I have a question about run cycles, specifically whether or not it's common practice, when a character is running through the frame (with a static background), to draw the run as a cycle and then move the character thru the frame under the camera (or in the compositing program). Or is it mostly done with the character's run drawn so that it runs across the page?
Out of curiosity, are there practical reasons for doing it one way over another?
When animation stands and cels were in widespread use, was one way of doing this type of run more common than the other?
Thanks for any insight!
I think the answer to your question can be framed by the style of animation.
For sake of discussion I'll suggest considering limited animation (think Hanna Barbera) and feature animation (think Disney).
While there are many reasons to consider both methods (moving across the page versus moving in place) I'll suggest that budgetary constraints have a lot to do with it.
For limited animation it makes good sense to use cyclic animation.
Cyclic animation will work well for moving in place and for sliding that movement across the page. Very linear movement is under consideration.
For full animation a character will often be drawn moving from place to place along predetermined paths across the page. Introduction of cyclic character animation into one of these sequences is likely to interupt the flow of the scene and seem out of place. Non-character cycles such as rotating props (a ceiling fan, a water wheel etc.) will not seem to be out of place.
You do frame the question considerably when you introduce the idea of a static background. If the background doesn't move or change then the character will usually have to move. If the background is changing then its easier to have the character move in place. Both ways will convey movement of the character.
At a guess I will say I think cyclic animation (with character held in place) is more likely to be used when the camera is framing movement in perpendicular movement (right, left, toward camera, away from camera). With movement across the page more likely to occur in scenes attempting to recreate environments in depth.
Its an interesting topic but I think I'll stop with that and let the experts weigh in.
I seem to recall Don answering a similar question here in the forum.
Perhaps we can find that.
Last edited by Rodney; 12-07-2009 at 02:32 PM.
In my mind you can do it either way. If you animate in place (with the feet slipping) it will be much easier to animate a cycle. If you animate the feet slipping in a steady increment, you'll have to measure how far each foot slides and keep it consistent (toe to toe is best because usually the heel lifts up). Now depending on what type of animation software you use, you'll have to translate the character level (in the computer software) at a speed matching the foot slide, or reposition each drawing, registering it to the toe of the character so the foot stays firmly planted (tedious).
The other way is to animate across the page. This maybe be a little more work on the animation front, keeping volumes consistent, etc. However you don't have to worry about the feet slipping and the feet will stay firmly planted because you animated it that way. Its probably much easier to re-time the camera move this way as well, if there is one.
That's all I can think of.
Thanks to both of you for the input!
I've just pencilled out a run cycle which worked out better than expected, and since I'm pretty new to all this I figure I'll try it both ways for the practice if nothing else (I need it).
You know... you've got me thinking now.
I'm trying to remember if I've ever read a definitative take on the differences between a walk and a run cycle. I mean.... beyond the obvious, surface similarities and differences.
I suppose Richard Williams 'Survival Kit' would be a likely source so I'll have to reference that again with this in mind.
I know the balance is important in that the weight has shifted considerably forward in order to allow for the run. Exceptions of leaning back for effect notwithstanding.
You've definitely got me thinking more about 'the run'.