First Real Steps

Here is my attempt at a true walk cycle using a pre -rigged character: Dumbu.  My objective was to learn about the different mechanisms utilized in a more or less complete rig and begin animating  the character to understand how they work and learn of any limitations I may run across.



At first glance, the outliner seemed very intimidating, but I was able to quickly navigate the different groups and determine which nodes I were able to manipulate by clicking on the various control geometry and using either the rotate or move tools.

My approach was to work from the ground up and refine as I go, being mindful of basic walk cycle concepts from traditional animation such as contact, recoil, passing and highpoint, the center of gravity, and secondary animation.


Screenshot (4)

Here’s a look at the graph editor, which I used to refine the animation, each color representing a range of motion, either in rotation or translation, across the x, y, and z axes.

The appearance of the sine wave represents smooth motion which us desired for a successful walk cycle.

There were a few mistakes I’ve made that would’ve been alleviated by being more mindful of the number of frames in my animation; the basic cycle was created in 60 frames and should have been created in 48, which would have made the walk a little more natural in speed.  Overall, I and happy with the result for a first go.

Thesis and the Semiotic Square

Executive Summary

Digital and traditional animation are often viewed as polar opposites, leading to debates as to which is better, and for animation, its true form becomes questioned. Rather than favoring one over the other, a converged viewpoint that combines both can achieve an expanded form of animation.  Through rigging a character with 3D software and animating it in the time-honored walk cycle, I intend on achieving a form of that convergence.


In some circles, a rift remains between the digital and traditional forms of art.  In one extreme, those who favor traditional means of expression exclaim that digital work is not “real art” because they are mediated through a computer and in their eyes, the computer does all of the work after the press of a few buttons or mouse clicks.  In the other extreme, traditional art is considered antiquated/nonprogressive and unable to adapt to the advancements in technology.  Either view is false and rather narrow, hanging on elitism that hinders free movement in creativity for those who favors both.

It is possible to converge the apparent polar opposites and open the way for new forms of expression.  One convergence, in the form of 3D animated entertainment, e.g. Toy Story, starts to blur the boundaries of realism and contrivity, eclipsing traditional animation as the dominant form in popular media.  Advancements in technology, ingenuity, and creativity now make it possible for 3D animated features to emulate reality in such a way that viewers become increasingly immersed in the world unfolding before them in ways that traditional animation has yet to achieve.  Conversely, due to the nature of animation, there is a freedom to exaggerate forms and movements and to retain a sense of realism.  3D animators can create from a wide spectrum, strict simulations of the real world to dynamic abstraction and exaggeration.  One can argue that traditional animation has the same freedom, but 3D animation offers another dimension.

One tool for 3D creatives to achieve a desired level of realism through motion is rigging, essentially the bone structure of an object/model to allow for movement.  Through the employment of rigging, I wish to demonstrate a range of movement through a walk cycle.


Semiotic Square

Below is a semiotic square that I had formulated based on the concepts expressed in Rosalind Krauss’ Sculpture in the Expanded Field.


The challenge was to take my area of interest, rigging and see where it falls in the disparity of digital vs. traditional art forms.  From the two terms, which are contrary to each other, I  had to decipher two additional terms that complemented the previous two while contrasting each other.  The end result was digital vs. traditional and animation vs. realism.  From the four terms, an expanded field becomes available which highlights convergence, from which I had to determine where my area of interest lies.

Art is Bigger

In response to the reading, Foreward by William Cromar in the preparation of my self-study.

Computers are Useless – Among the many tools used in the creation and expression art—charcoal, the chisel, the paintbrush, the camera, and now the computer, there no longer remains an archaic hierarchy that determines which mode or method is necessary to call art, art.  Each tool is as valid and as useful as the next but is also useless without an idea that employs them with a purpose, a means to turn intangible thought into material expression.  A. Michael Noll’s Gaussian Quadratic ushered a new era of visualization that was previously unimaginable, especially in the infantile stages of computer technology, that are now commonplace in many forms of digital entertainment.  His visual experiments, whether he intended or not, lends credence to the intent of Marcel Duchamp’s “experiment”,  Fountain, further expanding the boundaries of what is considered art, regardless of how it’s made.


The Death of the Death of Art –