View Full Version : Elephant walk cycle

01 January 2005, 05:19 AM
Hi there,

I'm trying to animate a realistic elephant walk in Lightwave. I still think it doesn't look realistic enough but I'm unsure why. I didn't do the model and rig, I'm just animating it.

Can anyone give me some feedback or suggestions?

Here are links to quicktimes of the side and camera views.

- Loressa.

01 January 2005, 07:47 AM
It looks good, but you should watch out for the right leg behind when it goes straight. Maybe you should put a bit of bend in the leg because the leg seems to break behind the knee. And try lowering the center of gravity a bit because the elephant should go up and down a bit when it walks.
Good work,

01 January 2005, 05:50 PM
Well, I'm no pro, but here's my observations:

1. The steps seem a little too syncopated. Maybe have the feet stay bent a hair longer before the foot comes down. Slight delay when the foot comes down, maybe.

2. Maybe a little shoulder roll.

3. A little more side to side with the hips.

4. Needs a little more feeling of weight, I think.

I think the steps themselves look very accurate. What did you use as a reference? Did you cycle first? I have a huge dino that I want to use an elephant walk cycle for but have yet to find something usable.

Just my 2 cents...

01 January 2005, 06:36 PM
I totally agree with what Bobzilla had to say, overall your timing looks decent, except maybe quicken the in and out curves on the steps juuuuust a tad. Think bouncing ball.

Hip and shoulder sway is going to do a whole lot for you also. Add them, and remember, usually the hips and shoulders point opposite each other during a walk.

Also, I noticed some back leg snap, where the leg pops into place really hard when the elephant is stepping. This is due to the IK limit, so try and drop the entire elephant (hips and shoulders) during the walk. You may only have to do this just a little bit, but it should eliminate the popping in the legs.

Hope this helped!

01 January 2005, 06:27 AM
I've fixed the leg pop by lowering the elephant and added some weight to the rear feet by giving the back body Null a Y bounce to the steps. Also, looking at some real elephant references I noticed that the rear legs are actually quite stiff at the ankle so I'm currently changing that.

Thanks guys!

- Loressa

01 January 2005, 12:55 PM
Thanks guys for your help.

I've done some more work on the elephant animation and have done the following things to help it. I've added bounce to the rear feet using the Body Master Null at the back and reduced the front bounce. I've also stiffened up the back legs and given them a better swing by adjusting the in curve instead of adding more frames. I've also lowered the elephant a touch to remove that leg pop.

Thanks guys for noting the detail of the walk and legs popping etc - I've used your comments.

Iv'e uploaded the latest movies for you to see:



01 January 2005, 01:13 PM
loressa, your link doesn't seem to be working. Even to your main site.

01 January 2005, 02:49 PM
OK. Maybe it was me, but the site is up now!

Looks good. Not to be picky, but maybe a little snap in the foot as it falls. Like that last second before the foot straightens out and hits the ground might should be a liitle quicker, heel first, not so flat.

And maybe just a little more side to side hip movement, not more in the shoulder are, just kind of the back hips.

What did you use as the actual stepping reference? The steps look great.

Aain...I may be getting picky...

01 January 2005, 05:26 PM
Looking good.

My main crit is the way the front legs (don't) carry the weight.

The hind legs look fine - they seem to carry the weight, and push the body up when they stretch.

But the front part of the elephant seems to be hovering, and the legs just brush the ground as it passes by. They need to carry the weight more, I think.

Hope this is helpful. (I'm not a character animator, so take my advice for what it is :) )

- Jonas

01 January 2005, 07:47 PM
i think the elephant looks a bit light.
to indicate more weight the feet should be straight just when they touch the ground, then bend a little to absorb weight, then straighten again in the passing position.
downward movement should be faster than upward movement.

01 January 2005, 07:58 PM
Looking much much better. But I'd agree with everyone else about the sense of weight...perhaps have the whole body drop and rise during the walk, maybe more sway, to indicate the mass of the elephant. Otherwise, you're looking good! =D

01 January 2005, 02:52 PM
I think you've done a great job. I do agree with ZephyrStar and think the animation would be much more realistic with the body shifting up and down a bit in order to show the tremendous weight of the animal.

01 January 2005, 03:38 PM
I like the non-linear aspects like the head rolls and the ears flapping, but the walk lacks weight imho...

elephants are cumbersome and heavy...very awkward creatures...maybe make the walk more uneasy and not in such a straigh line??

aside from that, great job...quadrapeds are so hard imho.


01 January 2005, 07:34 PM
Like everyone has said, because there is limited downward motion, or a recoil position, there is no weight. Do you own "The Animator's Survival Kit" by Richard Williams or any other 2D animation book? Or look on-line for a 2D walk cycle as these references will illustrate your basic poses in a walk cycle. Contact, recoil, passing, contact, recoil, pass, etc. They are same for both a biped and quadriped cycle. The time between your contact and recoil should only be a few frames, and these frames are responsible for giving your character weight.

Keep moving!


01 January 2005, 09:20 PM
great job, maybe a little more of a lumber, a slight sway from side to side, more weight.

01 January 2005, 08:13 PM
I realise you didn't do the model and rig but looking at an Elephant Skeleton might help with the feel of it and help to work out how to improve the animation. Here's one I just scanned. (

As the other guys mentioned the shoulders and hips don't seem to be moving quite enough. It seems a bit dainty.

I'm trying to animate a cow at the moment so appreciate what a tough job it is. So far you're doing a great job. The movement of the ears and trunk is very natural.

01 January 2005, 09:09 PM
Hey there loressa,
I was told once by a friend who went on safari in Africa, that Elephants would come right up to their tents at night without making a sound. I guess what that means is that they kind of glide along
I dont know if I would agree with some of the comments/crits so far, I think this is very well done. The best advise I can think of is to use actual reference. I did a quick search and found a bunch.

good work!

01 January 2005, 09:51 PM
That's a darn good example.

Look how the head and the shoulders bob UP AND DOWN OPPOSITE of each other. That'll fix things, I think.

- Jonas

01 January 2005, 09:53 PM
One thing that stuck out to me from the animation joel3d posted is the movement of the sholders which I feel would make your animation top notch if implemented.

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