June 24, 2007
June 24, 2007
June 27, 2007
Engineering Design Graphics
12.57.1 - 12.57.9
A Learning Tool to Assist in Animation of Bipedal Walk Cycles
This paper studies the activity of bipedal walking with the objective of describing procedural techniques to automate this process. The main problem this paper explores is how to mathematically characterize the relationships and motion of different limbs involved in the process of walking and to represent realistic and natural walk cycles. Other issues discussed are possible variations to create different types of walk cycles. The results have been used to implement and develop a learning tool to assist students in the creation of animated walk cycles.
This paper is reporting on the methods used to create a practical computer-assisted tool to show and teach students how walk cycles get affected by different parameters without having to learn every facet of their complicated 3D animation applications. The results can also be applied to many different areas of visualization, such as architectural and virtual reality environments, where human or bipedal models are involved.
Students learning to animate a bipedal walking animation are faced with the necessity of doing several things, successfully, at the same time to make any sort of believable walk cycle: (1) setting and managing key frames on dozens to hundreds of channels, (2) maintaining the weight and proportionality of their character, and (3) setting and maintaining the correct timings of the different elements in the walk cycle. The first task, setting and managing key frames, needs to be accomplished before the remaining two tasks can be successfully completed. Managing all of the necessary key frames is the first primary obstacle in creating a walk cycle, and it is primarily a technical and managerial, or work flow, task. Once students are somewhat adept at this, they can begin to concentrate on steps (2) and (3). The goal of this learning tool is to make it possible for beginning students can work on all three at once. The learning tool attempts to take the technical complexity out of animating a walk cycle and replace it with a smaller, manageable, number of easy-to-use sliders, so the student can concentrate on timing, weight, and proportionality. This won't replace the need to be able to deal with the great number of keys developed when keyframing a walk cycle, but it will enable a student to work on both the style of a walk at the same time they are learning to master the technical skills necessary to accomplish this on their own.
One of the primary goals of this tool is that students of animation can produce walks that aren't necessarily accurate. They can experiment with walk cycles that are exaggerated, and stylized to learn about what parameters of an accurate walk cycle can be pushed beyond their normal boundaries to produce walks that generate personalities.
With further development, this learning tool could become more of a production-oriented process as well. Since the mechanics of a walk cycle are present and are customizable in this tool, it could be used as a tool for quickly generating a variety of walk cycles. This would be especially applicable for characters that were not the focus, but rather background or crowd characters.
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