Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Walk this way!

Hi everyone! i took me a little while, but as promised here's the tutorial on a walk. It took me some time to get this one done for ya'll, i started teaching at CalArts this week. It's been a fun so far, but a lot of work and prep time. It's only helpful really. It forces you to make sure that what you think is right is really right. Cuz if you show them how to do something wrong then it'll come back to bite you in the butt later.
anyway, i chose a natural relaxed sort of walk to do for you guys. There are more than one method for planning a walk but the one that seems to work best for me is starting with your contact poses (key number 1 and 13). It's a dynamic way to start you walk. Starting with the "down" or the "up" is difficult and an akward way to start a walk. Art Babbit did it that way, and it worked for him but i find that for me the contact is much easier to understand. The second thing to think about is your beats and tempo. Mark on your x-sheet how fast you think he/she should be going. generally one step on a relaxed walk is 12 frames long. Which is more difficult to do because it means trickier charts. but we want what's best right? If you have less time than you'd like, you could put the walk on 16's so you could use 2's but then your walk is going to become a bit labored looking.
So anyway, I start with the contact drawings... you can either then put in the down or the up drawing. I find that i like to put the down in first... not sure why, maybe cuz i feel like i need to see that weight down first before i can do the up. anyway, once your up's and downs are in (key's 4 and 10) then you put your break down inbetween 4 and 10. This is KEY! it's ALL in the breakdowns! you can change everything in your walk by simply altering your break down, for good or worse. in this case i played it naturally. I tend to treat that breakdown drawing like a 3rd favoring the up. ya know? It gives more time in the up, and less time on the down which gives weight to the character.

Now the tricky part about walks is that you have 2 sets of charts. Your horizontal path and your vertical. Your Horizontal, meaning the distance length wise he walks should always be even. 100 percent! Even steven...
But your vertical charts are quite different... you can check out how these charts parrallel the drawing, but note that the last inbetween in a slow in or slow out is always on a 3rd in this case. As i've said before this isn't necessarily always the way it needs to be, but when your stopping and starting constantly like you are in a walk this IS the way to go. The reasoning for the 3rds is because if you put it as an even you would have even space inbetween your second to last inbetween and your key. That's very very bad when you are trying to convey weight.

Well, i hope that satisfy's every for a little while! I'm having fun doing these so i hope you all are still enjoying reading them. what i gave you today is more a template... because obviously there's a whole other element to walks that i DID NOT cover and that's character. This is a base template of understanding in which YOU need to caricature off of once you understand it. It's like, Picasso didn't start doing abstract (essentially caricature) until he knew how to accurate draw things. same is true here.

10 comments:

Aaron said...

Forgive my ignorance, but how do the vertical chart's you've drawn here, work?

Do the vertical charts plot the character's head movement on a vertical axis? How does the vertical chart map to the horizontal chart, and thus to the key frames? Or are they totally unrelated?

Matt Williames said...

They are unrelated-- there really is no such thing as a horizontal or vertical chart (officially). It's just the word i used that best described what it was describing. Vertical just means up and down of the body. The Horizontal just means the forwad motion of the body. make sense??

Jeremy said...

Really great work you have up here Matt. I enjoy reading your notes and it's nice to know there are people who are commited to traditional animation.

On the monkey test, maybe a little more squash and antic before the jump would help push the timing. Right now the beats are fairly even and it would be nice maybe to add a little texture there. Depends of course on what you're going for with that shot. Take care man, and I look forward to seeing more of your stuff!

sketchboy said...

awesome demo. i graduated a little while ago and have been focusing on straight illustration, but this makes me want to dive right back into animation. great blog, i check it daily. keep up the awesome work, very inspiring.

Matt Williames said...

Thank guys! (Jeremy and sketchboy)... Jeremy, thanks for the input! I was trying to keep the momentum moving which is why the squash on the down seems quick, i think once it's all inbetweened and spaced properly it'll make more sense. or maybe i'll be wrong and want to add 2 inbetweens?
sketchboy- where did you graduate from?

Sinerco said...

Thanks for sharing your notes.
I will be drawing on you now as well as Craig Harris for some inspiration to get my own 2d stuff going,so keep posting and sharing.

Jason C said...

ahh nice notes.. Nice to see how someone else goes about doing walks. I use a pretty similar way myself.. The thing that kinda sucks with working for tv is the character of a walk.. alot of times I'm asked to make it generic so it can be used as a base for all the characters.. Hooray for everybody being the same!! ;)

Keep up the notes.. they're great.. i hope you get into more advance stuff.. That'd be really interesting..

Matt Williames said...

Jason C- i plan on definately getting into more advanced stuff eventually, i've just gotten certian requests that i've been trying to fulfill AND teaching at night at CalArts has run me a little wragged! but stay tuned and thanks for checking in!

Mark Borok said...

The most crucial thing I learned about walks (from the Richard Williams book) is not to animate the character walking in place. For years I animated characters walking in place and then moved them across the background (easiest thing to do on the computer). It screws you up badly. I can't believe it took me so many years to find out. Maybe because I never had extensive character animation training.

Being as I use Flash to animate, I like to make a "dummy" symbol (a circle or other shape) and animate that on a separate layer as a stand-in for some part of my character, such as the head. That way I can get the arc of motion and timing of that crucial part just right and move on from there. This is where the computer can be such a great learning tool, because you can really tweak your timing.

Of course the drawback is that you end up animating your character piecemeal, instead of as a whole. I only do it after I have roughed in the key poses and generally staged the action.

Matt Williames said...

yep, your right... Dick has excellent stuff on walks. he a master teacher-- oh, and animator