Run Cycle: Blocking (1/3)

Maya: Animation Fundamentals

In This Class You’ll Access…
Run Cycle Class (1 of 3 ) covers the foundations of a run cycle. We’ll learn the common key poses of a run by following a classic Richard Williams 2d run from his book, The Animators Survival Kit.

We’ll stress the importance of finding reference footage outside of a 2d run guide and cover a few cool tricks in Maya, specifically using the grease pencil and motion trails too. We’ll look at mirroring poses both manual and scripted.

Copying poses from an existing cycle isn’t really animating but it’s helpful in the early stage of cycle and pros will follow these reference guides to save time too. This page builds on the previous pages putting principles into practice without using the graph editor just yet.

Parts two and three of this series will use the graph editor and take the average cycle from this class and polish it into a high quality cycle. Be sure to see those pages as this is a 3 part class.

Running Time: 48 mins
Software: Maya 2016
Instructor: Andrew Silke

Class Time: 48 mins

1. Introduction, Reference And Setup (9:00 mins)

1.1 – Introduction (55 sec)
1.2 – Image Reference (1:45 mins)
1.3 – Video Reference (2:32 mins)
1.4 – Zanzi (49 sec)
1.5 – Rig Settings (2:59 mins)

2. Creating The Key Poses (8:02 mins)

2.1 – First Pose (2:37 mins)
2.2 – Pose Symmetry Tool (2:04 mins)
2.3 – Mirror Pose Manual (3:21 mins)

3. Grease Pencil (1:57 mins)

3.1 – Grease Pencil (1:57 mins)

4. The Breakdown Poses (5:48 mins)

4.1 – Middle Poses (4:09 mins)
4.2 – Mid Breakdowns Repeat (1:39 mins)

5. Adjusting Playback Speed (4:49 mins)

5.1 – Adjusting Playback FPS (4:49 mins)

6. Checking The Poses: Tweaking (10 mins)

6.1 – Motion Trails (4:34 mins)
6.2 – Tweaks Right (1:03 mins)
6.3 – Front tweaks (4:49 mins)

7. In Betweens And Looking Ahead (8:48 mins)

7.1 – Inbetweens (4:54 mins)
7.2 – Inbetweens Right (2:36 mins)
7.3 – Looking Forward (1:18 mins)
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  1. Gercek Taskala
    May 18, 2017 at 12:38 am ·

    I`ve watched now some of your Videos and I have questions. You are speaking too fast. Or is the video playback too fast. I understand what you are saing but it is so fast that I have to rewind it too many times. I don´t have even the time to replicate what you are doing. Even to see whis Keys you are using. Before I subscribed I read that this site is intermediate but my opinion is that more than itermediate. So is it normal that this is so fast?

  2. Andrew Silke
    May 18, 2017 at 12:12 pm ·

    Hi Gercek, thanks for your feedback. Others have made similar comments to yours which is why I created the Robo series. Much slower and every step is covered so maybe check out the anim videos there. Also be sure to watch the 3 pages before doing that too…

    Anim Fundamentals
    Graph Fundamentals
    Pose Anim Workflow

    All the hotkeys and technical information are covered in those 3 fundamental pages. This page assumes you understand those concepts well. The general feedback from my own students is that they lightly skim those pages or don’t watch them at all. I can’t say this is what your doing just that it’s been my experience with my own students. Those pages are designed to be watched multiple times as there’s a lot of information to remember.

    Also “Managing Animation Expectations” on the graph editor page is worth a read. I wrote that there because as soon as you start doing the graph editor work yes indeed animation has a steep learning change here. Its the same for everyone.

    This page is intermediate. Run cycles are simple compared to other animation areas. Advanced is like Nat Dancing and Croc on the front page or acting and creatures, it gets much harder. I’ve also had a lot of people enjoy the speed of these videos so it’s different for different people.

    Animation’s generally harder than people realize I usually say it takes about 2 years to master to a pro level, full time 40 hr weeks. That’s not including any other of the specialties.

    I’d love to do beginner tutorials which are much slower while still properly edited. That will be some time. A beginner course goes through basics like ball and tail overlap exercises in depth, then moves onto basic Lego segmented characters and then more cartoony rigs such as Robo. I chose the Nat lores rig here as Zanzi with 4 arms and wings was difficult to demo. At the time I didn’t have a simple rig such as Robo available.

