The Basics of Animation: Walk Cycle

Featured Post, Young Bloggers  /   /  By Dylan Gibson
Stone Soup Magazine
January 2018

Animation is a complicated activity. It may look easy enough, but it’s actually not all that simple. It takes many steps to create even the most simple of animations. In this blog entry, I will be showing how to make a walk cycle, which is a character walking in a loop, in three steps.

Editors Note: The examples that are included here are posted to YouTube. Be sure you have autoplay turned off so that the examples are not immediately followed by someone else’s videos.

Step 1: Creating basic shapes

The way you always start off any animation is by animating basic shapes. You would start out with shapes like circles, squares, and ovals. However, you NEED to have these shapes very rough and sketchy looking, so they are easy to draw over. Make several drawings (frames) that are only a tiny bit different from each other. The walk cycle linked below is an example of this that I made about a year ago.

Walk cycle 1

Step 2: Lineart and Shadow

Lineart is just going over the shapes that you made previously so they pop out, and the animation looks much better. Adding shadows is something that some animators do at the same time as lineart, and others do at the very end. I choose to usually do the shadows at this point, as they make the characters more realistic. This next link is this second step that I have animated.

Walk cycle 2

Step 3: Coloring

Coloring is the final basic animation step. This obviously makes a character completely pop from a background, and just makes the animation more clean and beautiful. I have included the final product in the following animation.

Walk cycle 3

 

Congratulations!

You just made an animation!!! Go give yourself a pat on the back and a doughnut for your hard work. Animation isn’t easy, but it’s all worth it! If anything, you come out of animating with the knowledge of what full-time animators who create cartoons and movies have to go through. This particular animation was created through an app available on iPhones and iPads called Framecast. It’s a good program for short animations, and is great if you’re just trying to learn how to animate. I hope you have a great day and hopefully try out animation yourself!

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