In animation, a walk cycle is a series of frames or illustrations drawn in sequence that loop to create an animation of a walking character. The walk cycle is looped over and over, thus having to avoid animating each step again.
Everyone walks differently, no two walks are the same. When I read this in Richard Williams Animators Survival Guide I was very apprehensive of ever being able to create a realistic and believable walk cycle! All in all a walk cycle depends on 3 simple drawings and then you can progress from there. It depends on the second mid-way of walking (where the character is at their highest) as to how the character will walk. Are they going to walk slow, slouched, straight-backed, and are they going to take a feminine stance or a masculine one? This will determine their overall type of walk.
I also liked the advice Art Babbit had given Richard Williams to understand different walks and what he should ask himself when walking behind someone:
- Are they old?
- What’s the financial position
- State of health?
- Are they strict?
In basic, walking is the process of falling over and over and catching yourself, just in time. In a sequence of ‘controlled falls’. This was actually really interesting to think about and made me think of when babies first learn to walk as you are constantly watching them to make sure they don’t fall over!
Looking at the difference between men and women was also interesting as women walk in a protective manner whilst men walk quite proud and open. Women usually show little movement but they are stereo-typically constrained in tight-fitting clothing, to animate a feminine woman animators make less of a bounce in the walk.