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 Tutorials wanted -- walking techniques
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Raaskot
Starting Member

Denmark
29 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2015 :  2:34:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit Raaskot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
I'm looking for advice concerning a panning, syncronized background with a character in front.

Making the arm/legs move is no problem but my characters (and these in the examples I have seen) tends to look as if they are somehow "skating" on the ground: They mechanicaly move their extremities while the background is moving in a liniar fashion. When a foot is in the ground it should be fixed for at short moment until lifted. I've tried to figure out whether the use of "bonelocking on/off" may be a way to go or not but my attempts have ended a bit messy: Legs have behaved strange in an arbitrary manner upon animating locking on/of, if you understand.

Therefore: I would like to ask if any here knows of tutorials, written or video, dealing with walking characters as described above?

Kind regards,
Raaskot

Edited by - Raaskot on 08/03/2015 2:36:49 PM

Kelleytoons
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6396 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2015 :  3:00:52 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hmmm, interesting you ask...

I just go through with a video explaining how to use targets in terms of planting the legs -- admittedly in conjunction with my bone loading and saving, but the basic concept would work fine for you (incidentally, targets are the preferred way to go -- bone locking/unlocking is now sort of obsoleted with them).

My video is uploading even as I type this, but as soon as it's done I'll post a link.

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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Kelleytoons
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6396 Posts

Posted - 08/03/2015 :  3:10:48 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
While I wait for it to upload, let me explain a few things.

First of all, you talk about a panning, sychronized background, so I'm not so sure you aren't talking about a "walk in place" sort of cycle. If so, I always find (me personally) that it's far better to create the animation with a character progressing on the ground and then just sync the camera to that character. That way you know for sure the background will be correct, rather than try and coordinate its movement to the movement of your character's feet. The old "walk in place" was actually an artifact of the old animation days where they had to do things by hand and thus needed to reuse the same cycles. With computers there's really no advantage to doing it that way, and lots of disadvantages.

Even if you want your scenery to recycle, for example, it's still better (IMHO, of course) to lay it all out and have the character actually progress while you tie the camera to him (just set your camera keys to follow him, which is easy/peasy). Then you can have one panel animate over to the far end of the landscape each time (again, assuming you don't just want to draw the entire field).

If you really want a walk in place my tool will allow this by just saving the unparented rig with the root as the relative move -- just don't progress the root forward but only up and down.

Here's the video of me doing a "normal" walk with it -- if I get a moment I'll do a walk in place to show you how it would also work:



"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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Kelleytoons
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6396 Posts

Posted - 08/05/2015 :  12:30:40 PM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
And another one, that doesn't require any of my scripts:



"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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Raaskot
Starting Member

Denmark
29 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2015 :  02:17:09 AM  Show Profile  Visit Raaskot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dear Kelleytoons
I had to scrutinise your feedback thoroughly before writing my response here. Your videos and kind instructions has indeed clarified alot of things for me, i.e. providing me the english/technical terms for what I was looking for: Either "on the ground/regular walk" or "walk-in-place" animation. A lot of tutorials I've observed just dealt with the latter only.

Thanks to you I now understand how to use the target bone method which is new to me.

In this video ("on the ground"-type) you'll find the person "skating" on the ground passing before a stride as the character is moved leftwards moving the legs:

https://youtu.be/Yoe7RPl02jE?t=25s

It could quite possible be reduced by syncronising the translation of the overall intrinsic movements better to the backdrop -- dragging the character more slowly in this case -- alas the sequence very well demonstrates the matter.

From your answer I understand I have to use target bones (on hips and under two legs) to get it right. Your movie character match exactly what I'm looking for and the animation works more convincing.

Yet I understand that, to avoid setting up many keyframes during a walk-cycle like the above video in this way, one cannot do this without setting up a script like the one you mention in the video, right?

https://youtu.be/abSQcbJO2DI?t=3m45s

(1) Does the script copy the frames 60 to 102 (in your video), then pasting them from frame 110? Can I do this without a script?

As you understand I'm not so familiar with scripting i Anime:

(2) Can I just copy/paste (or mirroring) the selected keyframes?

