Cartoon Boy - Walkcycle


Hi, I’m currently working on a walkcycle in Maya for an animated short.
It’s about a boy walking in a city enviroment, humming along with a song on his headset (not present yet)

New, faster link:

Advices needed…

Martin K



to be honest, this cycle needs a lot of work (on a side note, for crit of a cycle it isn’t necessary to create such a long and large movie - just render the cycle and we can watch it on loop). the most obvious problem is the speed. it’s very slow. secondly, the character lacks weight. thirdly there is no secondary motion (ie: arms, hands).

walk cycles are tricky…there is a lot of stuff going on at the same time. i suggest taking a look through ‘the animator’s survival kit’. there are lots of great examples of walks, runs, sneaks and jumps that i think will help you improve your animating.



Thanks for your reply, moonsafari.

Here’s another walkcycle (2,2 MB)

Martin K



unfortunately, it doesn’t appear that much has changed in this version. all of the problems that i mentioned above are still present. the timing is still very slow. the arms are rigid and there is still a general lack of weight. here is a walk that i did a long time ago. it’s by no means great…but i think it illustrates what is involved.


hope it is of some help…


moonsafari, thanks for your help

Here’s yet another update.


For a start, try taking the keys for the arm motion in your dope sheet and moving them back a few frames so they don’t max out right when the feet do. It also looks like alot of your motion, such as the movement of the legs is in one axis, see how it looks if you have him placing his feet more toward the center of his body each time he brings them back to the front. Also try this for the hand placement, start more infront of the body and swing to the side instead of staying at the side for the whole arm swing.



i would really consider giving this walk another go. i think at this point is is probably easier to just use the one you’ve done as a learning lesson and start a new one from scratch. but first i would look at some reference. find some good clips, watch people around you, look in some books or online. as i mentioned above ‘the animator’s survival kit’ contains a lot of great stuff that will help you.

focus on the basics…weight, timing, secondary motion. once you’ve got those then you can try adding some personality.


hi martin,
the things that have been said by moosfari and kevin are good words of advise. have you ever animated traditionally? with a pencil? look at films like the old disney masterpieces, 101 dalmations, pinnocchio, peter pan, jungle book. the nine old men basically wrote the book on beautiful feature animation. and remember that just because you are animating in 3d doesn’t mean that your character is a robot. we need to feel like this character is a cartoon, more squash and stretch and exaggeration rather than relying only on the limits of joints and IK.
are you an aspiring animator? you mentioned that your character will be walking through different environments. are environments your main interest? i ask this because the last thing that studios want to see on your reel are walk cycles. they want to see good acting, dialogue and a sense of the basic principles of animation, weight, squash and stretch, anticipation…
hope this helps.


Thanks for your replies, guys. This is not for a showreel. It’s for a tiny story that includes a walkcycle. It’s my first serious atempt of a walkcycle and the purpose is learning, so I’m really happy for your c&c.

Here’s another cycle:

Martin K


this is looking much better. one thing that you should always avoid is popping IKs. what I mean is don’t let the IK in the legs ever become fuly extended so that the leg is completly stretched, this causes all knee rotation to stop as well as the arc of the legs. check the rotation of his upper body as it relates to his hips, his balance seems a bit off, you could probably offset the timing on the arms a bit more from the legs as well, maybe two frames.
good job man, you are getting better.


(This is in response to Lombardo’s comment not in response to this animation.)

In regards to Lombardo’s comment of companies not wanting to see walk cycles on demo reels, I think that really depends on the studio. I have specifically been asked to do walk cycle tests by prospective employers and the creator of Earthworm Jim told me that game companies very often want to see walks because a lot of what you animate in games are the characters getting from place to place.

I agree that you want to really show your ability to act on a reel and a reel should go well beyond just walks, but I think it’s wrong to separate acting from the idea of a walk. A lot of acting can be shown through a walk. I’m curious as to other people’s thoughts on this.

Also I’m not trying to attack Lombardo’s opinion as it is valid and I see what he’s saying. Just offering my two cents.


You mentioned that this was your first serious attempt at a walk cycle. Often it is best to just start over and do a lot of walk cycles to get good at them rather then tyring to endlessly tweak your work. So if your goal is to be a great animator my advice would be to call it a day on this and do some more walks. And don’t just do the same walk over and over, do different types of walks focusing on the character your trying to portray and their emotions and state of mind, age, physical health, etc., etc. etc. Act them out many times before starting and think of what parts of the walk are prominant and what aspects of movement dominate that particular walk.

If your goal is to get this particular clip looking less robotic then you have already got a lot of good advice that I would take to heart. I would stress that you want to twist and sway the shoulders and hips. Traditionally the shoulders will twist to favor the arm that’s out and the hips will twist to favor the leg that’s out. The hips will sway to favor the leg that is up and the shoulders sway to oppose the hips.

When you get confident with the basics you will want to get real creative and start moving past what’s written in books, but for now I recommend you check out Richard Williams “The Animator’s Survival Kit” and you can check out Preston Blaire’s book which is available for free online at Once you have basic walks down, remember no two people walk alike so be creative and have fun!


Thanks for all your advices and contructive critique.

Richard Williams quote Ken Harris in his book: “A walk is the first thing to learn…cause walks are about the toughest thing to do right”…so I was thinking, ‘OK, if I learn how to do a walkcycle, then at the same time I will learn about weight, balance, spacing and a lot more of the basics of character animation’.

I think you have a point, Sean, about maybe let it go and do other kinds of walks. But. I feel I’m getting better (maybe it’s just me) and I want to see how good I can get it. This walk is for the main character in a short story, about a boy walking on a pavement, and there will be a lot of extras passing by him. The plan is to all kind of walks with the extras, a sexy girl, an old man, an important businessman and so on.

I’ve found that, just keep on doing it, is a great way for me to learn. I’ve read the animators survival kit, but still I have to try it out, get feedback from you guys, try again and again and again, and get a feeling about what works and what don’t.

I still have long way to go, but your feedback is helping me alot, so please keep commenting. :slight_smile:

Here’s another walk:

Martin K


Here’s a late update on my walkcycle:

Please comment.

Martin K


Hi there, do you have the “Animator Survival Kit”?. If you interested in doing a decent walkcycle I would firmly advice you to buy it. You will find breakdowns of different WC. What you have now lacks of weights, secondary motion, and appeal…


Thanks for your advices

Here’s a new walkcycle:

Martin K


This thread has been automatically closed as it remained inactive for 12 months. If you wish to continue the discussion, please create a new thread in the appropriate forum.