Quick question for anyone who animates...


I’ve recently started doing serious animation, but it takes HELL OUT OF a long time just to do a simple animation such as a walk.

I am just wondering how long it took you people out there to do your first walk cycle, ball bounces, etc. It took me a whole day to animate my walk cycle (second attempt). Do you people think this is too slow?

By the way, have any of you been in front of the monitor too long to tell if the motions look right or not (I think that’s what I am having at time)? What do you do then?


Dont matter what other people think or how fast someone else is, im sure youve heard this, but the more you practise the faster and better you will get. and when i say practise i mean sit there everyday and animate, analyze it, Id also recomend drawing from life a lot, especially human gesture drawings, it will help you understand movement better.

when you cant tell what youre doing is right or wrong because youve been sitting too long, take a break. give your eyes a rest, go outside , draw, do whatever.

and a whole day is not that slow for a second attempt. im sure at any studio or job youd have to be faster (depending where you work)


good walk cycles (and I mean GOOD) are very difficult… I find them the hardest thing to animate, as opposed to a specific action in a shot… which is really, much much more interesting and fun. :slight_smile:


jnglemeat - Thanks for that. It makes me feel a bit better. :beer:
Yeah! When I am in front of the screen too long, I usually draw.

I never went to life drawing classes and I am always wondering whether we can learn it ourself just by drawing people in the park and pets around the house. Or should I actually go to life drawing classes and get supervised as I draw?

Jason - Oh! I didn’t know that a good walk cycle is one of the hardest thing to animate. I always thought that it’s the most fundamental animation that beginners ought to do because a lot of other character motions are based on it such as sneak, run, etc. Thanks for this information! :thumbsup:

Thanks again people! :scream:


The reason really GOOD walk cycles are tough is because you have to get so much character into the walk… and honestly, they’re not as much fun as doing a true shot. Then again, they’re great practice in terms of getting the character of a character down, if you know what I mean. :hmm:



Hey Jason, I just got your Fast Rig DVD and watched it the moment I had it in my little paws.

I love you man, but I can’t believe you let the monkey destroy the PC. . … :smiley:


Originally posted by Lunatique

I love you man, but I can’t believe you let the monkey destroy the PC. . … :smiley:


I had to… It was originally made for a demo for Apple… but it wasn’t used, and I happened to be working on the DVD talk at the same time, so I figured… might as well use it… :slight_smile:



Hey people,

Walk cycles are the hardest thing i find, just phsically to get right, also they got to be techniquely correct and show character. Ive done biped/quadraped walks/run jumps etc and when i first stated i took me about an 2 - 3 days a cycle and a bad one at that. Now it takes me about half a day to get one finished. As Jason says, doing actual shots is what i love doing, and when i did my first short the first scene about 30 secs long, took a whopping 3 months eeek!! now i’ll do a shot in about 4-7 days.



jason - Yeah… you’re right. I am kind of getting sick of walk cycles now (but I know… the BASICS are important). Mmmm… “getting the character of a character down”… interesting… I getcha! Thanks for your help! :scream:

eek - Your first walk cycle took you 2 to 3 days! I understand why it’s taking you so long. After I worked on my walk cycle for a whole day, I am still not so happy about it.

I am just curious, is a quadraped character harder to animate than biped character?

By the way, I find that my animation is somewhat effected if I have a badly rigged character which was the problem I had with my first model. After some animation tests, I often had to go back and refine the rig to ease (i.e. streamline) my animation process. This iterative process is awfully long… :rolleyes:

Thanks for the reply all. :scream:


Hey chepe297,

Ive done around 40 walks and about 15/20 run cycles so now its only takes about half a day. When i first did quadrapeds it was very very hard. Quadraped walks are like 2 bipeds stuck together half a step out. I personally find quadrapeds easier as all feet are on the ground. Bideds have arms so you need to keep them alive.

