Category Archives: Animation

Zombie Run

My brother kindly did the reference footage for this, but won’t let put it on youtube because he says he looks like an idiot.

I was aiming to have the  red arm look as though it was reaching out to grab someone, as this was initially going to be combined with Amy’s running Malcolm as part of our lip sync animation and interacting between two character’s animation.

Lip Sync Redone


This time I stuck to what the book suggested and started planning it all out then doing the core poses of the face- though I’m really only focussed on the mouth for what Amy and I have planned.


These are the key mouth shapes that are made when the line, “Here’s an FYI, you’re all gonna die screaming” is sung.


















I have sketched out what shape the mouth should be in when making these sounds in my sketchbook. I used the images I had found for mouth shapes, and reference footage that I had taken to get the most accurate mouth movement.



Strutting Walk Cycle

What I did

By referring to a page I found in online of Preston Blair’s walk cycles, I started blocking out the poses for my character.

I then just kept going back and tried to add more subtly to Jack’s movements to give him a bit more swagger, then I showed it to Amy who gave me some helpful feedback on it which let me go back and tweak the movement on the upper body to make it less robotic:

  • Maybe the upper area of the torso is a bit too stiff, some follow through on the upper arms when they move with the shoulders could help (so they go back beyond the position of the shoulder so it’s not so straight/static?)
  • Also maybe there should be more pressure on the foot when it contacts the ground?



  • Lower leg position to come forward a bit more on stop
  • Knees should come in on the step back

Corrected Version

Video reference: My brother won’t allow me to upload it.

I changed the y rotation of the foot to -10 at the back position, compared to the -20 degrees at the forward position to bring the knees in closer.

I then moved the foot forward to 5 instead of 4.

The video reference helped to make sure the animation was smoother and more natural.

Lip Synch

First attempt

I tried to get the mouth shapes for the various words that the character has to say, but then I realised that I was making more work for myself because I would then have to adjust all the key frames on the time slider for the various facial muscles to fit them in the correct time frame.

Starting Out:

Full Length:

Second attempt

This time, I added the audio into the maya scene and adjusted the time slider so that I would be focused on one word at a time, ensuring the timing was correct before moving on to the next word.


There’s already a clear improvement from the first attempts, however, it noticeably falls out of sync towards the end. I had been so focused on moving the lips that I forgot that the chin moves as well when people speak, so when I went back to add it in, it interfered with the lip movements.

The book cited below really helped to plan out and then improve my lip sync, although, when I only got it after I had initially got the rough shapes, so I used it to tweak the movements.

I’m going to start again, so there is a good foundation to build upon.


Roy, K. (2014). Facial Animation. In:  How To Cheat In Maya 2014. Oxon: Focal Press. p246-p260.



  1. Looked at the reference images in The Animator’s Survival Kit.

  2. Picked which rig to use.
  3. Pose the rig in the main poses (blocking)

  4. Added in between poses
  5. In spline mode

  6. Key the arm positions

  7. Outcome: 
  8. Clean up the graph editor, removing any unnecessary keys.
  9. After clean up and then slight tweaking.
  10. Outcome:

NOTE: Towards the end of the jump it looks a little bit like the rig slides to a stop, but looking in the side view it is actually off the ground, just the perspective makes it a little hard to see, this is why I added the boxes to show him landing.


Williams, R. (2001). Walks. The Animator’s Survival Kit. London: Faber and Faber. p102-173.

Standard Walk Cycle

I had already done a walk cycle with the Fred rig during the summer, (see post here). Although, the character was older so he had more of a shuffling gait.

This time I decided to use a more youthful looking character, and within two hours managed to create a fairly good walk cycle. Sometimes when his feet lift there’s a bit of a jerk but I’m not entirely sure why.

I started from the feet up, then went back over the rig several times to tweak it. The main sources of frustration were the feet, and I’ve finally got them into a place where I’m satisfied with them.

Next I’m going to try and get him walk up stairs, and then I will try using the zombie rig using some reference footage taken of my brother.

Stages I went through to accomplish this walk cycle:

  1. Translate z on the right foot
  2. Do opposite direction on left foot
  3. Lift the feet
  4. Rotate toes so they faced outward
  5. Try and control the heel, so the feet go heel to toe
  6. Rotate x on foot to raise it and lower it at an angle
  7. Rotate the pelvis to swivel and raise/fall as legs move
  8. Rotate the torso
  9. Lower the arms
  10. Move the elbows
    Front view:
    Side view:
  11. Animate arms in the opposite direction to legs (left arm forward, left leg back)
  12. Rotate the torso in the opposite direction to hips (had them going the same initially)
  13. Animate the head to follow torso
  14. Tweak torso rotation to follow shoulders
  15. Curl digits on the hands into fists
  16. Tweak hips to rotate in the opposite direction to shoulders
  17. Add body rising and falling with stride
  18. Tweak feet movement again
    Front view:
    Side view (red fixed, before fixing):
    Side view (both fixed):


Final walk:

Perspective view:

Perspective and Side view:

Research Citated:

Williams, R. (2001). Walks. The Animator’s Survival Kit. London: Faber and Faber. p102-173.