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. 

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

45. inverted goofy walk

In the spirit of Goofy and his oddball walks I wanted to try out something similar today. Goofy characters, and the namesake thereof generally walk with their feet inverted pointing inwards. This is a trait in quite a few fumetti by Magnus. (i.e.Alan Ford)

The inverted feet syndrome bring their own challenges. The walk becomes gawky similar to that of a bird as the feet are se in place scooping the ground inwards. In order to provide counterbalance to this arms are waived high keeping the figure just on balance. Another aspect to be explored in future would be of a goofier walk where the feet end up inverted, like having two left ones throughout the push of cycles and adding an element of randomness to it. A good example would be George (Goofy) learns to dance by Disney 1957. 

Monday, 2 September 2013

44. torso swing-arm swingier

Expanding on the arm swinging from last time I decided to exaggerate the whole movement. I swung the whole toss from side to side. It is inevitable that in this movement the shoulders will create pivotal points especially as the arms are pivoting loosely from them. 

The shoulder line and the hip line create an antagonistic relationship as the legs are propelling the figure forward. In order to achieve this study I started by doing a leg cycle of a simple forward optimistic stroll. To this I added torso, initially without arms in order to create the swing and the sway of the body twisting the waistline as the hips cycle. Finally the arms were added keeping the movement loose and springy in both of them. Head is following the chest line through the walk.