(3) What about the walk distance: Is this added automatically in your script according the initial "on the ground" walkcycle?

Again I want to express my thanksfulness for your very instructive feedback.

Kind regards and thanks from a sunny Copenhagen --- Raaskot
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splash
New Member

Germany
77 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2015 :  06:07:59 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Also have a look at the walk cycle ruler:

http://www.lostmarble.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=19490
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Kelleytoons
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6396 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2015 :  07:02:27 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Greetings, Copenhagen (I always think of the Danny Kaye song from "Hans Christian Andersen" whenever I hear the city mentioned).

First of all, the scripts I have only simplify the process, and they will be available to all here shortly (say by the end of the weekend if all goes well). You don't need a script to do what you want to do -- I'm just basically the laziest animator I know. Mostly scripting helps with repetition -- as an animator if you find yourself doing the same thing over and over again you might want to consider either finding a script that helps with that process or even writing yourself, but at this stage in your animation education I wouldn't worry about it at all.

The reason legs "slide" is the keys that hold those feet to the ground are moving. The easiest way to solve that is the use of target bones -- you use one for each foot, and either the foot bone or (more often) the calf bone is targeted to those bones. I will show this more closely in a video which I'll post on this thread so you can see (I'll try and do it before tennis today, but if not I'll do it this afternoon). A target will "plant" that foot and absolutely not move until you move it.

Let me try each of your questions to help if I can:

1) The problem with copying and pasting keys is they are absolute -- if you copy a bone's position from one frame to another it will "reset" itself to where it was positioned. So let's say it starts out on the extreme left and you have a key that sets that position there -- if you move the bone to the right and then copy that again it will start over again on the left.

There is a "relative keyframe" button on the timeline, but this doesn't work with bones -- and I think I know why Mike Clifton (principle architect and "god" of Anime Studio) never implemented it with bones. It's damn tricky to do, for reasons I won't go into here. My script does it (and does it well, IMHO opinion :>) but it was a bitch to finally figure out and it's still not perfect (and never can be). So by using my load and save script you can indeed "paste" a walk across or onto a character and not have it reset back to where it was in the first place.

The only way to do this without a script would be to move the layer itself -- those keys you could indeed copy and paste. The trick there would be to match the layer move keys up with the bone animation and this, again, is damn tricky. To me it's not even worth the effort but you can always give it a try.

So the only thing without a script you really can do is to generate the entire walk all the way across -- this is why so many folks do a walk-in-place (because it's far easier to generate, say, six keys rather than 20 or more). My script will fix all of this for you (or at least a good portion of it -- you may still want to tweak the results here and there).

2) Again, you can't copy and paste keyframes which have translation (position) information. Rotation copying and pasting will work just fine, but there is no mirroring of keyframes. My script (sorry, hate to sound like a broken record here) will also correctly mirror your rig, taking the rotations from one side of a character and applying them to the other. Again, this is just a time saver, and nothing you can't do yourself by hand.

My script also requires a certain naming convention -- in order to know which side is which, the ones on the arms and legs need to be named similarly. So each arm bone might be named Bicep, but have a prefix or suffix which identifies it as belonging to one side or the other. It's pretty versatile and will accept a lot of different prefixes and suffixes (I use U and D for upstage and downstage, but it will also take L/R and A/B, as well as using an underscore between).

3) You can do walk cycles with a parented rig (in which all bones are children of a root bone) or unparented (in which all but the targets are parents -- I explain this in the videos as well). My current Walk Assist script works with the root bone rigs and it does so by calculating the walk step distance and adjusting the root accordingly. This script is available now but I'd wait until the new one is posted as this will allow you to use the unparented rig.

The advantage is the unparented rig firmly plants the feet on the ground (using those targets) and just calculates the movement properly. In the case of the first script, the feet might slide slightly and you will have to adjust them in increments. Not a huge deal (you use onion skins to adjust) but a PITA. The second script will not have sliding feet, but you need to adjust the height of the root a bit depending on how your character is constructed.

