There’s this awesome animation book called The Animator’s Survival Kit. It is everything under the sun that you need to know about animation. Unfortunately this book doesn’t contain information on CG programs but it has extremely well illustrated examples concerning how to animate in 2D. One of the last things that we learned in the animation class that I took was how to animate a walk. The most important thing about the walk cycle is,
In a walk, or anything, I make the contact positions first– where the feet contact the ground with no weight on them yet. It’s kind of a middle position for the head and body parts– neither an up or down. I know where the highs and lows are and then I break it down. Another reason I do it is because it makes a scene easy to plan.” — Milt Kahl
Animation by Lauren Pak
Plainly, I am no professional, but I will explain the basic breakdown of a walk cycle. The cycle begins with four main positions. The contact position, down position, pass position, up position, contact position(where the other leg passes through). Then the cycle repeats with the other leg.
Although the video of the walk cycle is really short and the drawing above looks fairly simple, it is actually a lot of work. In just five seconds there are 60 drawings. These are captured by a camera on 2s, so I held the drawing for two frames. Each joint follows its own pattern, as illustrated below. Notice that the patterns that the body follows are curved. It is impossible for the body to move in straight lines; if illustrated this way the movement won’t feel or look natural.
Photo belongs to: http://cyberdog.wikispaces.com/file/view/WalkCycle_Side.jpg/30505746/WalkCycle_Side.jpg, edited by Lauren Pak