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. 

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