Guru knowlege needed for noob animator please

Hi guys it was suggested I post my question here,

Im learning character animation and have the animators survival Kit which Im learning heaps from, but I realy have probs with getting fluid movements when using IK even when i try and clean up the arcs (might be to many loc keys) also when I change the key curve type in the ipo editor for a single key it changes it for all the keys and not just the selected one ? :spin:

PS : thanks for the tips lancer they helped me with my momentum problem.

Decided i will try and animate another rig just in case my rig is causing issues and not just my noob animation experience, still keen on any tips though :smiley:

Yeah all the ipo curves have to be the same ( linear, bezier etc…) , hopefully we’ll be able to set them independently in future versions . You’re going to find a lot of little things in Blender that you’ll have to work around, it can be a real pain sometimes but you do end up learning quite a lot in the process. Keep at it and have fun!

Yes, keep your keyframing simple. Don’t use a lot of keys.

A good way to do this is plot the start position and the end position first for any given motion.

I’ll usually do that first, then work out the drag position or the anticipation position for example on a hand.

Basically work big and gradually add only what you need to control the motion in key places. That way the motion curve itself gives you the fluid motion.


Hand from hip to a window ledge.

1 Hand on hip position.

2 Final position on ledge

3 hand drag position after it moves off of hip.

4 hand anticipation position (above ledge and opposite rotation from drag position)

Let the curves do the rest. Then tweak starting in the middle perhaps (to reset the drag position as an example and to place an arc in the movement). But keep it clean and simple.

Can you post an example of what you’re talking about? As I said in the other thread, IK posing is not for arcing motion. If you want a freely arcing limb, you really have to use FK posing, unless you want to basically key every frame (which is of course the wrong answer).

If you can’t post an example, could you clarify the reason why you’re not using FK in this case?

Hi thanks for the good advice, heres a couple of pics seeing as a pictures worth a thousand word, basicly im just practicing my walk and run cycles using pose to pose and using ik on the legs then i use fk on the arms, done a quick test on the Pantin rig by Kiopaa and noticed better animation paths on the feet compared to mine, mine are pretty linear and when I add keys to pull the paths out so they are smoother the feet start laggin behind and getting jerky.


Seems like the up key follows the down key on the foot too closely. I think maybe Richard Culver had it when he said to use fewer keys. Key your extreme positions first. That is, the foot at its highest position, lowest position, furthers forward, furthest back, etc. Make sure these keys are all properly spaced out. The high position should come roughly midway between the two low positions for example.

The FK/IK stuff you seem to have right though. It seems to be just mainly a matter of spacing your keys right.

thanks again for the replys I done another picture example thought i would upload it as well seeing as its done.

Sudai :slight_smile:


Hi everyone

I had lots of goes, and still have a foot lag issue, I know my lack of character animation skills dosen’t help, but thought I would post a blend and see if anyone wants to have a look at and pass on some advice, or am I still doing the same thing thats already been answered ?

After all the trials I have done, Ive narrowed it down to the keys I insert when Im planting the foot after the heel strike.

Thanks for any help


Gudge_footLag.blend (388 KB)

I’m at work, no 3d card so no Blender, will try to remember to reply when I’m home. Anyways, why is your run cycle so varied, Are you starting from a stop? If so You need to drop the body at the beginning. Here’s the keys you should probably need off the top of my head. 1)Start position 2)contact 3)release 4) top of arc 5)contact 6)release ,etc about 4 keys per step to start out with. 1 at the top of the arc, and 1 for contact with floor, the other for the hold/release of the foot. If it’s a run cycle there won’t be much of a hold, but a good rule is to hold for 2 frames at least if it’s a key pose, and touching the ground would probably be key. :wink: I am sorry you are having difficulty with this. Hopefully we can get you on the right path soon.

You are getting a little knee pop there, because of the timing I think.

There are some Muybridge walk gifs here:

I know I give scant information about actual keyframes and positions, but maybe you can get something from it. At least have a good look at those gifs for poses and timing.

Hope that can help some.

Cheers for the feedback I plan to keep at it until its second nature and smooth, might take a decade or so :yes: trying to learn pose to pose, thought I would post this thread incase it was something obvious I was doing wrong and slowing my progress will start another fresh scene later thanks again for the help.


Yeah. You really have to keep doing it. I am no expert on walk cycles but I do know it took me probably about 12 attempts or more before I even had anything close to workable. Even doing tutorials. It is not easy. But have you tried the BSOD tutorial on the walk cycle? Pretty basic, but it works.

@ Richard Culver

I’m trying to work my way through the animators survival kit here’s the link to my last walk I loaded on Vimeo have been trying to figure out what Im doing so wrong with the legs and feet ever since, I guess its just a case of lots more trial an error I have stopped doing a couple of mistakes with the tips posted but the feet lag still confuses the hell out of me .

Well it is also a very easy thing that can happen with IK. It will pop at the knees like that. That is just IK being confused at that frame. The problem is IK needs to have a bend. But the leg, if done right, will come completely straight during the cycle where the weight of the body is being supported by it. This can confuse the IK solver and you get a pop. I am not sure 100% that that is what is happening here, but it looks a lot like it.

A solution would be to either bring the body back a few inches so that it does not pull on the leg or you can also introduce an IPO curve to adjust IK/FK influence at that part of the cycle.

