Walk Cycle – Research and Ideas

Alongside our 3D environment modelling project we have also been set the task of learning to animate a clean walk cycle within Maya. I’m excited to get a chance to animate as this will be my first proper attempt at it!

I think I will start of with a bit of reading and research before getting started…

(1 hour passes…)

Woah! I came across an amazing article titled ‘100 Days of Walk Cycles’ (link here). It is such an inspiring read and has really made me want to start looking into walk cycles more. A few days ago I had watched a tutorial video on plural sight on how to create a walk cycle gif and after seeing this, it is now something I really would like to pursue. This guy spent 100 days creating different walk cycles and goes into details on his struggles/success’ throughout. Although the focus is on 2D animation, the real idea is learning how various walks define a character, it’s mood and personality. His final video is shown below. 😀


Balance and Rotation

Whilst looking at different video reference and images of walking cycles it is clear that the movements of the hip joints and the pelvis are crucial when animating a believable walk. Not only do the hips and pelvis rotate but also move up and down as the person’s weight distribution changes. The shoulders also play a part in the walk cycle, moving forwards and backwards along with the arm movements.


The animated GIF below is a great example of these movements in 2D form.


Image Courtesy – Animated walking GIF by Spookyspoots

The movement of the hands varies slightly from the arm as they fall out of time. By delaying the speed at which they follow through with the arm we can hopefully create a more believable arm swing. Depending on the over-all mood of the character, the timing of the hands also plays a crucial part in adding more character.


Image Courtesy – Recherche Google

I have had a read through Preston J.Blair’s book ‘Cartoon Animation’, it includes some good reference of various walk cycles. After giving the walk cycle a go in Maya I got a bit frustrated at my progress so I decided to give a sneak walk cycle a go instead… and so far it has turned out much better than my first attempt at the walk. I took reference from the sneak image below.




Blair, P. (1997). Cartoon animation. [Place of publication not identified]: Walter Foster, p.p25.

Medium. (2017). 100 Days Of Walk Cycles – justGoscha – Medium. [online] Available at: https://medium.com/@justgoscha/100daysofwalkcycles-134ae1ca91ac [Accessed 1 Oct. 2017].

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