Run Cycle in AE with DUIK | Chris Anderson | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Run Cycle in AE with DUIK

teacher avatar Chris Anderson

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

6 Lessons (45m)
    • 1. Intro

    • 2. Illustration

    • 3. Rigging

    • 4. Character Animation

    • 5. Hair Animation

    • 6. Conclusion

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

In this lesson we are going to design a character, rig the character using DUIK, and go through step by step how I like to animate a run or walk cycle.  Along the way I hope you pick up some useful tips and tricks that I use to help make animation much easier.


For offsetting animation


For using world position of another object



Meet Your Teacher

Hello, I'm Chris.  A Freelance Illustrator and Animator.  Over the past decade of working professionally in the motion graphics industry I have picked up a few tips and tricks that make animating a lot easier.  Hopefully the information I am sharing here helps you to become a more efficient animator.

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
  • Yes
  • Somewhat
  • Not really
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Intro: Hello and welcome to my second skill share class. My name is Chris Anderson. I'm an illustrator and animator, and today I'm going to show you how I go about creating a character and animating a run cycle. At first we will illustrate an illustrator, and then we will rig it in after effects, using a tool called Do IQ. Finally, I will show you different tips and tricks that I use when doing a run cycle. It would be great if you know a little bit of after effects. Maybe you do a lot of motion graphics, but you haven't quite made the jump to character animation. If that's you, this would be a great course for you just to get your hands into the Do IQ script and and figure that out. And it's a good time to do it because they just redid the interface recently. I've been using it for five years now and really got used to the way it waas, and they just switched it, and in a lot of ways it's a lot better, but it can be a bit overwhelming, so I'm really just going to focus on the bare bones of it. No one intended, really? No pun intended That just came out. Um, anywhere. Yeah. So if you're interested, um, let's jump in. 2. Illustration: Okay, let's begin. I have already sketched this rudimentary character earlier, and it's just a reference for myself because I'm going to illustrate using illustrator I usually sketching this up and down pose because it's it's most flexible. Once rude from this pose, you can go to any post, basically, is what I mean. When I illustrate each of these body parts, you'll notice that I am making each joint a perfect circle, and that is very important, although not completely necessary. But if it's not a perfect circle, when the knee bends, you're going to see the need pop out a little bit. One of the tools I liken Illustrator is called Blend, and it allows you to create two shapes, and Illustrator will create the shapes that go in between those two shapes that blend from one to the next. And what I would do is create like a hip and create an ankle and then use the blend to create the knee. And that way, if your ankle is smaller than your hip, the knee would be, You know, the middle size would be perfectly in the center, so I use that a lot. But for the most part, this is just straight up connecting circles to make each piece of the of the body. When making the foot, I like to make the toe it's gonna come and use. When taking a step, you kind of bend your ball of your foot. So from that point on the ball to the toe, make a separate shape. So the foot is actually two shapes on two different layers. I'm going to play it in fast forward because it's a lot of the same stuff, and it's is tedious work you can make. Your model is complicated, as you'd like. Any artwork will will work for our purposes. You don't have to be copying mind, but but I am making it extra simple just because I don't want to overcomplicate things. So as you can see, I have separated each body part onto a different layer. Some of my naming conventions You can use whatever you like, but I do arm rd for right down and are you for right up? Same with the legs and I am just making the right leg and right arm once we're in. After effects weaken, duplicate that make the left side but we don't need to do that right now, so once you have all of your layers, just save it and let's go to the next lesson and bringing it after fix. 3. Rigging: Okay, Once you've opened after effects, go ahead and import that artwork as a composition. When you open it up, you'll have all your layers. Just make sure you get rid of that sketch later if you have it. What I like to do is create shapes from my layers and then delete all the illustrator layers. This will come in handy later if you still needed to be linked to the illustrator layers for update purposes. Um, don't do it because that's gonna screw you. When you create shapes that adds the word outlines to your layer, and it really bugs me. So I'm just gonna quickly delete all the outlines and then we're just gonna focus on this right leg for now. Over here in this panel, I have Do it Basil open, which is do it new. I'll script. If you don't have it, just pause the video and go grab it. First thing we're going to do is click on leg, Do it does its magic, and it creates its structure ready to go. And it's really just about lining it up with your artwork. So if you grab the top bone, you will see that everything below it in the hierarchy just moves with it. And I'm gonna hold Ault, which will allow me to snap to the center of the circle in my shape layer, which is the center of the hip knee. And then if I grab the foot, snap it to where the foot goes, and then this is the ball of the