Bio Motion Lab – Reference for Animators

This week our first year undergraduate students (VFX, animation and games – our first year is a common year) are studying how to animate a walk cycle, creating a successful biped walk and then giving it character and personality.

One very useful resource is the Bio Motion Walker from the Bio Motion Lab, located at York University in Toronto, Ontario.

The Bio Motion Walker allows animators to move a range of sliders showing how to make a walk cycle feel masculine or feminine, heavy or light, anxious or calm, happy or sad.

Animators study live action, and then incorporate – and exaggerate – real life in their work . The Bio Motion Walker is a useful tool for analysing how people walk and move in different ways.

Walk Cycle Tutorials
“Zombie” walk by Michael Davies

We have many walk cycle tutorials available for our students at Escape Studios.  These form part of our series of online animation tutorials, to support our students’ classroom learning.

Marc Stevenson Walk Tutorial

Ways to Animate a Walk – which is best?
One of the most common questions student animators ask when they tackle their first walk cycle is this: is it better to animate the walk cycle “on the spot”, as if on an imaginary treadmill, or is it better to animate the character physically walking across the screen, taking two steps? 

Choose Your Method
Walk Cycle from “The Animator’s Survival Kit”

Both methods of creating a cycle are effective approaches to the problem of character walks, and at Escape Studios we teach both methods. Both, however, have their advantages and disadvantages.

Watch this five minute video here to understand the difference between the two approaches, and decide for yourself which one suits you best.

Locomotion Resources at Escape Studios

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