Thursday, 15 October 2020

Why Animators Should Walk on a Treadmill



Our new MA Animation students are learning the art and craft of human locomotion in their first module, DA701, which teaches basic mechanics, including walks, runs and jumps. The module builds up to a character walk performance, which is due in mid-December.  Animating walk cycles can be tricky; it can be especially troublesome to get the character's feet moving backwards at a steady speed, without bumps or wobbles. This is especially true for animators animating a walk cycle "on the spot", where the body stays in place but the feet move backwards underneath the body. To help solve the problem, it makes a lot of sense to import a treadmill into the shot. The treadmill helps to clarify the mechanics of shot, and allows the animator to visualise what is going on when the feet travel backwards.

Why Animators Need a Treadmill for a Walk Cycle.
Free treadmill at Turbosquid
You can import a free treadmill from websites like Turbosquid and tf3dm.com.  Once you have downloaded the treadmill (it should be a .ma, .mb .fbx or .obj file), you can import it into your shot.

Then, re-size the treadmill with the Scale Tool, and move it into position. Now your character has something to walk on, making it easier to fix any mistakes in the cycle.

More on Locomotion
There are many locomotion resources at Animation Apprentice. Follow the links below to find out more about walks and character walks.

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