Monday, 16 December 2013

96. Quadrupedal Dölf the Christmas horse

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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



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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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


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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

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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

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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

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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

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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!

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