So! Here are the first of my walk cycles.
We began by trying our respective hands at a traditional walk cycle, or as Neil rather neatly put it, a 'vanilla' walk cycle. As it was the first one I did, I decided to play it safe regarding consistency of volume and create my walking man out of individual, repeated sections, which I adjusted accordingly for each frame. This puppeteer-like approach might have led to me being slightly extravagant with the arm animation; he sort of looks like he's doing a self-congratulatory fist pump for every step. "Another step towards the right hand side of the page! Get in!" Hardly normal behaviour.
So, er, yes. Moving on.
I then started to deliberately imbue my walk cycles with personality. So far, the two walks I've nailed are depressed and angry. I'm also going to do worried, laid-back and happy-go-lucky.
I was going to flesh out the 'depressed' stick man, but I liked the fluidity of the motion and decided to keep it as it was. Fleshing it out, at this stage, wouldn't really add much to the performance.
I wanted it to look as though the man's legs were barely carrying him, so I made them drag along the floor as they moved forward. The weight is almost always on the front foot, to make him seem heavy and likely to collapse at any moment, and his head bobs considerably. Not only does the head bob give the feel of a very forced walk, but it also taps into the character's possible psychology. People tend to keep their head still when they're trying to keep up appearances; here is a stick man who cares very little about how the world perceives him at the moment.
For my next walk cycle, however, I didn't bother with an initial armature - the animation principles I had been taught were beginning to become instinctive, and I felt more confident animating a slightly more fleshed-out character. In addition, I animated on twos this time (changing the image every two frames instead of every one); as much as I like the fluidity of animating on ones, it's a bit time-consuming (twice as time-consuming as twos, mathematically speaking).
The lift of the leg as it passes forwards, the clenched fists, the lowered head, the forceful, pendulous swing of the arms - this chap is seriously pissed off. I wouldn't cross him.
Anyway. That's it for the moment. More walk cycles soon!
Lots of love,