3 Dec 2011

Researching Quadruped Animation

The project is stepping into other stages of animating. A challenge of animating quadrupeds asks for some better research into approaches and techniques. To start with I have looked at real life references. BBC Motion gallery  and Frame Pool websites offer a great deal of sources.

For instance there is a variety of videos of wolves and dogs in differing  situations. Time lapsed videos and those X rayed ones were the most informative. 

At 11 second club , a website for animators, the topics of how to animate quadrupeds directed quickly to Edward Muybridge’s Books. The animators have discussed the images are as useful as giving 70 percent of the entire animation. Therefore this will too be the key source for animating the wolves.

Another hugely useful thing to do was to read about the general breakdown of dog’s move. Apparently, there are mainly 5 types of movement dogs/wolves do:
Diagonal walking – diagonal legs move simultaneously at the same direction
Pacing  - legs on the same side of the body  move at the same time and direction, there is more roling in the body than in trotting
Trotting - (inbetween walk and sprinting) legs move in diagonal pairs, leghtening the distance of coverage , but not  in simultaneous order , so that one of the  feet is  on the ground

Sprinting – ordinary run

Galloping – moving in a series of leaps , front legs then back legs hit the ground , barely touching the ground. (looks like flying).

The animation will be aiming to build a believable yet stylized animation, so I also looked at some existing animations of quadrupeds. Most interesting seemd to be   Andreas Deja, animator of The Lion King’s  Mufasa character take.


 In his opinion building animation of animals one has to suggest real animal qualities but in humanized shape (with expressions and body language, behaviour). Also, there are no hands which help to express a great deal of ideas, therefore the concentration goes onto the overall pose attitude, angles of head, face. 
Some other references are films which showcase some wolves animation, such as The Secret of Kells (2009), Princess Mononoke (1997), The Lion King (1994).

So far this was the initial research before going to animating the characters.

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