For People Crazy About 2D Animation!

Acme Punched! is for people crazy about 2D animation. It may be enjoyed by beginners and others, but it is aimed at animators who know already something about the process of animation and the basics of character animation. In large part, it will attempt to provide a deep look into the problem solving that goes on in my head as I work out a scene, often in step-by-step posts that I will sometimes enter in "real time", without knowing in advance what the outcome will be. Mistakes and false starts will not only be included but emphasized, so that the creative process of animation will be portrayed realistically. And, while my own bias is for 2D drawn animation, many of the effects and principles discussed here can apply to CGI 3D animation as well. I hope the blog will prove useful and instructive for all.

-Jim Bradrick

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

No. 58, A Walk Cycle for Albert, Part One: The Brief

If you have been following this blog at all, or if you go back now and look at some of my previous posts, you would have seen or will see a lot of my two human characters, a man and woman I call Albert and Victoria.

The long sequence I have been detailing for the blog has them facing each other, mostly standing in place.  But there are other planned scenes in which Albert is doing a lot of walking.  Mostly when he is walking, he is encumbered by a heavy burlap sack of grain under one arm.  Sometimes the full-grown goose is being carried under the other arm.

An early concept drawing of Albert walking.

Now that I am at the actual point of animating his walk, I want to pull together all the thoughts I have had about it as I worked with Albert in other ways.

Here is what I know about Albert and his walk:

  • He is a big man, overweight but solid rather than soft, and he is very strong.  
  • The sack of grain may weigh 100 pounds [45 kg] but it is not too much for Albert to carry under one arm.
  • He has miles to walk, so his walk will be deliberate and measured; something he can maintain over a long period of time.
  • He does not mind hard work, so to walk a long way with such a load does not in any way make him unhappy, and he is by nature a cheerful and optimistic man.

This is the kind of thinking that should go into the planning of any animation, but sometimes novice animators forget this when it comes to walks.  They think, I'll just sit down and animate my character walking, because they want to see it, but there really should not be any such thing as an all-purpose walk.  If a character is crossing a room, it is for some reason.  It will affect his or her posture, as well as the speed and style of the walk. His entire state of mind is important, too; whether he is in haste, is anxious or relaxed, is fearful or self-confident, is fatigued or energetic.

Perhaps a walk must be done even more carefully than non cyclic animation because it is a cycle and will be seen in repitition, giving the viewer time to study it that is not the case with a one-off.

I have been thinking about Albert's trekking walk a long time, and now I am ready to animate it.

Next: Choosing the Best Point of View for Designing the Walk

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