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Back to AnimationWell I certainly had some fun this past week. Having gotten the animatic for Sequence 3 of my film in pretty good shape, I decided it was time to do some actual animation.
And the choice for that animation was obvious: the all-important action of the Old Man dragging his ponderous suitcase through the airport, which was destined to be seen from several angles throughout the film. It would be onscreen repeatedly, and if it did not work well, it could spoil the entire production.
Based on a drawing I worked out some time ago, the cycle would need to show 1) the weight of the object being dragged and 2) the continuous effort required to keep the weight moving along.
|The character pose that was the inspiration for this walk cycle.|
|Dragging my 54 pound suitcase for live-action reference.|
I also had live action taken front a frontal viewpoint and from a 3/4 rear viewpoint, which should be useful when I adapt the cycle for these other angles.
At last I sat down at my animation desk and knocked out this rough animation of the walk in profile.
Pencil Test 1
|A frame from Pencil Test 1|
The upper body is a mess of uncoordinated and lurching movement--not a success. But if you mask off the upper part and just watch the legs and feet, you can see that this part works quite well.
Back to the drawing board!
Pencil Test 2
|A frame from Pencil Test 2|
The action now looks a lot better, with the straining of the upper body evident as he throws out his left leg. I have omitted the left arm for now so that I can focus on the torso. Note how the right arm straightens out completely at the most extreme point of the effort.
Pencil Test 3
|A frame from Pencil Test 3|
But while the arm looks correct at the forward part of the movement, the backswing and turnaround are unconvincing. I go back to my drawing board--and my eraser!--once more.
Pencil Test 4
|A frame from Pencil Test 4|
Pencil Test 5
|A frame from Pencil Test 5|
The next step will be the addition of detail and cleanup, but at this stage I feel I have validated the walk cycle and that all the principal questions have been answered.