    I’d really love to do those beginner pages when time permits. The Generalist Intermediate Course definitely starts in the middle.

    Any other questions feel free to ask. It’ll be helpful for others in your situation.

  3. Toby Leung
    August 25, 2017 at 4:50 pm ·

    Hi Andrew,

    I’ve downloaded the Nat rig off this page and its opened and working nicely in my Maya. Only problem I have for now is when I try to right click on the controls (e.g. both shoulder controls and head control like you did in Video 1.5), the option menu did not pop up, and an error script appeared below as such:
    # Error: file: C:/Users/ttleung/Documents/maya/2016/scripts/zooDagMenuProc_override.mel line 2593: ImportError: file C:/Users/ttleung/Documents/maya/2016/scripts\zoo\libs\maya\ line 52: No module named zmaya.skeletonBuilder.baseRigPart #
    by any chance you would know the reason for that? did I miss anything? Thanks


    • Andrew Silke
      August 26, 2017 at 11:55 am ·

      Hi Toby, yes that’s an issue with some of the latest Maya updates. Zoo Tools just needs a restart on load now. We have almost solved that problem. At this time 2018 isn’t supported yet. In 2017 to restart Zoo Tools you can use the Shelf Icons, it may also work in 2018 too.

      Zoo Proxy > ShtDwn (shutdown)
      Zoo Proxy > start (startup)

      You can also use the hotkeys

      ctrl shift alt [ (shutdown)
      ctrl shift alt ] (startup)

      That should solve the right click issue for now.

      • Toby Leung
        August 26, 2017 at 7:53 pm ·

        Hi Andrew, I am currently using Maya 2016… I followed what you said on my Nat Rig file but it didn’t change anything. Error message still pops out every time I right clicked on it. Is there another way to toggle FK/IK of the wrist and to change the head control to ‘parent to world’? Thanks a lot!

        • Andrew Silke
          August 26, 2017 at 9:15 pm ·

          Ah, 2016 should totally work I think I know what that is. I’ll fix it in the rig file and re-upload. It’s just an old pathing issue, sometimes it works sometimes it doesn’t. Ta for letting me know.

          • Toby Leung
            August 27, 2017 at 8:56 pm ·

            Thank you so much Andrew! the tutorials are really amazing btw 🙂

        • Andrew Silke
          August 28, 2017 at 2:42 pm ·

          Cheers Toby, that’s done now and I’ve tested in 2016 and 2017. In 2017 you still need to do the Zoo Tools restart, in 2016 should be all cool. Just re-download the .zip. The project folder will be v01_02 now. I’ve just upgraded the rig to match the newer Zoo Tools. Ta again for letting me know.

          • Toby Leung
            August 28, 2017 at 3:01 pm ·

            that’s awesome! cheers Andrew

  4. harald.pizzinini
    December 11, 2018 at 4:05 am ·

    Hi Andrew, I have an issue with the Pose Simmetry Tool: if the World Ctrl of my character rig has 0 value in Rotate XYZ it works perfectly, I can swap/mirror easily all others Ctrls position and rotation; however, if the World Ctrl is even slightly rotated, something weird happens. The armControls are still mirrored/swapped correctly but the same doesn’t happen for the fingers Ctrls: it’s like they are mirrored according to a different axis that doesn’t follow the World Ctrl rotation.

    Am I doing something wrong?
    Thank you in advance for the help


    • Andrew Silke
      December 21, 2018 at 3:01 pm ·

      Hi Harald, that looks like an issue on our side, thanks for reporting it. The “mirror axis” is set from the World Control pivot for most of the controls but you are right, it’s not set on the fingers. For I’ll see if I can fix that soon.

      You can fix this pretty easily after the rig has been built. See the video 8.2 here

      Section 8 and 9 and 10 give more info on how the mirroring works.

    November 4, 2023 at 1:27 am ·

    Hello: My main language is Spanish and it is a bit difficult for me to follow the videos. I don’t know if you would have the text transcriptions of them, to be able to translate them. It would be a good option.

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