Animating a Run Cycle

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Nov 20, 2006

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Run Cycle
Autor: Rodri Torres | Date: Agosto 2.005 | Translation: Francesco Campobasso | Revision: 0.4

This document explains how to create a run cycle working with curves. This workflow can be used in any 3D software able to work with animation curves.

The axes mentioned in this document can vary depending on the software used. Although I have used Maya to do this tutorial, I have also shown the axes for 3d Studio Max.

The time (frames) used for this exercise is 20 (10 frames per stride). The time of the software should be adjusted to 24 fps (film).

We will be using 20 frames just to simplify the exercise, since the main poses will correspond to frames 0 � 5 � 10 � 15 � 20.


Until I know there are 2 main ways of animating cycles of any kind, poses and animating independently the different parts of the body.

This tutorial is based on the second one, animating independently each part of the body creating cycling movements.

At first, if you have never animated a cycle like this, and if, as I was, you are too used to the pose to pose thing, doing cycles this way can be a little strange.

Once you understand the thing and the way of creating cycle in this way the results are more than good.

It goes without saying that the author of this document hasn't developed this "technique" or way of doing cycles, which is well known by professional animators.

To complete this tutorial it is recommended having medium/high knowledge of the use of the animation curves.



click for larger version

Rough curve in TY. Probably to achieve a good timing you will need to key mor frames creating little holds ...

We begin animating the up and down of the hips on the corresponding axes. (TZ 3DsMax � TY Maya).

It's the most important thing and the part in which all the rest of the cycle will depend on... just think that the hips are a bouncing ball... trying to giving weight and rythm.

We should fix until we are satisfied but without killing yourself, because later, we will surely need to fix this curve.

The skates

Just when we have finished working the hip we can go with the feet. As if it was a walk cycle...


click for larger version

This curve is the TZ of one foot. The other foot should have the same curve but reversed.

... we animate the traslation of the feet in TZ, or the one that correspond.

With a bit of imagination, when you finish this step, you should be able to see the rythm that we have in our animation.



Aug 06, 2010
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good .. thank you..

Oct 07, 2010
Post id: 12695
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Thank you for this tutorial, easy to follow and interesting. If you 'd like to have a transcription in french, I could do that for you.

Dec 26, 2010
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very very interesting

View bunmatoyota's profile
Mar 24, 2011
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very very interesting

Jul 05, 2011
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thanks - very helpful and interesting!

the videos links are no longer valid, just FYI

Jun 10, 2013
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Nice tutorial thx I share this link aswell hope will help some others!!!

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