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.