Dragon walk animation

Since I can now use IK based animation with the game I tried working out the animations I left alone. In this case it is the walk animation. Only the legs are animated yet the head, body, wings and tail not. The model is a game model so it is supposed to be low-poly.

I would like to have CC on the animation cycle. Anything wrong or looking odd? What could be done better? What motion of the body would match? I thought about adding a slight bumping up and down but does a 4-legged animal even have that much bumping up and down as a 2-legged one has?


Walk animation - Side view
Walk animation - Front view

I’d comment on the walk animations, but for some reason I can’t view ANYTHING in quicktime.

The Dragon looks modeled well, now he needs some good scaley textures for his skin and a spine texture for the spines that run down the backs of most Dragons

Nice work on the motion of the legs. I recommend looking up some videos on how a lion or tiger walks…
The shoulders and hips should roll with the legs. The torso should twist and writhe a little as alot of powerful muscles are used to move the legs
Like I said, nice work so far, keep going!

The legs are animated very well.

The body is not. When four-legged animals walk (this is also true for two legged animals for the most part), the whole body moves. The hip bone moves contrary to the leg making the walk pressure (for instance, if you are currently supported on your left leg, as you move your right leg forward, you left leg is making the walking pressure, and the hip moves along with your right leg). Something similar applies to the shoulder bones, but the movement should be less notorious, I guess.

The whole skeleton is connected, so every part of it moves when you move something else, even though you don’t notice it. When you move your wrist, your shoulder bones move a bit.

The legs are very well made, on the other hand.

@Cyborg Dragon:
It’s XVid codec. Get it if you miss it. DivX should be able to play it too I think.

What exactly you mean with “rolls with the legs”?

As mentioned in my post, everything else expect the legs are not animated yet :wink: . It’s though also what I’m looking for. Currently only the hip is moved the way you mentioned but without the rest of the body following the motion.

I went back and looked at the video… so what I mean is that in your current animation the shoulders seem to only rotate at a static point. They should rise and fall a bit. Rise when lifting the leg, fall when stepping on it. I realized I can’t really see the hip, but it looks to me like the same thing applies, from what I can see. One small thing is that it seems like the toes curl a bit excessively. Making them not curl under as far might help. check out some videos of Jurassic Park or Reign of Fire for some good animation on dragons or dragon-like creatures.

Could be the fact that the body is not animated, but it looks like the legs movement goes to max speed then stops and has no acceleration/deceleration part in it, making it look a little bit jerky.
Good work so far :slight_smile:

Sidenote: those wings are never going to support it’s bulk.The supraspinatus and flexor alae major are way too small… or if it’s a sinew relay wing the back ridge needs to be way bigger.

The legs move fine, the secondary action with the claw is great. But slow the action of the walking down, I assume this is a great big lumbering dragon, so you need to simulate an element of weight with the walk. Let the dragon walk with the same presence as a lion.

You’re also missing a twisting motion of the body that is inline with the ‘shoulders’ and ‘hips’ of the dragon. The tail should be up off the ground and not dragging, even lizards keep a majority of their tails off the ground. This is a balance and should move opposite to each of the dragons rear steps. Basically everytime the dragon takes a step, that part of the body should twist towards the direction of the new step. So the dragon take a step with its front foot, the ‘shoulder’ should dip with the step and the other side of his shoulder should stay upright. The same applies to his hind legs.

As for the head, it should bob back and forth much like a bird does but slightly. As I said before, the it should convey a sense of weight. Watch Jurassic Park 1-3, you’ll get an idea of what I mean. If at a later stage too, you may want to apply a soft body effect to the belly to bake in with the walk. If this is too hard, just apply a bone assigned to the stomach and key it in yourself.

it make me think to a cat approaching a bird. Like when you really take care of the way you walk so as not make any noise.

The wings I think are a designers decision. If the dragon is meant to fly, then yes the wings are too small, they need to span as long as the entire length of the dragon stretched out from tail to nose. Look at the proportion of planes to get an idea of approximate length. But if the dragon isn’t meant to fly, like some flightless birds (penguin, ostrich, emu, kiwi bird) then the wing length is fine.

Ther’d be a first. A Flightless Dragon. Copyright © Phoenix123, 2007 LMAO jk :wink:

Nice animation, though I think the feet are a bit to floppy. Also the neck and head are to stiff need some movement there, as an animal walks the change from one foot to the other affect the neck and head to some degree.

Please read first. I said only the legs are animated. Neither the head, the body, the wings nor the tail are. They are currently just pinned at a given location for reference. Tips on how to do them is tough okay.

The curling could be reduced a bit, that’s correct. I did this to avoid hammering into the ground during the pulling forward sequence. Maybe I can tune this down a bit without running into the same problem again.

No, the wings are perfectly right. They are build upon scientific results ( aka aerodynamic calculations as well as comparing and analyzing aerial locomotion and flying animals ). It looks a bit off for most people because hollywood and games like to put oversized wings on overweighted dragons which is though not one inch realistic. Unfolded the wing span matches the body length ( as you phoenix123 mentioned correctly: wing span = snout-to-tail ). Bird wings also look much smaller folded then unfolded.

No, it’s not. The dragon is supposed to be lightweight. It’s a very agile and swift player character with emphasis on speed and agility. What goes though for a lion’s prowl this would be nice and I had a panther in mind when I did the over-stepping of the feet. I find it though considerably hard to get hold of this motion. It’s a very gentle and smooth motion tricky to imitate. Not sure where the problem is. Maybe the feet have to be longer in the air? And there will be no soft body things around. It’s a game model so I have to stay simple.

that walking is so realistic! nice work!

Some updates.

I had changed the bone location before to test how it works but now I tried to get it done correctly using rotations of the spine. This had been rather problematic but I think I managed to get something done that should work.

I animated now the body including the tail. The head is not yet animated since there exists a particular problem. The in-game camera is attached to the head so the movement currently is a heck of jerky. I’ll try to get this fixed using an IK at the head. I have to test this later on.

I also reduced the curling of the hand and feet. Looks better in my opinion.

Keep the CC coming.

Walk animation - Side view
Walk animation - Front view
Walk animation - Back view

Is he supposed to be walking on a ceiling or is WMP playing it upside-down for me? Lol, anyway, one thing i notice, although it would be easier if i didn’t have to stand on my head properly, is that theere is no twist in the waist yet.

I guess you’re going to have to keep refining the look of it.

Plays all fine here with proper orientation. Using though WMP is a WTF in itself :smiley:

Looking at the side view, the spine seems stiff…like a rocking boat. There is a definite central point that the eyes are drawn to and which rocking is centered about. Perhaps is the shoulders and hips could be “disconnected” from each other so that the back doesn’t seem so unnaturally stiff, that would be good.

iiiii like it. keep it up. good model too.

Forgot to say that I did not touch the center spine bone yet. I don’t know how to move this one without disturbing the setup. I’ll see what I can do to get the stiffness out. What you think, should the center spine stay mostly in place or bobbing up and down too like the rest? Judging from the situation I would guess mostly in place but I could be wrong on this one.

Well done. Now all it needs is for the head and neck to move slightly forwards and back and the wings to bob up and down a bit (maybe get the wings to open and close out a little bit too like an accordian)

The laws of secondary motion my friend, secondary motion…