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volume 1, issue 22

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Thinking Outside the Box:
Walking the Walk

By Paul "Villam" Steed

Looking at frames 4/5 and 11/12 you notice the feet are at the nadir (opposite of apex word?) and are basically through the floor. These are where we set our next key frames.

Let's go to frame 4 and turn the right foot so it’s planted firmly on the ground and raise the body so the foot actually rests on the ground plane. We raise the left foot up slightly so there’s a break at the knee, but don’t rotate it yet. Going to frame 5, same kinda action. Next comes frames 11 and 12 where we do the same sort of thing with the other leg(s).

So our voluptuous and smart Shauna is pretty close to walkin’ the walk. Her stride’s probably a tad too long for in-game animations but hey this ain’t a game now is it? So basically you’ve got the lion’s share of the work out of the way. Now we simply go frame by frame rotating the foot so the bottom is planted with the proper relationship to the ground and raise the whole body up so the foot rests on the floor line.

click to view walk1.avi
Click to view walk1.avi (111k)

So I go through and tweak the steps and decide her stride bugs me since she’s bobbing up and down pretty drastically. Not that’s necessarily a bad trait for our model…bobbing…er never mind. So basically this realization plays into why we jumped around initially to set up the gross motions. You see the trick is to let the computer do most of the work with you just coaxing it along. That’s the beauty of CG animation. So we need to strip out all the keyframes except for the main ones: 0, 1, 4, 5, 8, 11, 12, and 15. Then we shrink her stride length by sliding the front foot back and back foot forward at frames 1 and 8 copying frame 1 to 15 again. Notice the motion blur I applied to her arms only.

click to download walk2.avi
Click to view walk2.avi (109k)

Ah, much better. The shorter gait gives the flow of her animation a more natural look. I also gave her arms a bit of a break at the elbow at frame 3 and frame 10 (2 frames each after the arm is fully extended). As an added bonus I put a very slight bending back at the waist as she steps through her tallest position. This emphasizes the act of coming down to plant her front foot and gives her a little more character.

(Continued on next page)


Credits: Thinking Outside the Box logo illustrated and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Thinking Outside the Box is © 1999 Paul Steed. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't even try it. We've got really big guns, and we're ripped, baby.