Character Prep for “Pieces Parts” Walk Cycle

Whether you began by drawing, using cut paper or digital files, you will likely use imaging software, like Photoshop or Illustrator, to prepare and build your character for the “pieces/parts”  walk cycle.

IMPORTANT: Unless you plan to do true frame-by-frame and not Cel animation, make sure that your pieces/parts are on a transparent background!

Break it Down!

It is important to break down each of the joints into separate pieces making sure to overlap each piece with a circular shape as if you were going to connect them with pins or rivets; this will help prevent angular “holes” when they move.

Create each of the following separate pieces, ON IT’S OWN LAYER:

  • Head
  • Neck
  • Torso (Separating upper and lower optional but looks more natural)
  • Left Upper Arm
  • Left Lower Arm
  • Left Hand (or Hands)
  • Right Upper Arm
  • Right Lower Arm
  • Right Hand (or Hands)
  • Left Thigh
  • Left Lower Leg
  • Left Foot (Recommended: toe & heel separately)
  • Right Thigh
  • Right Lower Leg
  • Right Foot (Recommended: toe & heel separately)

Here are a couple of examples:

Both examples are using the 3/4 view instead of a full profile. This tends to be more interesting, even though it isn’t as accurate.

Hand-drawn and scanned in…(His neck is included in the torso…another option). In this example, the background will need to be eliminated, and the figure assembled, with some overlapping at the joints. Also, the coat might need to be broken into a front and back layer, so that the legs can be “inside”.

Traditional drawing of historic man to be scanned for walk cycle.

A little dragon…he has extras, like eyes and jagged tail parts. In Illustrator, each piece would be created on its own layer. This exploded view simply gives you an idea of the different parts.