# Need some help

• You better walk the character in place and view it from several angles while walking, until you're satisfied with it.

But, here's the kicker... you want the toon to walk on the floor, not walk in place. For that you should put a grid on the floor to track feet slip. Then be sure to have IK on the feet, and have the feet in linear interpolation. Now you measure the stride that you get in the z translation for the feet; open the graph for the z tran, and make sure these lines are absolutely straight from maximum value to minimum (that's when the foot is in the ground). Also better set the maximum and minimum to simple values. In my hurried walk cycle for Katie, I adjusted the z tran to go from +0.8 to -0.6. So her stride is -0.6 to +0.8 (=1.4). Check this:

Notice how the ascending line can be anything, as the foot is in the air. But the downward line needs to be very straight.

So, at frame = 16 it's +0.8, and frame = 22 it's -0.6. It goes down by 1.4 in 6 frames. So we make the body to move forward in 6 frames.

Therefore, at frame = 16 we set body z translation = 0, then at 22 it's +1.4, then at 28 it's +2.8 and so forth, until the last position 2. In my short animation Katie is dong 6 full steps, so 6x1.4 = 8.4. That's the ztran of the body in the last position. So, yeah, you'll need a calculator for those translations. This is the result:

You'll notice there's still a bit of foot slipping; that's because the feet are rotating while in the floor, and the ztran is for the ankle, not the toes; in order to remove that it will need some tweaking.

• Now, the big advantage of animating the walk with a few poses (besides the fact you can animate any walk you want) is that you can more easily switch to other cycles. Say you want to move her back; you just need to repeat the walk cycle, then ramp down ztran, add a yrotation and add a little xtran at end of rotation; as I want to have an effect on the z leg, I had to slip the walk back by half a step, to make sure she starts to walk back with the right leg on the ground (as that's the leg she will rotate on); this is the modified ztran for the body:

and this is the animation:

• Now it's time to have fun; notice that there are 4 poses around the rotation - transition to rest (right foot on the ground), rest (both feet on the ground), rest rotated (both feed on the ground) and transition to walk (right foot on the ground).

So I want a new pose at middle to improve that rotation, making it 5 poses. I don't want to touch the 1st and 5th poses too much because they are the transitions to walk, but I can do whatever I want with the 2nd, 3rd and 4th poses. So I change her rotation to be an airplane rotation with the left left high up:

You see, I only needed to change 5 poses to change that rotation. If you know what's the purpose of each pose in a walking movement you can do whatever you want. For example, say I want to change the end pose; that's very simple, because I know the last pose of the walk cycle (that's either 1 or 2), and I know there's a pose 2.5 to transition to rest. So I just have to change the transition pose and then the end pose.

Say I want her to sit at the end. So I add a sitting pose, with the butt in the floor. Now, every major movement has a preparation pose -- that's when she is well balanced, with both feet on the floor, and is ready to move the butt to the floor but it's in the air yet. So I change my pose 2.5 to transition to the preparation pose (and add a little flourishing), and I get this:

You see, just 3 poses transitioned her from walking to sitting. That's why I like this method instead of using the walk designer.

• Oh, here's another trick that will be useful. You gotta calculate the stride in order to get the body's ztran right, right? Now, what if Katie would walk in another direction, say on a 71.50 degrees angle to somewhere? You don't want to do trigonometry to calculate the xtran/ztran.

So, in that movie we have Katie (with display=textured) and a grid which is a HighRes Cloth prop (with display=wireframe). We create a cube; make sure the cube has size=100%, translations = 0 and rotations = 0 (otherwise you'll lose the careful calculations on Katie's stride). Later you'll make the cube transparent, so don't worry if it gets in the way for now.

Now we parent Katie and the grid to the cube. As the cube has no transformations, the movement looks exactly as before. Then, in the end of the rotation you rotate the cube by say 71.50 degrees. Now the rotation looks off, as Katie is rotating around the cube, not around her toe:

That seems complicated to fix but it isn't. You just set the camera to front and then move the cube at the end of rotation so that she seems to rotate in place from the front; then you set the camera to left side, and do the same. That will fix the rotation entirely. Don't try to do that from a generic view, though, that will never work. As Poser doesn't have onion skin, I just hold my finger on her feet of the screen at the start of the rotation, and then move the cube to position her feet to my finder at the end of the rotation. You may need to insert additional keys for the box in the middle of the rotation to keep her feet in place. I also added a 2nd grid place, not parented to the cube, so that I can track walking against background.

So this is the rotation with the cube and grid 1 visible:

And this is the rotation with the cube and grid 1 invisible, and grid 2 visible; notice that new angle exposed some defects on the sitting down, which were not visible before, but I didn't correct that:

• @krios, you have some pretty good walking in your videos. How do you do for walking?

• @fbs7

@krios, you have some pretty good walking in your videos. How do you do for walking?

Looks like I missed your question Fbs.
My workflow for walks is based on Richard Williams' teachings: 5 well posed keyframes per step:

Other then that, it's a combination of straight ahead and pose to pose animation, much like your style of animating, where you work things out in various passes increasing the frame rate with each pass.

• Thank you; what do you do to avoid foot slip? You're always with IK on and you move the hips XYZ and move the toon around? Or you move the figure XYZ and keep moving the feet around to compensate for the figure XYZ movement?

• @fbs7
Simply follow the most natural way a human walks: start with the hips!
Plot your contacts (as shown by Richard). Then pose the toon's legs without IK for the passing position. Then adjust the hips to make sure the foot is where it should be. Once the UP and DOWN positions are figured out the same way, there will be little to no foot slip even without IK.

Working this way (in FK mode) is a bit harder, but it forces you to create natural movement by adjusting the hip correctly. Otherwise you end up with those really odd CG walks where the hip is moving forward and the feet just kinda "pretend" to be carrying the body.

• Right, but here's the problem.

Say you want to walk from Z=0 to Z=10.

You can have hipZ=0 at frame 1, and hipZ=10 at frame 100, then move the feet alternately, like leftFootZ=3 at frame 5, then rightFootZ=6 at frame 10, and so forth.

That works and is easy to do, but then you can't rotate the body any more, as bodyZ=0, so all rotations are around Z=0 even when hip is at Z=10.

On the other hand you can basically leave the hip at Z=0 through out (except for small oscillations), and then move bodyZ=10 at frame=100. But then the feet Z are relative to bodyZ, and now bodyZ is moving. So in order to keep the feet grounded while in contact, the footZ needs to move in a ramp down to compensate for the changing bodyZ.

So it's a conundrun... either lose the bodyXYZ rotations, or have the IK feet move down a precise ramp to compensate for the moving body. The example above uses this 2nd approach, plus an invisible mat to avoid calculations when there's a rotation, but I wish there was a simpler way to do this.

• @fbs7

From a lot of experimenting, it's best to leave the body at X,Y,Z = 0
No movement or rotations for the body , and work your walk starting with the hip.

You can have hipZ=0 at frame 1, and hipZ=10 at frame 100, then move the feet alternately, like leftFootZ=3 at frame 5, then rightFootZ=6 at frame 10, and so forth.

If you mean to say that you start at frame 1 and then you move the hip to Z=10 at frame 100, then you are going about this in a way I don't understand. If the character needs to start at 0 and end up at 10, then just walk it over there step by step. Are we on the same page?

That works and is easy to do, but then you can't rotate the body any more, as bodyZ=0, so all rotations are around Z=0 even when hip is at Z=10.

Not sure I get this part. If you animate starting with the hip, you can rotate the character all you want (from the hip), so long as the feet are in the right place.

• @fbs7
Here's a little visual to help us out:

This is blocking at 3 FPS. At this stage the walk is figured out only with the contacts and the passing positions.
It's all in the hips with FK. The only time IK is turned on is to adjust the hip without messing up the feet.
This way you can have natural movements compared to the Mr. Robato (aka walk designer), or feet nailed to the floor type IK stuff.

• I think we're talking about the same; in order to move the girl to Z=10, you're moving the hip to Z=10 and leaving the body at Z=0, and so you lose the body rotations but instead are doing only hip rotations - but on the other hand the feet have absolute positioning, because the body XYZ does not change.

I on the other hand get irritated on seeing the big body circle staying back at Z=0 while the toon is actually at Z=10, as that makes difficult to select the body with the mouse (have to press F2 all the time to get the body). When the body circle is far away it may even get out of camera.

Now, one thing I still didn't get; you said you like to use FK, and to move the hip around and keep the body back at XYZ=0, correct? So how do you keep the feet grounded without IK? The advantage of moving the hip is that you can position the feet XYZ absolutely with IK, but you use FK. So, do you use several keys to minimize foot slipping while in contact?

• Oh... I think you're saying you use a walker script, is that not? Those foot shadows at the floor are from the script?

• @fbs7
For me the body circle just keeps getting in the way, and the further it is from the character the less likely it is to be selected accidentally, even when it's turned off.

So how do you keep the feet grounded without IK?

The feet stay in place simply by using correct poses. 6 keys per second is more then enough to get 80% of the animation correct. The rest are just minor adjustments. Try it when you are in the mood to experiment. You'd be surprised how big of a role the hip plays in animating a correct walk cycle. With IK, you'd be tempted to move the feet if they go through the ground, but with FK you'd have to adjust the hip, and or a combination of the thighs and shins.

The advantage of moving the hip is that you can position the feet XYZ absolutely with IK, but you use FK. So, do you use several keys to minimize foot slipping while in contact?

This was animated almost entirely with FK. It didn't even require too many major keyframes, and only minor adjustments every 2nd or 3rd frame. With IK it might not be possible to get such a smooth action. It would look/feel too mechanical.

Those foot shadows at the floor are from the script?

Those are just simple torus props as a guide for the feet, because there is no IK used to block out the steps. They are scaled so that the heel is at one end and the toes at the other ;]

• I see; thank you for the explanations!

Man, Poser really should a Walker thingie, that you move the footprints around the thing move the feet to them automatically. Would be a huge time saver!

• @fbs7
Wouldn't that be nice? And you're welcome Fbs.

Here's another example that favors FK:

Notice how the last few steps she takes are on her toes... IK would not be very helpful with those kind of steps.

• @krios the IK chains are editable. You can certainly add the toes. In fact, you can have as many different IK chains as you might need and select them as appropriate.

Here's an example from a modified V4 figure (First the four default ones, then IK chains for a kneeling figure, and IK chains for a tiptoeing figure):

``````	inkyChain     LeftLeg
{
off
name LeftLeg
goal lFoot:1
}
inkyChain     RightLeg
{
off
name RightLeg
goal rFoot:1
}
inkyChain     LeftArm
{
off
name LeftArm
goal lHand:1
}
inkyChain     RightArm
{
off
name RightArm
goal rHand:1
}
inkyChain     LeftKnee
{
off
name LeftKnee
goal lShin:1
}
inkyChain     RightKnee
{
off
name RightKnee
goal rShin:1
}
inkyChain     LeftToe
{
off
name LeftToe
goal lToe:1
}
inkyChain     RightToe
{
off
name RightToe
goal rToe:1
}
``````

• @krios said in Need some help:

@fbs7
Wouldn't that be nice? And you're welcome Fbs.

Here's another example that favors FK:

Notice how the last few steps she takes are on her toes... IK would not be very helpful with those kind of steps.

I'm actually loving that foot shadow there; tell me what you use that for, again? is that to plan the position of the feet?

• @fbs7 said in Need some help:

@krios said in Need some help:

@fbs7
Wouldn't that be nice? And you're welcome Fbs.

Here's another example that favors FK:

Notice how the last few steps she takes are on her toes... IK would not be very helpful with those kind of steps.

I'm actually loving that foot shadow there; tell me what you use that for, again? is that to plan the position of the feet?

By the way, I once heard from Josh Whedon from Firefly and Serenity that the actress that did River acted with her feet. I never really understood that very well, but I can tell you got some real acting there with those feet! Very expressive indeed; you can clearly identify 4 states of mind from her feet alone - careful first, then doubtful or watchful, then uncertain, then decided.

Real skill on those feet, nicely done!

• @anomalaus
That code looks scary... do you plug it into the texture map editor? ;]
But it's good to know that it's possible to have multiple IK chains.
So it would be possible to switch IK chains between heel and toe for steps? Sounds technically advanced.
Thanks for the tip anomalus!