I am actually an animator, maybe I can give you some advice (the same that made me be a better animator).

First you did the right thing taking on the book and willing to learn from the basics.

Second thing: animators are actors, you have to feel the acting on you. Try to take a walk and feel what you are doing, nowdays it is automatic to walk and you have to try to think what are you doing and understand how does it work. You can also try to watch yourself in a mirror if you have one big enough.

Third: remember the weights of your characters and then work on the timing. I can assure you that even using the instruments badly you can do really good animations (and make the other animators mad when they have to fix problems on your things :smiley: ) but anyway focus on the acting! You are trying too much to use IK or IPO and forgetting the acting. Focus on the action and then think how you can do it in CGI.

After that remember that good animations are the one in which the character has a personality. So finish your first plain walk cycle and then try modify it with a meaning in it: try to make the character sexy, depressed or fancy walker.

One rule above all the others:


If you have no fun to do this thing just quit, fun is the most important thing.

Good luck!

I am all for the having fun part! :smiley:

There is a factor relating to the mechanics however. I would not agree to totally discount it. You do have to get through that I believe. You will have to eventually blow through this phase of thinking about and working through the technical mechanics. It is part of the process. Then it will be easier to think about and do more emotional things with your characters.

But I have found that IK sort of gets in the way of a good walk cycle. At least the way I like to animate one.

I also whole heatedly agree with Lord M about acting. Good pointers there.

It was through this kind of self-observation and just going out and looking at a lot of people that I came up with my own approach.

Don’t misunderstand Richard, I am totally to use the right instruments, but for a beginner I think is more important to get results than focus on the instruments or he/she can be discouraged to continue because “animation is complicated and not fun”.
I always listen about this kind of blaming. Blender is way more logical and easy in my opinion that other software so it is also easy to get quickly the software to work and do what you want.

I totally agree also with observation of reality, watching video sequence or whatever references you can get. I think we are saying the same thing with different words here, hope that I exaplained myself.

All the thing about IK was for Sudai that has to focus on posing the character and then understand the mechanics. Sudai is really close to a good result but I think the part that needs attentions is the key poses of the character instead of the tecnical aspects.

Example: you can’t feel the character really lifting his body on the stairs, it lacks fo some delays and he has no sustain for his weight.
Or while walking he is waving the arms but no shoulders movements ar involved, same for legs and hips: when you lift a leg the weight goes to the other one and your pelvis will rotate pushing up one hip and down the other (more for women than men because of anatomy). Just putting attention to the main poses this animation can be a lot better.

Then when you learn how to play with IPO you can just do better things of course but first I think that are the idea and the pose more important.

On this matter I almost forgot a last advice:

Learning animation is a long long way to HELL! Doing 24 to 30 frames for a second of acting is nuts! Anyway I am really happy to be nuts :smiley:

Hey thanks for the words of wisdom just what I was after, a bit of insight into the world of cg that you can’t find in a book, I will do what Richard suggested to try with the Ik and focus more on the journey of the character rather than getting all bogged down with the technical, thanks to everyone that took time out to answer my questions.

Sudai :smiley:

OK cool. Got it. Yeah, that is a good point. It is easy to loose focus on the communication and get bogged down on the technical. There has to be a good balance.

And I agree on the points. Weight is important.

I actually know weight this is taught in traditional animation, but I think the way most schools of thought teach the walk cycle is wrong. That is from many many hours of tutorials and personal observation. It is just my opinion and to be taken as such. But I can always tell when an animator does a walk cycle from this school of thought.

To explain my opinion as clearly as I can it is like this:

Gravity is pulling the character down to the ground at 9.8 per second per second

Never mind the technicality but that is a lot of force. The only way to stop that force is with a good strong support system. In architecture such weight and force is stopped with straight pillars.

Notice the similarity with this pose as the character stands:

Although the leg is tilted forward it is locked at the knee.

It is the same as this pose here.

So walking and standing take the same mechanics. It is a process of propping the body up like a pillar, letting it fall forward to a contact point which is not a key pose to the next full weight pose which is the next key pose. Everything else is transitional and variable. Because walking is only one expression of movement. Hoping, leaping, dancing etc. are all variations of this motion and require different contact points but the weight poses are more or less consistent.

This is not the way it is taught traditionally in a walk cycle. The problem with this traditional school of thought - I go into more of that in this link - is that it is limiting. And it makes for great walk cycles but not for anything else really.

Now the problem with this as it relates to IK is that IK does not do well with the chain coming to a fully straight locked position. It will pop in and out of this pose and is very disturbing.

When your character does anything else but walk in a straight line very rapidly or running, you have to rethink the mechanics of the walk cycle.

I found for my own use - my opinion really - that it is better to think from weight to weight. And I think from observation of my own body and watching people walk on the street, that is is a closer match to reality.

And when you look at a casual walk such as this it is clear as day what is actually happening.

The leg becomes a pillar, the knee locks up and the leg simply falls forward as the other leg finds another place to plant itself as a pillar - by way of a contact point - and the cycle repeats.

Once this idea is grasped and you are working with these mechanics, you can now convincingly stop the character at any point, turn casually, mill about, hop, jump, whatever. And it all follows the same mechanics If you were to animate ballet, this would be essential IMHO.