foot. And then finally the toe holding all to snap to the center. Everything needs to be perfectly in the center. And then this final red piece is the hell. So once you have it all set up, you select all of the bones and there is, ah, Button says duplicate. And do it, Basil. Just click that it makes a second set of bones. This will be the left leg. I'm just gonna change the color because you'll see these layers add up real quick. So I'm gonna go ahead and select all of the bones in the original right leg and then and do it. Basil is a second tab on the first things. As auto rigs click that once it does, it's thing your eye case now set up. Those bones will all operate correctly. You just need to attach your artwork to the bones. So first I am duplicating the right leg and renaming it left so that we have both before we attach it. And now So I'm going to attach the leg. L you for l up to the thigh l d to the calf foot to foot and toe to toes. And just to make sure, let's turn off those bones. Click on the foot. It's moving around so you can see that do it has created the I. K. And it was just a matter of attaching our artwork to it. So since that is working, we need to do that again with the other bones. Select them all click auto Rick again, and once it's done, go down to find your Let me pull this up. We can see more is what I'm talking about. The layers really add up, so we're gonna connect the are you to thigh to R D to calf, too. Foot rto foot too, and toe to toes, too. So now you have both legs rigged with just move the foot just to make sure and that looks great because the ankles circle. It's kind of peeking out here below the foot, so I'm just going to create a mask with a shape layer. What I'm going to do is attach it to the foot and use a track matte on the leg to make it disappear. So putting it above the leg down but parenting it to the foot and then I'm leg down. I'm using Alfa inverted that should make it disappear. So one of my favorite updates with basil is Thea Bility to bend the foot at the ball of the foot and you'll see that on the foot control layer in the effect there's a controller called foot roll, and if you just slide that value, you can see it rotates the foot at the ball, and that is a great new feature. It was always a pain to make that work before, so that what I like to do is just shy all of the layers that I don't need because they have really accumulated here. Some shine all the bones and shine all of the leg artwork. Uh, and I also need to hide the bone. Sorry about that. The final thing we need to do is attach the thighs to the torso. Okay, Now, with the torso selected, we're going to hit. Why? Which allows you to move the anchor point. And we're gonna drag that anchor point holding Ault to snap to the center off the waste for the torso. And, of course, we need to attach the neck to the torso and head to the neck. Let me just quickly move the anchor points again, hitting why you could move that anchor point to where it belongs. Then, as you rotate the torso, they're all attached, but it feels very stiff. So I'm going to show you a little trick I like to do with the head and the neck. So we open up The rotation of the neck was our and I'm going to alter Click on rotation to start an expression and it says, transformed out rotation. But after that, I'm just gonna say, plus and then pick whip the rotation of the torso than times negative one. So I want the neck to rotate inversely compared to the torso. See how that works. Now I'm still able to rotate the neck because of the transform dot rotation. If I were to delete that you'd see that you can't edit the value anymore. Now this negative one seemed like too much, because while I want the head constantly look forward, I don't think the next should do all of the rotation. So I want the neck to do half the rotation and head to do the other half. So instead of negative one, let's do negative 10.5. Now the neck is Onley, rotating half off what the torso is doing. So on the head again, open up expression transformed at rotation plus. And this time will do open parentheses because we're going to add the torso rotation, plus the neck rotation closed parentheses, times they could have won the inverse of those. Now, when I rotate the torso, it feels much more natural. So, really, you wouldn't have to do key frames on the neck or the head. You could. You still can because of the transformed out rotation. But you really wouldn't need Teoh. As far as the arms go, we're not going to use inverse Kinnah Matics i k. We're gonna use f k fourth canto Matics, and that is just simply putting the anchor point where it belongs. Holding Ault to snap to the center of those circles and parenting them to each other, The hand to the arm down and the arm down to the arm up and the arm up to the torso. I always use fourth kid a Matics. If I know that my animation is not going to evolve the hand touching anything like a door knob, er or a table or something if it's just gonna be swinging the fourth King, Maddox is, is what you need to dio. So you don't even need do it for that. This hair we were going to deal with later, that's going going to be very dependent. Done the animation we do. So let's just hide that. Get that out of there. All right, that's looking good. It everything seems to be moving the way it should be. I will just undo get it back to its original post, and we will continue this in the next lesson. We will begin animating 4. Character Animation: Okay, let's begin animating. First thing I like to do in general is think about how I can accomplish the most. The quickest. There's a lot of moving pieces when it comes to doing a run cycle walk cycle. So how can you give yourself the impression of the movement with very little work? So what I point to do here is just animate the torso up and down to represent the speed at which this