View Full Version : Beginner asking for advice

09 September 2009, 11:22 AM
Hello everyone!

Im hoping some of you talented people can and will give me some advice on how to move on from where im stuck.

I know the very basics of maya in terms of navigation and tools, but not the tricks and way of thinking since Ive worked with 3dsmax for architechtual stills and industry animations for the last two years, but now its time to try something different... Character animation in maya!

I have ordered "animators survival kit" (havnt got it yet, few days hopefully) and I have started my first serious walkcycle, and this is where Id like your advice. (12mb)

This is where I am now and im a bit out of knowlegde and ideas on how to improve it, because im sure there is a lot work to do still.

Thanks in advance guys!

- Thomas

09 September 2009, 04:41 PM
Hello everyone!

I have ordered "animators survival kit" (havnt got it yet, few days hopefully)

That's a great resource, maybe the best in a single book. Although to look at it it seems to be about drawing, it's really about posing which is as good for 3D as it is for 2D.

and I have started my first serious walkcycle, and this is where Id like your advice.

If character animation is your goal, start way simpler. A walk is actually an advanced topic. Learn to do a great bouncing ball, because almost everything in body mechanics originates from that.

then do a simple character making one broad jump.

and so on...

but i'll make one observation on your walk...

He's dropping into the "compression" pose after the heel strike too fast. That pose happens not because the character intentionally crouches down but only because his weight is trying to continue down (momentum and all that) from having fallen forward into each new foot contact position.

So he's not going to fall faster once his foot hits the ground (and therefore can support him and stop him from falling more) but his mass will actually slow down from that point until he bottoms out and starts back up again.

Since he didn't fall very far from his peak into the foot contact pose, he wont' "follow thru" much farther to his compression pose. If you really want him to squash that much he's got to peak higher.

This is not an uncommon error. It's very similar to the mistake people make in squashing a bouncing ball too much/too fast when it hits the ground. Learn that bouncing ball!

I made some videos on posing walks ( for some people I was coaching. They're not a complete guide, but you may find them helpful.

Good looking character!

09 September 2009, 05:44 PM

Thanks a lot dude! I will look into it! And defernetly try out that ball animation and look into the material you posted.

Edit: And yeah the charater is awesome, not mine though! I got it from, very good rig for learning i think.

09 September 2009, 06:39 PM
I just tried to reduce the compression and strech a bit and make the eyebrows rotate a bit too.

09 September 2009, 08:56 PM
Not sure if anyone is following this or is actually interested, heh I hope because im stuck again.

I tweaked a bit here and there, worked on the antennas and such

There is a jigg or lag when it lifts the foot still and i can't seem to figure how to fix it, what part is moving wrong :/

Feel free to bid in!


09 September 2009, 07:11 AM
Well, I still think he's squashing too much for as little as he's falling from. He's definitely doing a hyper-squash after the left foot hits.

One other walk thing... you can loosen the foot up by lagging the toe a bit as the lifted foot is pulled from back to front.

I also think he's leaving his heel on the ground too long at the back of the foot travel. At the back of the foot travel he can show force by pushing off with his toe but that straight rigid foot that is just nicking the ground

09 September 2009, 08:12 AM
Hey, thanks.. hmm I think I see what you mean about the bend foot, it should bend way earlier. I will look into it.

Also realized from your video that my center of timing in terms of changing from one leg to another was off, I think now it happens roughly 50% though the frames, and from your video material it clearly shows it more like 75% of the frame time it takes to get the back foot half the way towards front.

09 September 2009, 07:52 PM
One other thing... it's a pretty slow walk. Not that that's illegal. It could happen. On a giant or an old person.

But when we were doing plain vanilla walks at AnimationMentor they had us doing them on a 1 second cycle. That's a typical pace.

A slow pace exposes all the sins.

09 September 2009, 08:22 PM
So if i understand you right... 12 frames per step ? making the full walkcycle go for the 24 frames?

09 September 2009, 04:59 PM
So if i understand you right... 12 frames per step ? making the full walkcycle go for the 24 frames?


In Richard WIlliams' Book he starts off with 8 frames per step. That's because 8 can always be repeatedly subdivided by 2 and 12 can't.

09 September 2009, 05:56 PM
I see, I just got the book today actually I will start reading it and redo the walk with the fewer frames to see how that works :) thanks so far

10 October 2009, 10:27 AM
Hey everyone! hope you got a minute again.

I finally got the time to do this right again, I remade it from scratch and retimed it to 12 frames per step. personally I think it worked out pretty well (but what do I know :P ) but please let me know if there is anyone of you are spotting something which just jumps in your eyes, like "a common beginner mistake" or so :)

here we go:

thanks a lot.

- Thomas

10 October 2009, 10:12 PM
Here's the first one I notice...

his vertical motion looks like he's hitting a ceiling and stopping as in "a" rather than a nice up and down as in "b"

10 October 2009, 09:55 PM
hi i saw your animations i don't like the feet ... i think that the back foot detach from the ground to early , personally i don't love the "slap" movement of the feet but should be a particular style of walking !
I thin that there isn't enough weight in your animation
another thing i don't like the fixed position of the eyes

10 October 2009, 09:28 PM
Thanks for the comments everyone!

Im pretty pleased with it now, I have given it more weight during shift between feet and evened out the movement of the steps.

Hope you agree :)


10 October 2009, 11:47 PM
oh this is better! one thingh don't keep the eye controller in the same place for all the animation , and try to add a bit of follow through at the tip of the feet

10 October 2009, 11:50 PM
and also the eye brows in the second down pos are wrong the go down fisrt of the body

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