So it’s been a while since my last post, and that one wasn’t even animation-related. What can I say, sometimes life gets in the way of what you really want to do.
Anyway, I’ve done a walk cycle.
Actually, I completed this in May. I wasn’t happy with it at the time and wasn’t going to upload it, but since it’s been so long since I’ve managed to complete any animation exercises at all, I’ve now decided this one will more than suffice.
What’s wrong with it? Well, the faults are much more noticeable when you see it in profile. (I don’t know how to animate a figure walking on the spot, so the profile shots are brief.) But there’s a kind of “ducking” of the head when he takes a forward step. I can see it, but don’t quite have the ability to fix it.
I’ve learned a fair number of difficult things in my life so far, some I’ve been taught, some I’ve taught myself, but animation is up there with the hardest of them. And I don’t think it’s creating the actual poses and the timing and spacing and all that stuff, although that’s part of it. I think it’s as much to do with learning a complex application at the same time. That’s not a criticism of Blender – I guess learning any professional package would be the same. But I often find that if it’s been a while since my last session I more or less have to relearn what I learned the previous session, and so I find myself running on the spot, rather than making any progress at all, even slow.
But it’s not just the complexity of the application, there is something inherently difficult about making things move believably. The slightest misstep is noticeable, often glaringly so.
So while I’m not hugely happy with this walk cycle, I have to bear in mind at times that I’ve moved from bouncing a ball to making a human-like character walk realistically. It’s quite a step up, if you’ll excuse the pun. I look at other websites, blogs, etc, and see lots of beginning animators doing what looks to me like really good work, and I wonder why I’m struggling with this basic thing. And then I remember that although a walk cycle is basic in terms of being kind of unexciting, it’s hardly basic in terms of movement. There’s lots of coordination, there’s movement, timing and spacing, all sorts of things that are quite difficult to get right, and which immediately look bad when you get them wrong. And looking at this first effort from me, it seems I didn’t get a hell of a lot right.
I also rather slavishly followed the tutorial, viewing, pausing, copying, viewing the next bit. I didn’t exactly get into the flow. That’s something I’ll try not to do so much next time. If I’m going to improve at all, I’ll only do so by learning from my mistakes, so why try to avoid them?
This is my first comment, and I’m glad I’ve stumbled upon your blog. I did some study in animation as well. While I’m not too great at it anymore, I can say that you should just keep on trying. You’ve noticed that it takes a lot of coordination to do something as simple as a walk cycle, and that’s true. Animation is just another form of art, and you have to build up to your final product.
Also, you said you’re using Blender? I’ve never used it, as I’ve mainly animated in Maya before.
Keep animating! Good luck!
Thanks very much for the encouragement, Assaad. It’s good to hear from someone else that animation is time-consuming, not to mention difficult. At least I know I’m probably not doing anything wrong, I just need more practise.
The one thing I find difficult above all else is finding a good long stretch of time to get stuck into a task properly – if I have to stop what I’m doing before I’m finished I find it very hard to pick up where I left off. I hope that’s also normal…