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.