LightWave Walk Cycle

Based on LightWave 3DS Chacrater Animation by Doug Kelly, Ventana Books, ISBN 1-56604-532-0

A walk cycle has three main key poses, repeated on each side For a walk cycle of 33 frames, key frames occur as follows:
161117222733
Left Heel SrikeLeft SquashLeft Passing Right Heel SrikeRight SquashRight Passing Left Heel Srike

Ground Null
____CG (Center of Gravity) NULL
________Hips
____________Chest
________________Head
________________Left UpperArm
____________________Left Lower Arm
________________________Left Hand
________________Right UpperArm
____________________Right Lower Arm
________________________Right Hand
____________Left Thigh
________________Left Shin
____________________Left Foot
____________Right Thigh
________________Right Shin
____________________Right Foot
Here you see the physical organization and the parenting hierarchy of the jointed figure. Notice that the GROUND_NULL is the parent of everything-- it is responsible or forward movement. Next comes the G_NULL__ the center of gravity. It is responsible for up and down movement of the entire figure, particularly for keeping the feet on the ground. The Hips is the first actual part of the body to appear in the hierarchy. As the hips move, so moves the rest of the figure. The rest of the hierarchy-- thighs to shins to feet, or the chest-upper arm-lower arm-hand branches are pretty obvious.

The hips and chest have ball joints where the next level of hierarchy attaches. Each of lower member has its pivot point at the center of the ball joint of its parent. So the chest pivot is in the center of the hips' ball joint (on top.)

Ground Null Settings

The X value of the Ground Null for this figure, should be 0 for Frame 1 and -1.5 for frame 33

Center of Gravity Settings

The center of gravity (CG NULL) moves up and down-- up during the passing and down during the heel strike.
Fr 1Fr 6Fr 11Fr 17Fr 22Fr 27Fr 33
Left Heel SrikeLeft SquashLeft Passing Right Heel SrikeRight SquashRight Passing Left Heel Srike
Y Value: .87.91.95.87.91.93.87

Hips settings


Heading rotations push leading leg forward during heel strike. Larger heading values may seem more feminine.
Bank rotations raise ledaing leg for clearance during passing.
Hips are pitched forward slightly for faster movement. (5 °)

Fr 1Fr 6Fr 11Fr 17Fr 22Fr 27Fr 33
Left Heel SrikeLeft SquashLeft Passing Right Heel SrikeRight SquashRight Passing Left Heel Srike
Bank: 0300-300
Heading: 10  -10  10

Chest Settings

The chest moves in dynamic balance, opposite to the hips. The Bank values are roughly double those of the hips.
Fr 1Fr 6Fr 11Fr 17Fr 22Fr 27Fr 33
Left Heel SrikeLeft SquashLeft Passing Right Heel SrikeRight SquashRight Passing Left Heel Srike
Heading -20  20  -20
Bank 00-30030

At this point, it is easier to have the figure walk in place, so set the X value of the Ground NULL in Frame 33 to 0. You will change this back later.

Thigh Settings

Fr 1Fr 6Fr 11Fr 17Fr 22Fr 27Fr 33
Left Heel SrikeLeft SquashLeft Passing Right Heel SrikeRight SquashRight Passing Left Heel Srike
Right thigh Pitch: 26.59.5 -26.5-24.8 26.5
Left thigh Pitch: -26.5-24.8 26.59.5 -26.5

Shin Settings

Fr 1Fr 6Fr 11Fr 17Fr 22Fr 27Fr 33
Left Heel SrikeLeft SquashLeft Passing Right Heel SrikeRight SquashRight Passing Left Heel Srike
Right shin Pitch: 056001700
Left shin Pitch: 017005600

Arm Settings

Fr 1Fr 6Fr 11Fr 17Fr 22Fr 27Fr 33
Left Heel SrikeLeft SquashLeft Passing Right Heel SrikeRight SquashRight Passing Left Heel Srike
Right Upper arm Pitch: 26.5  -26.5  26.5
Left Upper arm Pitch: -26.5  26.5  -26.5
Right Lower arm Pitch:0  -45  0
Left Lower arm Pitch: -45  0  -45

Feet

CG should be adjusted so heelstrikes are in contact with ground. One or two frames after a hee stike, foot should be flat on ground and remain so until just before the next heel strike, when it can rise a little on its toe. You will constantly have to adjust the CG to keep the foot flat on the ground. You will also have to adjust the foot's pitch, adding extra key frames, so it is flat on the ground when it is bearing weight.

Skating and MoonWalking

You can now restore the movement of the entire figure on the X axis. Set the X position setting for the Ground Null to -1.5. Previewing the movement should show a lot of skating and maybe some moonwalking. You must now go in and adjust the Ground Null (and maybe also the CG Null) to eliminate skating and moonwalking, again adding more keyframes. If you have to, every frame will be a keyframe, to get the forward speed right.

Looping the Walk

All of the motions except the Ground Null forward motion, can be easily looped in the Graph editor. In the upper right corner of the Gra[h Editor is a box called "End Behavior." This is a pop up menu-- set it to Repeat.

The Keyframes for the Ground Null X movement have to be copied,pasted and then shifted. Click on Copy/Paste. It will offer to copy frames from 0 to 33 and paste them at 34. You should change the start frame to 1 and accept theother two values. The movement of the first 33 frames will be repeated in the second 33, causing the figure to jump back, and repeat the identical movement. This time, in the Graph Editor, select SHift Keys. Tell it to start with 34 and end with 66. Tell it to shift value by -1.5

Your walk cycle is done.