Animating a Run Cycle

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Nov 20, 2006

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The arms

For the arms the thing that should be easier to do is probably to deal with them the same as we did with the legs, I ean, posing the main poses first (poses workflow).

We'll need only two poses to begin with:

Frame 0 and 20 : Pose 1
Frame 10 : Opposite to Pose 1


It's imoprtant that the arms rotations in both the poses are similar. The bet thing to do is copy the rotation values from an arm to the other.


The wrists initially should be posed as in the image above. In the front arm they are rotated a little up and inside. In the rear arm you have to rotate the wrist backwards and inside too.

Overlap (of curves).

Though you could have already done this, the curves overlapping is something that probably you should do at the end for an organization reason.

We overlap the curves in the spine, arms and head to achieve a smoother and realist movement.
What we are trying to do is to have an uneven and gradual movement.
There is no fixed rule in the values of these fixes. They can be for 1, 2, or 3 frames or even 0 (the lacking of frames).


It's possible that some parts needs more attention, therefore is interesting trying to look at improving the archs or overlapping�s around all the body and animation.

The last review

At this point we should take another look at all the curves of our cycle to ensure that all is as we want it to be.
It's an usual thing to forget to put some curve in cycle, smooth some keys or leave ot so clean curves.
We have to try to make all work the best way.

Remember to remove the frame 0 or 20 before you render the thing. This is done to avoid that 2 frames are the same frames. Doing this all will be smoother. You dont need to remove the keyframes, simply use the timeline to not show the last or first frame, thats all.

More animation

In this document I have not included comments about other things we could/should animate to improve the cycle.
There are a lot of details that we could animate to improve as...

- Animating the face.
- Squash & Strech in the body and/or face.
- Animating the fingers.
- Animating the shoulders.
- Etc etc ...

Main differences between walk and run cycles

1.- In the walk cycles there is always a foot in the ground. In the run cycles at some point both the feet are i the air.

2.- The timing/Spacing are different in the run cycles.

3.- I the run cycles the arms moves in a more energetic way (most in the cartoony cycles).

4.- The body leans ahead in the run cycles.

Ref.: The Animator Survival Kit

Final notes

All this has no use if you use it as a simple tutorial doing the steps just for doing it without thinking about each step and why we do this and that. What is really interesting is to know and study how a cycle is done the locomotion I mean.

The author of this document is open to any comment, critique or suggestion anyone could give.

Special thanks to...

>> To Emiliano Mart�nez for the great italian translation. Thanks Emiliano!
>> To my good friend Francesco Campobasso for this translation. Gracias mil :)

...all those that directly or indirectly has collaborated with writing this document.
...the Aniguild members for their cotributions and comments.
...the DeathFall staff for the support and help.
...the team at ArsAnimaci�n, without them, all this probably will not exists.

To,,,,,,, and other sites for their support.


Aug 06, 2010
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good .. thank you..

Oct 07, 2010
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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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