person is gonna be running. So go ahead and right click on the position and separate those dimensions, and we're just going to animate the wide position up and down. The lowest point should give a nice bend to the knee, and the high point should be higher than just a normal standstill For the low position. I'm just going to use an Eazy E's just F nine, or you could find that pull down for the high point. I'm going to select it and go to key frame velocity and Easy eases a 33% influence. But we want to do something much higher like 80%. So it feels like there's more hang time in this bounce, and he actually feels pretty good. So this is a 12 frames per second camp, and this little cycle is eight frames long, and I want that toe loop forever. So I am going to all click on the Y position and then this little arrow gonna drop down Goto property Lou about duration. So now the bouncing will just continue indefinitely. What I like to do is move the torso forward, slipping it forward so that the low point, the balance is almost unframed one right before the low point is when the front foot will touch the ground right after the touches where you are at your lowest if you're running so for the feet. I only want to actually animate one foot, and I want the other foot to have the same animation. But just be delayed by one step, and we know each step is eight frames in a 12 frame calm. So if I do eight divided by 12 that is 0.6 repeating. I'm gonna write an expression that says, Take the animation from the other foot dot value at a time. Parentheses, Time plus 0.666 So whatever the animation is on the first foot the other foot will also do 0.66 seconds sooner. Okay, So frame one. The foot is going to be furthest out touching the ground. And then after the dip, the foot is back, It's furthest back. And then at the height of its peak foot is kind of way up in the air. It really kicked off the ground. Just gonna rotate the foot down, and this will not be perfect. The first time around, they will go back and add it all of this and then copy and pasting the front foot and let me straighten this out of the foot. Doesn't go below the floor and fix his curves. It's a little nicer then rape before touches down. Who wanted to be kind in front? Actually, I'm realizing now that this should be planting for him. 16 not eight. So, see, I told you that is gonna be a problem. So right before it plants, I have the toe kind of pointed up, and here is its swinging past the center. I want to bring it down a little bit so you can see my path that it's following. It's kind of looking nice. I mean, we'll find out. Once we play it, you'll notice the other foot is stopping. That's because we need to loo about this animation forever. Then we also need to link the rotation of the second foot to the first foot and do the dot value at time in pregnancies time, plus 6 +66 close parentheses so that the rotation of the foot also follows the first foot. And then we need to loop the rotation on that first foot as well. So let me set a key frame on the first frame and making expression. This is Lou about duration. Is that so bad? But it doesn't have too much personality. So I want to kind of ease some of these key frames a little bit. Right? Click can't go to the key frame velocity of this high kick position. You see it's going through that point at 700 pixels per second, but full that down to 200 and give a nice sees to that. You'll have to adjust where the foot rotates to its max. You'll need to ease that, and that's horrible. So just play with these values until starts feeling better. If you're more comfortable with the graph editor. You could do that, but I never really got the hang of that. And I like the mathematics of key frame velocity personally, Just rotate that kind of over point That toe make a little more exaggerated. Feeling a little better Now, I want to fix this, uh, rotation on the foot here. So let me get one more frame where his foot is planted. Then we're going to roll that foot up and then the next frame pull it back. So it's kind of like more energy is a kicks off. Roll it up a little more the next frame. Take that roll off completely. It feels pretty good, but the other foot doesn't have it. So on the other foot, I'm just gonna put a key frame. So when I hit you, it opens up. Delete that key frame. Now you on the other one to pull open the foot roll and then tie that expression on again dot Value that time, time plus 6 +66 And then we just need to loop that foot roll, and then you should have both feet doing it. All right. It feels pretty good for the legs. So for the torso just want to lead him forward so it doesn't feel so robotic. Feels like it's kind of got some momentum moving forward. Well, animate their rotation a little bit. It goes forward and back. And that feels terrible. Oh, so has another situation where it needed to be doubled again. It feels pretty weird. This is a lot of time to just need to figure out how much you need to offset your animation because it's gonna give it a different personality for every frame that you offset it. Just keep moving it down the line until you find the one that kind of feels good. Now, the problem is, I already have a loop animation on the torso on the outside of the rotations, different than the torso. So instead of using expression toe, loop it, I'm just gonna duplicate all these frames that we should do a better way to do that, Okay, for the arms, then we need to apply that same delay to the animation that we did with the feet. So opening up expression on the left arm up and not value at time time plus 6 +66 and I'm actually just gonna copy that dot value at time and then do it to the arm. L d paste it in there on the hand pasted in there. So now you shouldn't have to worry about the left arm. And he should just be animated that right arm. So for this birth position, have the arm back and the lower arms gonna kind of bent, and then it frame ate It should be forward on that frame. 