LightWave 3D: How to Animate A Walk Sequence

The following tutorial will show you how you can create a walk cycle of your own dummy character, and how you can make it perform animation exercises using LightWave 3D (with emphasize on how it can walk). Various tools are used to create the frame and form of the dummy, but after it is created, the dummy will be animated to walk. This type of animation is used in various cartoons that are broadcasted on television. 

Step 1: Measuring the Distance

The first thing that you need to do is to measure the distance of your dummy's step. One thing to remember is that the distance should be measured from the tip of the back toe to the tip of the front toe. This should be done on the X or Z axis. This is the side to side axis and is dependent on the direction the animation is walking in.

To measure the distance, using the ruler tool is recommended. The distance from toe1 to toe2 is one step. It is important to note that you are measuring the distance of the step and not the stride. This means that you are not to measure from the heel of the back foot to the toe of the front foot, because this makes up the stride and not the step, and will create problems when you start making other adjustments.

Step 2: Using the Strip Object

It is important that you use a strip object to guide the strides of your dummy. You can select 2 different colors to do this if you like. The use of this tool will lead to a long walking path for your animation. This saves you time, as you will not need to continuously re-align the path with every step your animation takes. When these settings are put into place, you will be able to note if the toe is moving at the same speed as the ground, which is how it should be.

Step 3: Making Final Adjustments

As said in the previous step, if everything was not done right, you may end up with an animation that glides along the walkway. To avoid this "slippage", you can manually key in each frame just to ensure that the feet are constant. If you would like it to look more creative, you can parent everything to a child null. Be sure to label each one something that you will remember, as there will be a few of them to name.

In every action you take, be it the universal or the stride null, the distance and the velocity of the chosen null will be moved. It is important to make sure that it is a linear motion that is in place to avoid a "jerky" speed, which could result in a "jerky" animation. If this was all done properly, you will be able to use the walk cycle in any scene.