Character in Walk Cycles

By March 24, 2015 May 11th, 2016 Creative Research

In professional project I’ve been working with a series of character rigs I’ve built using models designed by classmate Ryan Shearer. The design of the character is a small robot which I’ve come to admire. This robot in particular has been fun to animate and I’d always made him feel like a young and adventurous character in his animations for our game.

I wanted to explore why the way he moved made me come to this conclusion. I started by animating a walk cycle that I thought would fit the character.

For a robot, I found myself wanting to give it as much character as I could. His head sways and his antenna follows, he moves his body around as he walks and swings his arms up pretty high. But as a robot, this character model could be made to achieve different results.

I tried making other walk cycles that toned down his body movement and increased the stricter and more military stance.

One of the inspirations for this character was Wall-E (2008) who is a perfect example of a robot with an adorable character. Later in the movie when he needs to be repaired, there is a scene where he forgets who he is and reverts to his default robotic programming. With Wall-E, his eyes were mostly used to emphasise the difference in character but he also restricts his body from going out-with the straight back and forward motion (as seen in his neck and head).

This walk cycle has a “happy go lucky” personality as his walk cycle is quite bouncy. His power centre lies somewhere around his chest. I made the head look outwards to emphasise the power centre as the character is not as concerned with what he is seeing in front of him but rather what is around him.

This walk cycle has the character looking straight ahead. His knees rise slightly higher and arms still swing moderately. The robot seems more focused on what he’s walking towards but still feels characterised rather than a robot.

The third walk cycle could be considered the “least characterised” but I think his stance says a lot about him. The static head and look upwards suggests an “empty” feeling in his head, as if following orders mindlessly. The arms are more rigid and the walking more uniform. Simply raising the arms would create a nice zombie walk.

Note: the rigs and character models were made for Professional Project, however all the animation posted here was made for this module.

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