16. It should be back to the original. And that's the loop for the arm. Going to give it a nice influence. It feels very strange. We need to loop it. And it still feels strange because it's, uh it's just a little off. We need to slip that layer. Probably still even more, a little bit. They're in a fuel more natural. Maybe give him or influence. It's a little bit snappier. Kind of like that. So that I'm just gonna put a few different moves on this. Lower our arm down. It should be fairly stiff since she's running kind of tense, but I still wanted to have some drag to it once again. You just gotta push these values around kind of Imagine what you how you wanted to move fear at the point at which you see that drag happening. Just put it in there, hit play. And if it's not right to keep tweaking, I think a lot of times maybe we just it becomes a lot of key frames and it becomes hard to work with and eventually we just kind of settle on how it feels. We're going to say that's good enough because it's too hard to manage at this point, which is why I like to use these expressions to make it so that I have to use his little key frames as possible. That's feeling pretty good. It feels good, but what's missing is the torso should be twisting a little bit as she runs. So we need to move the position of the upper arm back and forth front to back as she runs. So first I'm going to attached to the position of the left upper arm to the right upper arm with the expression on the value of time at the end of it. Then we are going to put key frames on the right upper arm at the back, and then it framed eight. We're gonna push it to the front and then give it some ease. It's something gentle, like 50 and then do a looping expression and play and find out that it is not looking good . So we need to slip it back, the same as the rotation was happening because it was a little off. Now, on top of all this, I want to do a little squash and stretch on the entire body as she runs. So I'm gonna add adjustment layer, and the effect is called transform. What you could do is you can put the anchor point rated the rate the floor, make sure your position is the same as the anchor 0.8 14 in my case. So what that could do is now just scale up and down everything below, just as an effect. So as she's hitting the ground, she's squashing the frame rate before she hits the ground. She's stretched tall of the frame after she leaves the ground. She's sort of stretching up again on the peak of her height, she probably be just normal, squashing this 100%. That just gives a little bit more squishiness to her, Bitlis less rigid than before, and that's just a little something extra that makes her feel a little bit more organic. I like to maybe move this neck forward to make her feel like she's really pushing it. Maybe I'll throw some rotation on there as well. That kind of feels a little bit dragged behind the torso. I think a good animation probably is simple in its key frames, but everything has got something going on. So even if the neck is just bouncing a little, at least it's bouncing. It's not completely static. It's had a little drag to this head as well, so the first frame will have her chin pointing up a little bit. After she hits the ground, Chin points down just as a result of the drag. And then I copy and paste those on the eighth frame in the 16th frame. That's actually helping quite a bit. The one more thing I want to do is just add a little shadow on the back leg. I'm just gonna make a shape layer in the shape of shadow, being cast by her body, delete the stroke and then drop it down below. So it's just above the back leg left leg. And then there's this button preserved transparency. But this t and you click that, and it it just uses the transparency of every layer below. It just puts those pixels onto the layers below it pick a nice shadow color. I can adjust the shape a little bit, and then I think I want toe. Attach it to the torso. That is too much shadows. I want to bring in the back end of its with them sticking out. So far, it's feeling better. The problem, though, is it's casting this layer onto the shoe when I really only wanted on the leg. So what I'm going to do is duplicate the shoe, which is the foot in the toe. Put it above that shadow layer. But I'm gonna duplicate the shadow layer and put it above each of those layers, the foot in the toe, and then use a track matte Alfa man with shadow and then just color that shoe a little bit darker. So now it's just going to show a little bit of a darker shoe. Wherever the shadow is, I'm gonna paste that same color into the foot that I made in the toe. The male is better. There you go. There are all the key frames. It's not too bad. It's pretty good run. I hope your runs are turning out nicely as well. We're gonna try and tackle the hair on the next lesson, so stay tuned. 5. Hair Animation: in this lesson. I'm gonna walk you through how I go about animating hair, and there's a lot of ways to do it, and you kind of have to just take it per situation. And for this animation, I'd like to have it just kind of flow behind her if she runs. The basic idea is that we want the same animation that the head is doing to happen behind the head with a delay, so we'll use the value it time expression again. The first thing I need to do is create a null object and parent that to the head, that I'm going to create a second null object. And I want this no object to have the same world position as the first Noel object that I created on have this expression here in my notes. I'll just copy that and paste it into the position off the second null object that I made. And then I'll pull that down and then select this part. This is Pickwick Target Area, and I will do exactly