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Char Rig Class 05


  • Motion Capture
  • Locomotion
  • Layering Animation Technique
  • Assignment 02

Motion Capture

Motion Capture:

Recording live motion from actual humans (and sometimes domesticated animals) has resulted in much more life-like special effect and game animation. Wilmington University actually has a dedicated moc cap room. Today we will utilize it to record various actions appropriate for game animation cycles.

You should record at least one each of the following:

  • Idle
  • Walk/Run
  • Attack
  • Special (death, talking, power-move, etc.)


Types of Motion:

Personally I break down character movements into two categories:

Continual movement that generally represents very physical actions that move the entire character such as walking, running, fighting, dancing, etc.
Movement that is meant to be representative and usually involves a pose (symbol) to pose (symbol) method. Motions that are meant to represent internal character thoughts such as talking, emotive acting, etc. fall into this category.


The walk is the primary mode of locomotion for human beings. There is a surprising amount of variation in walks between emotions and individuals. However, there is a basic formula, that once mastered, can be built upon to produce a variety of unique walks.


  1. Start with the legs:
    Typically you want to start with the area that is driving the action, in this case it is the legs.
    The first keys you should create should be the extreme storytelling ones, in this case it is the contacts.
    The passing position is the next set of keys to create since they are the key breakdown of the extreme contacts.
    Lastly you add nuance to your feet. This includes the way the foot drags while it moves, ball roll, and toe curl.
  2. Animate the core:
    The core of the body (hips and spine) is the main line of action and helps inform the rest of the body.
    The hips should be animated first using the leg keys as a guide as to where it should be angled. Again work on extremes first.
    The spine should be animated as a whole and individual parts separately since it works together. The spine should animate oppositely of the hips. It is the "bridge" between what the legs and arms are doing.
    The head is animated oppositely to keep it straight.
  3. Arms:
    The arms are the least important part and very easy to animate.
    Simply animate the shoulders swing oppositely of the legs and have each subsequent joint swing slightly later to generate the appearance of drag.


Here are keys:

Walk Tutorial Videos


Although the run cycle shares some similarities to the walk cycle it is surprisingly different from a walk. Like the walk it is also a formula you must commit to memory.


I would suggest approaching the run differently than the walk. You should use the pose to pose method:

  1. Pose the entire body on the contact frames first.
  2. Pose the passing position next.
  3. Pose the up and down positions last.
  4. Make any adjustments/fixes necessary.


Here are keys:

Run Tutorial Video

Layering Animation Technique

Layering Animation Method

The layering animation method is a viable option for a number of situations. It is particularly useful for when you have complicated overlapping actions. A walk cycle is a good example of when the layering method is appropriate.

Progression of keys layered on top of each other

Just Rig (no keys)

Leg Keys

Core Keys (hips, spine, head/head)

Arm Keys


Assignment 02

Human Action Cycle

Creating a complex human rig and animating it in a believable way is very time-consuming. One way to by-pass this is to use an auto-rig and apply motion capture. Since human characters are generally the same this is actually a very viable option for most productions. In this assignment you will use an auto-rig solution and apply motion capture that you record to produce human action cycles that would be appropriate for a game production. You may use any bipedal humanoid model that you create, have created, or acquire.

For Next Class: Complete the motion capture

You will be graded on the following:
  • Human IK Rigging
    • Apply Autodesk Maya's Human IK rigging to a humanoid model.
  • Weight Painting
    • Adjust the default bind weights to develop more aesthetically desirable deformations.
  • Motion Capture Application
    • Capture multiple motions, apply them to the rigged model, and cleanup the results.
  • Animation (adjust and cycle)
    • Adjust the mocap animation data to enhance it, make it cycle, and prepare it for export.
  • You can find the rubric under the Assignments content folder in Canvas.

Assignment 02 Tutorial Videos