Animating a Walk Cycle (Manbunny B.T.S.)

Here’s a quick behind-the-scenes look at my process for animating the walk cycle of my Valentine’s Day “Manbunny Vibing” post.  Walk cycles are a great way to hone your character animation skills, and it’s something that I hadn’t done in a while and I felt I was getting rusty.  So I decided to level-up the only way I know how – by doing the dang thing.

Roughing in the main body volumes.

First I animated the main body volumes in Photoshop, which is shown in the gif below.  This was important to get the feet and body/head working together and reacting to the impact of the step.  The muzzle/face of the character started out looking like a bear/dog, which is just the default that I tend to draw.  The key for this was just to get the movement down – I knew I was going to have to go back and revise it to give it the manbunny face I wanted.

ManBunny_WalkCycleProcess_Body

Adding the secondary movements to the walk cycle.

Next I went through and animated the secondary movement of the walk cycle.  I roughed out both arms (in orange and purple), and the ear facing the camera (in green).  This is where I got to play with follow through, some squash/stretch, and overlapping action. While the arms are fairly staid, I had more fun pushing the secondary movements of the ears and the flower bouquet.

ManBunny_WalkCycleProcess_Secondary

Cleaning up the animation and adding the details.

I then did a final pass where I added in some finishing touches: the clothes, the bunny face, and the manbun (crucial, of course).  I also did a quick pass to clean up some of the line-work, but I didn’t tie it down too tight because I like some of the roughness to come through.  Using a pencil brush preset in Photoshop also helps in this regard because the line will always have some texture to it.

ManBunny_WalkCycleProcess_CleanUp

 

Finishing touches.

And lastly, I brought the finished walk cycle into After Effects.  I added some color to give a Valentine’s Day vibe, and added the Phi Unit track I was going to use.  I also stepped up the frame-rate – originally the walk was animated on 3’s but I brought that up to 2’s, and now it looks like he’s really moving!

ManBunny_WalkCycle_Final

And voila!  It was a great little exercise.  There are some things I might do differently next time, but overall, I’m happy with the outcome, especially since it helped me oil a rusty skill.  Here’s a link to the final Vine.

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