Rigging is half the work personally. I generally have one base rig and then on each shot/walk add controllers where needed. But the rig is key to give you controll, my general rule is to keep things seperate i.e hip,chest, head but also have main controls upper body/lower body etc.



eek - thanks for the info, but can you elaborate on “my general rule is to keep things seperate i.e hip,chest, head but also have main controls upper body/lower body etc.” I am not too good at rigging and is a bit lost here…

For my rig, everything is parented to the hip. By the way, I am using 3DS MAX 4. I heard that there is a tool called “spline IK” in MAX 5. I don’t know much about it. How useful is that tool? I saw that IK Joe Spline IK demonstration in pepeland. For a human character, is spline IK only applied to the spine? :rolleyes:

Thank again for your help in advance. Sorry about all these questions eek, but I see that you are pretty good at rigging (from other thread), that’s why I really want to ask you these questions. :scream:


hey chepe297,

Ok so my system that i try to put into my rigs, is to keep things seperate. i.e hips, chest, head. So if you move the chest the hips and head stay seperate. But to also have a controls layered onto which control big parts i.e hip/chest/head and chest/head. You then dont need to worry about the neck or parts of the spine.

Spline ik in maya is exellent, xsi has the isner spine which is amazing, max 5 has spline ik but i find it a tad flaky. Basically it constraines a set of bones onto a spline, so you control it with the bezier points.(smoother controll)

check this out a must for rigging help!


eek - Thanks for answering my questions and thanks again everyone!



I agree, one day is not too long. Specially when you’re learning. Different companies have different expectations of how long it will take you to complete a shot. It usually depends on the budget of the production combined with the format (movie, game or tv). I’m working on a TV series right now and I aim for 25 sec’s a week.

If you’re having trouble judging your motions there’s a few things you could do. ( after that nice refreshing walk outside that is…) You could ask someone to look at it. Even “non-animators” can tell when something looks unnatural, or you could post it here, or you could try playing it backwards.

Now I want to see your walk cycle :wink:


Thanks Ripley. You can see my walk cycle in my website. Now I am currently working on different motions such as pciking up heavy stuff, sneak, run, climb, etc. Thanks again.


Hi Chepe. Checked out the walk cycle that you have on your site. It’s working.

To polish it would be to stagger the keys of the arms and hands so they don’t look stiff (animation principle #10: overlap). I’m not too sure about the bow leggedness of your character (from the front view). Good effort though.

Don’t worry about about how fast you make your cycles. Focus more on the mechanics, and for sure you’ll get efficient eventually. A studio trick for walk cycles and for animating figures and creatures would be to use good reference. A mirror helps, but a video recording is actually more convenient and effective.


Thanks you for visiting my site and my animation Pinoy McGee.

Overlapping on the arm and hand? You mean successive break in joints from shoulder to elbow then wrist. I actually did a bit of that, but I guess I need to enhance it more. :scream:

Yeah, you’re right. My brother too, didn’t actually like the the bow leggness. He said, “your character looks as if though he is constipated!!!” :stuck_out_tongue:

Thanks for the advices. I’ll take note on that next time I do my animations. Thanks again Pinoy McGee! :beer:


I agree with what’s being said here. One day for a walkcycle (a good one, I mean) is not too long at all. Walk cycles are one of the hardest things to do in animation. However there’s so many things inside a walkcycle, so many things to learn.

Sometimes you have to stand in front of the monitor watching your animation again and again, sometimes you decrease the playback rate to find the flaws until you go crazy. And sometimes you have to forget about your animation for a week, then come back and watch it again and realize how bad it is!


You guy’s pretty much hit it on the nail with this one! Don’t fret man as I am going through the same thing also. I just try to animate everyday as to get better at it. I also have all the major 3d animated movies on dvd and always watch them with the volume off and playback at half the speed. It’s a good practice and helps me out alot in understanding motion and the like.


Frinsklen - “And sometimes you have to forget about your animation for a week, then come back and watch it again and realize how bad it is!”

You are sooo right on this one! :beer:

3rdDimension - Thanks for the feedback and the tips. :scream: