. Quadrupedal parade pooch


Expanding on the strut from last week I concentrated on the regalia of the character. I've used a canine model. The legs are stiffened and the action and movement has become more mechanic. Concentration is given on the feet being raised high in vertical lines and then dropped down as the body has moved forward. It increases the elegance which strut provides creating a 'horse-like' movement. 

The somewhat militaristic feel comes with the movement of the hips, and shoulders. As in military march the leg movement are stiff with either straight or bent knees but originating from the hip whilst the arms are swayed front and back from the shoulders. The same parade march is achieved with our canine figure here. The head has to be pointed high in order to give that ceremonial feel, otherwise it would be posturing.

Friday, 27 September 2013

54. Quadrupedal strut




Yesterday I've applied the softness of a abstract walk to a more realistic one. This time I wanted to firm things up a bit. For the figure I've used the similar form of a skeletal dog.

I've attempted to give a ceremonial strut that wouldn't look out of place in dog-shows. To represent this I've raised the 'elbow' joints on the up movement of the front legs. To counteract this the hind legs swing backwards giving the momentum grace. As the lifted front leg lingers in the air the paw is gracefully positioned and then softly placed onto the ground. The spine stretches but remains regally straight through the walk, reminiscing a military walk in a humanoid. The head has a small figure eight with a forward direction as the body propels it. 

Thursday, 26 September 2013

53. Quadrupedal soft walk


After the softness of yesterday I've applied the lessons learnt to a more complex realistic walk. I used a form of dog from the first animation and translated the soft movement through. 

The triple joints allow for smooth transition between ground level, as the third acts as toes/wrist. The head remains poised and due to the shoulder/ body twist during the walk the spine has one curvy ways throughout the walk. The whole expression gives this canine a light stroll in the park look, whilst remaining attentive to the entirety surroundings (as opposed to burying the nose in the smell trail). 

Wednesday, 25 September 2013

52. Quadrupedal soft pokewalk


Now that I've gotten more familiar with the physics of the four legged locomotion I'm having a non-reference play. To keep it simple and to concentrate on the forward propulsion I'm using a cartoony pokemon like character. 

The soft features and stumpy feet take away the complex triple joint manipulations of the four legged variety and use the physics of a realistic four legged walk into an abstract animal shape. The figure is bear/sloth like and the weight is somewhat equally distributed between the from and hind legs. Head is bobbing only slightly and has a distinct directional neck stretch (with addition of a sprawl and a shell this could become an amphibian) applies the figures shoulders are swaying with it's weight giving it some character and purposeful walk.

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

51. Quadrupedal human walk



Continuing on the quadrupedal study I decided to get down on all fours and try to see how our four legged cousins walk. 

This is very much a mammalian walk. I used a human figure and applied the dynamics of the four-legged locomotion from yesterday. Following that I've adjusted the position based on my own experience in order to understand the musculature and skeletal structure which powers such walk. In order to keep the momentum tip-toe walking is necessary and that accounts for the development of paws, hives etc. Similar is true with frontal limbs as an additional point of articulation allows for higher precision during the step. It is a kind of devolution to retrace the walking steps backwards and work on it from the understanding of a humanoid. Most of the back movement is in the waves of the spine and lower abdominal contraction in order to bring the hind legs closer. this accounts for strong and powerful hind legs in most quadrupeds. (there is some difference with reptilian sprawl but that will come later). 

Monday, 23 September 2013

50. Four legs good...


After compositing the bipedal walks and reviewing the lessons I threw myself into the world of four legged critters. A lot of wildlife programmes later I am ready to embark upon the stage two of my quest. The sam restrictions apply. I'm trying to keep a daily session to half an hour and concentrating on the dynamics, physics and character of the walk as opposed to smooth animation finish. Hence I'm keeping this one on two's as there will be more drawings than on last one. Then again, I'd like to think I've gotten much quicker then in the beginning. 

I will start with understanding how the quadrupedal walk works. To do this I'm animating a generic dog. I'm observing a video of a simple dog walk, checking up on some tutorials by R. Williams and just getting the overall movement and action correct. The minimum frames to achieve full-limited-animaton seems to be 10. That is two more than for the two-legged cycle already. I'm not sure whether this can be reduced any more without loosing the basics of the momentum. 

I've started with a skeletal walk. Just figuring out the dynamics. The push-off happens twice as it seems to be as a biped walking on fours. The back hips provide the main propulsion whilst the front limbs are mainly used as graspers and fine steerers. As the back leg lands the front limb on the same side raises. The walk has a lot less imbalances than the biped who continuously is trying to prevent a fall. As such the subtlety is the key in order to keep the illusion of motion intact. 

Then I fleshed the skeleton out. This has given much more subtlety and fluidity to the motion. So this is the basics of quadrupedal. I'm looking forward to increasing my understanding of this complex motion. 

Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The bipedal walk summery

I spent the last week summarising the walk cycles I achieved up to now. I composed them all in a longer animation where I could see the progression in skill as well as the thematic changes. This will conclude the current experiment of bipedal walk cycles. I have learned a lot and improved my animation skills as well as begun to understand the complex physics of walking. I have been preparing for the next step in my learning and from next week on I will be trying to master quadrupedal walk cycles. Adding another pair of legs is going to open another set of challenges. There will be simply more to draw, and as in the cycles I just finished, animation will be aimed at twos with primary goal in understanding and implementing the complex motions, weights and physics. Walk on!

Friday, 6 September 2013

48. 3D walk cycle



This time I have used what I have learnt in walking over these last ten weeks and applied it to model claymination. Claymination has become a lot more popular lately with a sprinkling going against the slick CGI movies in the Oscar battle. With studios like Laika aiming to get to the production schedule of Ghibli it seems bright lights for this technique. To make the model took a long time. Not as long as a virtual model but still fair amount. There is certain sensibility which tends to work better when it comes to pure claymination. This one is without armature (skeleton), so though it is bendier, the movements are limited by natural forces of gravity. On the other hand there is something magical about seeing real object move and 'hand' of the animator (in the form of finger marks). Initially the top animation was the first effort. The push off raises the beaky head and the character really crouches on the pass frame. However the walk is slow  and slumbering and lacks the snappiness of the drawn animation. The second film has some frames removed and extremes are left in to accent the walk. There is a rather different personality which comes between these two. I quite like the shadow movement as well. Maybe a future challenge. 

Thursday, 5 September 2013

47. unbalanced baby walk





Babies are mostly off balance when they walk. They use their arms to balance out and frequently loose balance and fall onto their hands. The large head has an immense amount of counter balance to the small body and undeveloped musculature which adds additional difficulty in their propulsion. 

The loss of balance on a leg raise is lengthened as the figure tries to recapture the momentum manoeuvring first body then the small arms in order to be able to step forward. This walk was challenging as its a bipedal walk which has elements of a quadrupedal due to the transitional walk cycle of someone learning the basics of walking on two feet through trial and error. The walk has 24 frames in total and is done on 2s. The accents are added to the leg raises and placement in-between in order to exaggerate the movement achieving a 'full limited animation' (Similar to Mitsuo Iso).

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

46. full on goofy walk



Summarising everything I learnt and inspired by re-watching old Disney cartoons I went ahead to achieve a more complex walk. (primarily Goofy) 

There are 24 frames in total and it's animated on 2s. The characters feet are placed all over the place and though there are no breaks in the limbs it creates a erratic expression of forward motion. The arms are position in a nonchalant swing maintaining the balance of the body at complex foot and knee twists which happen at the raise and placement of each foot. It is a happy walk as the leg is swung back and then joyously shaken towards the front placement, bending the foot itself in order to exaggerate the grip and toe/heel direction. the head is kept straight with a slight lean back. this mimics the torso as the lower abdomen is pulling on the upper crating locomotion. 

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