My run cycle looks wodden and lifeless

Hi guys/girls i have been using blender for a fair few years without ever realy getting into animation .But since i am now using blender in conjunction with unreal engine i need to start looking into it . I have created a run cycle for my character but it looks terrible .Could somebody maybe take a look and point out ways it can be improved .It is litteraly my first ever attempt at a run or walk cycle and im in over my head . Maybe somebody could even tweak it for me and explain what they did . Thanks guys here is the blend file


child_run_test.blend (4.55 MB)


Very nice mesh, did you model it yourself?
First thing that cached my eye is that torso and head are standing still. You can’t have natural animation that way.
When you transitioning weight from one foot to another head and torso are going up and down slightly. Also try to lean head a bit forward, you usually do it while running because of balance.
Hip should also rotate, if weight is on you left foot left part of hip should go up a bit.
Also you have keyframe every 5 frames?
You don’t need to be “clean” like that when it comes to animating humans (or animals). Organic movement is not mathematic.

Try using reference, I think you can find bunch of run loops on yt or vimeo.

This is a tutorial for a walk cycle, but you can use same tips for running too. It’s step by step explanation for human animation.

Also here you can find some useful tips for animation in general.

Happy animating!

You need to look at references, for example your body is at the same z location the whole time, this is strange for running because you’re really falling a bunch of times controllably while pushing the ground with your feet. Some of the poses are just strange like the one with both of the legs going backwards, if that happens in real life you’re probably going to fall. Also, how did you animate the rig? The one in the .blend isn’t a control rig so it’s probably very hard to use for animaion.

A bigger problem is the scene unit scale, normal scene units cause issues in UE4. You should use metric 0.01 scale and another rig, for example UE4tools.

Hi and thanks for the reply i forgot to mention that i know that he needs to drop down in certain frames. I used this picture for the cycle animation . Also The model and rig was imported from make human as i am more of a hard surface modeller than an organic one . Which is a roundabout way of saying after 9 years i still suck . What do you mean by how did i animate the rig? i moved the bones into position 5 frames apart and created locrotscale key frames . Is there a better way to do this ?

P.S the scale was set to centimetre i thought this was correct for unreal engine ?? Am i doing anything right lol (genuine question)

You can loosen it up a little. IE. The hand moves, then the forearm, then the upper arm then the shoulder then the hip and then reverse it going the other way. You can do that by moving the rotations a couple of frames which will give it a whip effect if that is what you want with a little overlap. If you want a cartoonish style you can “break the joint” by moving the forearm past where it normally goes on extremes. You can vary the back and forth of the arms in your in betweens so that it is not so robotic. Another words as the left arm is coming down vary the motion ever so slightly of the other arm, just be sure to end up with the same timing so it matches. Same with the legs. Add in your body movement, add a little head movement. Try a little side to side wiggle just a tad to give it more life feel. Good job so far.

For me when opening the file it’s set to Length: None, this should be Metric and the unit scale should be 0.01. You will need to scale the rig by 100 times, apply transforms (scale) for the rig and mesh and then redo any location (xyz movement) type animation.

I also tried this tutorial where character skeletal meshes were rigged to rotate them to just make animation running sequences,but it didn’t work out.