View Full Version : Struggling with walk cycle : (

02-23-2005, 11:43 PM
I need to create a quick animation of a character i have modelled taking about 5 or 6 steps walking forward.

I have modelled and rigged the character,set the key frames for left foot forward,then right foot forward. So far so good, but how do i create a cycle so i don't need to create each individual step over again?

I've copied and pasted key frames in dope sheet but the result were awful, looked like he was moonwalking.

Any help very much appreciated

02-24-2005, 12:16 AM
If the character is moonwalking, he is not moving fast enough on his horizontal vector to match his foot movement. The best approach would be to look into rigging the character so that the feet have some nulls as goals. This would keep them planted while you move the body. That would help eliminate the foot sliding problem.


02-24-2005, 01:46 AM
Thanks for the reply! I'm gonna have to do some serious looking into this,i've only ever done a couple of steps before so it's not until now i've come across this problem.

02-24-2005, 08:41 AM
Start with your character in the squash position or in the pass position. Copy this pose to frame 30. 30 frames per second - a human makes a full cycle - two steps - about once a second. Put the oppposite pose at frame 15 - back foot forward, front foot back. Slide the front foot back but keep it on the ground, and move and lift the back foot. Your squash or pass pose (the one you didn't start with) should fall between these other keyframes. Simple walk cycle. For better control over you splines you will need to extend your animation over more time - like your five or six steps. This assumes your character is not actually moving forward but only needs to look like he's moving forward. Similar thing if he does actually need to be moving in a scene but you add movement to your root in the "forward" direction.
I think your moonwalking problem is that the foot slides and doesn't stay put. Yes?? When he plants his foot on the ground (keyframe here) you need another keyframe at the point where he raises his foot back up set to linear. This way his foot stays exaclty where it was planted until he picks it up again.

02-24-2005, 08:58 PM
In other words:-




02-24-2005, 11:15 PM
Superb!!! Many thanks for your replies. Managed to get it last night thanks to all your help. : )

I hope i can return the favour at some point.

02-25-2005, 12:00 AM
I hope i can return the favour at some point.
50 quid in a brown envelope, stuffed under my door should do it! :)

Very glad you`re having success at last. Why not post an avi for us to see?



02-25-2005, 02:32 AM
: ) Will do mate, try and have it completed over the weekend.

02-25-2005, 05:56 AM
You've clearly done it now, but just in case or for future, I have had a lot of success recently using Poser for walks. It has a nice little built in walk designer with sliders for feminity, shuffle, swagger etc. A sequence of half a dozen morph targets gave rather nice results.


03-02-2005, 10:05 AM
After getting more and more into character animation I've gotten more and more away from copying keyframes and poses. I think once you figure out how to make a decent walk cycle it's easier just to hand key each step than it is to try cheating it with copying poses. Plus, it forces you to do it over and over again which is the only way to really get good at making a good walk cycle anyway. But, really, once you understand the mechanics of walking, it's pretty quick to just hand key those steps.

03-02-2005, 09:15 PM
Typically on something as simple as a walk cycle you wouldnt copy poses. Usually that is done to block out the timing on a section of animation.

Its not hard to get a character to walk in place. From there you measure the length of its stride. If his stride is 1 meter then a full cycle is 2 meters. Now you have to figure out how fast he walks or completes that cycle. If the character completes a cycle in one second then he can travel 2 meters/sec. Let say the character will be walking for 5 seconds. That means it will travel 10 meters in 5 seconds. So now all you have to do is parent your character to a null, move the null to 10 meters at frame 150 and keyframe it. The feet should not slide. :)

03-02-2005, 11:10 PM
Thank's for all the responses. All your views are very much welcomed. I think i just need to sit down and do it over and over. It's starting to fall into place and look quite good now but i must admit that i was struggling for a while.

03-03-2005, 09:15 AM
Great answer, Splinegod. that's what I was asking for when I posted a thread on how to make a walking cyle some time ago. Thanks

03-03-2005, 09:35 AM
Splinegod always delivers : )

03-03-2005, 10:53 AM

I'm into hand animation and like experimenting with mocap, but the Poser technique sounds good if needed in a hurry.

How do you import files into Lightwave? BVH Poser walk files I've found to be unusable.


Looking forward to seeing your results. :cool:


You're right - copied keyframes can look too robotic. Hand keying frames adds an element of realism.


Great advice there.


03-04-2005, 12:49 AM
Yes, the poser way is easier, though not as good - but as someone who could not model a convincing standing person, I need it!

I considered BVH's, but too many problems.

Get your figure loaded up, and go to the walk designer. Set swagger, foot lift etc as required.
Pick the frames you want to export - it is important to get the extremes of movement so for each foot fully forward, back, and lifted is a MINIMUM. I was very pleased with 6 key frames, so you might want to try that as a starting point.

Export the frames as .OBJ format. I kept things simple by reexporting the first keyframe again as the last, but its probablyy not necessary.

Open up the first one in modeller. It has a UV map built, but not attached, so find the poser image map and shove it at the model. You can probably simplify the surfacing enourmously as it will keep each body part as a separate surface. Again, for your first experiment keep it simple - you might want to try a naked figure with the same surface all over. (Animals are good for testing this bit) Save as LWO format.

The morph target squence will pick up the textures from the first model - this bit is all in the manual.

Load the frames up in order, and set them as sequential morph targets as you go. The display may mess up while you are doing this - mine did but it all ended ok.

Now you can adjust the morph %ge, (note 10% per key frame, so you will want to go to 500% or more). Going beyond the end will give warped garbage.

Happy to help more if anyone needs it.


03-08-2005, 11:08 AM
Cheers, Nick. That's an interesting approach :) Have you any animated gifs you could post?

03-08-2005, 11:35 AM
OK, here goes. If all is well there is a rather large animated GIF attached!

This was just a rough shot I had to hand - it can be done a lot better with care! But I hope will give you the general idea...

03-22-2005, 06:05 AM
OK, here goes. If all is well there is a rather large animated GIF attached!

This was just a rough shot I had to hand - it can be done a lot better with care! But I hope will give you the general idea...

Ok. This'll give you a guide - I've added frame numbers

It's a standard 16 frame walk (medium tempo)

Concentrate on the feet and Z position of the hips first.
Think in layers, don't get distracted with armstill you nailed those feet to the floor!

And learn to love the Graph Editor, for the curves are you friends!