In neither case can you just "press a button" -- never has there been a "Make Art" button I've seen that's worth a damn. These scripts make the process a whole lot easier, but it's also good to understand the underlying principles so you can then adjust things properly, which is why I put that video above. At the very least you ought to try the process yourself before you use any script (and you will need to be able to do at least three keyframes in order to use my script, as that video shows).

And regards from sunny (mostly) Florida!

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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Kelleytoons
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6396 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2015 :  07:21:44 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Hmmm, damn if I didn't find that, at least in AS 11 (who knows how long this has worked -- someone other than me, obviously) there is indeed a "paste relative" that works just fine (actually, it works so well I'm not sure why this isn't the default paste method. I need to see if I can set this for MY default somehow).

This has seriously rocked my world -- to the degree I need to think about a whole lot of things (not the least is the need for my walk designer). In any case, by using paste relative you can easily just generate the one cycle and copy those keys and paste them correctly across the length of the walk. I'll show this when I also show how to create the rig in the first place.

(Things change so rapidly this old man just can't keep up -- which I guess is why it's good youth will be served :>).

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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Kelleytoons
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6396 Posts

Posted - 08/06/2015 :  11:05:52 AM  Show Profile  Reply with Quote
Ah... shoot. Should have known that wouldn't work properly.

Here's the dealio -- while there is indeed relative keyframing in AS (probably at least in 10 although it may have been earlier) it really won't work well at all for a bone rig, so my script is the best solution.

The problem is that it's an either/or situation -- either you key ALL the keys relative to whatever position they are in, or none. And for a walk cycle what you really need keyed relative is just the position keys. If you try and key rotation relative (let's say you have arms swinging and/or head/spine bobbing) then it will be additive, which is not at all what you want (you can try and see what I'm talking about).

Now, you could select on the timeline only those positional keys and then select the rotation keys and copy each accordingly... but that's a big pile of do-do. Which is why my script does it automagically for you.

I have to ask Mike about this, because it seems to me that being able to relatively key position only should be an option somewhere... but what do I know?

"Look, I made a hat...
Where there never was a hat"


-Mike "ex-genius" Kelley
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Raaskot
Starting Member

Denmark
29 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2015 :  10:24:42 AM  Show Profile  Visit Raaskot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Thanks splash
Very useful post displaying a visual and straightforward procedure for subpressing pass/slide-issue using a liniar ruler drawn in AS and applied moving beneath the walking character.

In short:
(1) The legs (heels) are addressed the proper marks, interval vice (stride-poses), on the ruler
(2) The in-between pass-positions is adjusted accordingly
(3) Cycle mode is applied characters timeline.
(4) The entire character (with intrinsic movements) is animated to the requested end of walking distance in the frame.
(5) voilÓ!

I guess one can actually swap the ruler-object with an actual background and thus syncronize walk and distance upon initial wish. Molto cool video by VÝctor Paredes: http://dl.dropbox.com/u/54411/AS8/Walk%20ruler/walk%20ruler%20presentation.mov
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Raaskot
Starting Member

Denmark
29 Posts

Posted - 08/08/2015 :  10:30:39 AM  Show Profile  Visit Raaskot's Homepage  Reply with Quote
Dear Kelleytoons
Again, I appreciate a lot your suggestions. They have now paved my way into new fields of wisdom (target bones and scripting, relative keyframing etc.), which I'm now getting into (I sure have to re-read this thread many times more in the time to come:-)). Also the discussion about classic solutions (ante-digital era) was very interesting. I can imagine a walking sequence, like the one I've shown in a former post, effectively was set by splitting a walking scene in two cuts: One displaying a "walk-in-place" (with moving background, fixed person) and one with the background fixed where a person is entering the frame "on-ground/regular" wise. I can definitely use this knowledge in my work.

The "ruler method" is more pointing towards a linear walk. I can easily see myself combining the ruler- and script/target bone-methods when setting up a more complex interrupted or non-linear walk.

Thanks again for your very thoughtful and didactical responses and videos.

Kind regards, Raaskot

Ps. Certainly, yes: Danny Kaye ("Wonderful Copenhagen") has indeed acted as a very loved person and great ambassador of my country in many years :-)

Edited by - Raaskot on 08/08/2015 10:33:24 AM
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