that. Pick whipped the first Noel object. So now, without being parented to anything, the null object has the same animation as the head and that I need to right click on the position, go down to key frame assistant and convert expression to key frames. Having done that, I could delete the expression. And now, without any Lincoln going on, I have the same animation of the head as key frames. So now I'll make another no object and separate the dimensions of the position because I want to just use the Y position of the first no object link it up. But I needed to be delayed. Right now. They are moving up and down together, so I just need to add dot value it time. But put it after the word position and before the bracket one. So I'll do dot value at time time. I'm gonna put minus 0.1 just a slight delay. You can see it has the same animation, but it's just delayed. But I feel like that was too much of a delay. Let's do 0.5 that I'm gonna drag that knoll closer and we make several of these. So I'm just trying to figure out where the 1st 1 is going to go, but they're not duplicate it. W open up that expression. And now, from negative 0.5 to negative 0.1. Then make another again open up that expression. Now we're negative 0.15 We're gonna keep adding this 0.5 delay to each one. Now you can see them all kind of delaying in a wave type of motion. Let me actually tighten this up so we could get a few more in here again adding another delay. So we're negative point to now it's feeling pretty good. Now. The new version of after effects has this plug in Milton called Create Mills from paths, which is super handy plugging. And what you need to do is create a path with the same number of points as the Knowles we just created. Gonna create a path that has five points and then open that up and color the stroke. That same is the hair we can delete the Phil that I'm going to select the path and then under window, I will click on Create Goals From Paths. The box that says points follow Knowles and that creates its own five. Knowles and the points of the path are now attached to those Knowles, so I just need to attach those Knowles to the original Knowles we made. And you can do that by pick, whipping and holding shift, and the new nose will snap to the position of the old Knowles. Now, when you play, you see the hair is moving in that same wave motion that the Knowles were creating make a little bit thicker, so it it's closer to the size of her head. I'm gonna drop it down below the head. Actually, I'll move it down further than that. So it's behind the neck as well. It's looking pretty good, so we need to make that hair feel a little bit smoother. So first, let me rename the layer, but I'll open it up and over here in the top, right there's just dropped down and you can click on round corners, and I'm just gonna crank that up to a nice big number. So now each of the points on the on the path have a smoother feel To them. You can add a trim paths to make the hair shorter. You can also open up the stroke and add a rounded and cap. Now there is something going on that I can't quite explain. It looks like the head wasn't a complete loop. And sometimes this first no. Is speaking out in front of the face so you can just move your first. No. Since it's not tied with expressions anymore, you can just move it. And the rest of the goals should follow any changes that you make. Okay. Now it feels like it is attached. The next thing I'd like to do is give her bang some bounce as well. So I'll select ahead, Layer. You can see I have my paths in there. I just need to create some drag and doing it this way is kind of a guessing game. So I'm gonna get myself a little helper tool. Open up my effects of presets. Type in eco is a really handy Blufgan if you need to do like smears. But in our case, it's just gonna be a reference. So I'm gonna do one divided by 12 to find out how many seconds of a delay we need for one frame. So when I put that in the echo time now it is showing us a reference of one frame previous and I could turn down the intensity under the decay, so that isn't distracting. But I can see where the Bang Waas in the previous frame, so I'll just click that top Vertex and kind of move it towards the previous frame. So it feels like it's being dragged from that position. I just gotta do this on every frame, and you can decide on your own home how much you want to stretch it or how much you want to keep its volume. And then, once you play, you'll you'll realize if it was too much or too little and you can go in and tweak beyond that, then, of course, once you get to frame eight, you can just copy and paste your frames. And that's not too bad. So there you have it. That's how I would go about animating this characters here 6. Conclusion: Okay. Thank you for sticking through it and watching the whole video. I hope there were some helpful hints in there that are going to speed up your process in the future. Or maybe this was your first time animating a character at all. If so, I love to see what you come up with. A few posted in the project section. Um, if you're still working on your character, then consider what I just made here, the bar to be beaten. I know a lot of times we settle thinking this is the best thing that I've ever personally done. But is it really to the level that you're expecting in your brain, or is it really the level of the studio that you're working with? And sometimes you just got to keep pushing it and keep pushing it until what comes out onto the computer is what you were imagining. And a lot of times, like I was saying before, it's just slip in the frames one way or the other to make your animation go from completely horrible to just right. So keep messing with it until it was feeling exactly as he wanted it and then posted up. And I'll take a look and give you some comments. Okay. Thank you, guys.