Thursday, 28 March 2019

Character Walks Tutorial with Monty

Character Walk with Monty
We've added to our growing series of animation tutorials, hosted at Vimeo, with a tutorial/webinar on character walks.

The tutorial uses the free Monty rig, one of the rigs that we recommend for student use in the early stages of learning animation is the Monty Rig.

Monty was created back in 2007 by Raveen Rajadorai, and is free for download at

Vimeo Tutorial
You can find the run tutorial here. Note that the tutorial is password protected. The password is available to all of our current students and Escapees.

Basic Walk Cycle
To make the best use of this tutorial, you will need to have already done a basic walk cycle with Monty (or another character) first, as the tutorial uses an existing basic walk cycle to make character adaptations. To find out how to do a basic walk, see this blog post.

What's this all about?
Online learning. Our students often tell us they want more online digital support to supplement their classroom studies.  After all, students sometimes get sick and miss a class through no fault of their own.  Digital tools such as video tutorials make it easy to catch up quickly and painlessly.

Who are the videos for?
The Vimeo Account is password-protected but available for all our students at Escape Studios and also Escapees. These can be used by undergraduate, post-graduate, short course students and those taking evening classes. If you're a current student or Escapee, ask us for the password.

About Monty
Monty is "a simple ball with legs. You can control his eyebrows, eyes and do squash and stretch on him".  We would also add that he's very cute, easy to learn, you can easily change his colour and he looks very nice wearing a hat.  Like most rigs, Monty has his quirks. So, how can animators get the most out of the Monty rig?

Monty Rig - Common Problems & Solutions

How do you turn on Monty's brow controls? I can't see them!
Monty's brow controllers are nurbs surfaces. If you tick Nurbs Surfaces under the Show tab in your Viewport, the brow controls will pop up as five small spheres running across his forehead.  You can individually select and rotate them to get various brow expressions.

Smooth Monty
To get the best quality playback for Monty, it helps to set him to Smooth Mode before you begin animating.  Click on his head controller to find the smooth slider and set it to 1.

Where can I download Monty?
You can find Monty here.

I am animating a walk cycle and his knees keep popping - what's going wrong?
When using Monty to create a walk cycle, try to avoid having Monty take really big steps. Small steps are easier to control. Big steps will cause IK problems with Monty’s knees, because the his legs will stretch out too much and the knees will "pop".

Monty's pole vectors are hard to control
The pole vectors are the little crosses in front of his knees. They can be a bit hard to keyframe, so we recommend, as part of setting up the rig, moving them some distance (a few grid units) further away from Monty's knees, when you start. This will help stop "popping" of his knees later in the animation.

Why does Monty look weird in profile?
Monty looks a bit strange viewed from the side. Rather like Hello Kitty or Snoopy, he doesn't turn well. It's best to stage Monty from a front or three-quarter view.

How does Monty scale?
Monty doesn't scale. You will have to scale the geometry of your set instead.

Video Demonstration
To see a quick 90 second demonstration of Monty (recommended) watch this video below

Most of all, have fun with Monty. He's an entertaining, flexible rig, and you can do tons of cool stuff with him. Check out this funny "take" below.

Below are some fun character walks with Monty by Escape Studios tutor Neil Whitman.

Where is the tutorial?
You can find the run tutorial hosted at our Vimeo channel here.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To apply for our BA/MArt in 3D Animation, follow this link. To apply for our storyboarding evening class, visit this page here. For the next 12 week animation course, click here. And to apply for the next evening class in Producing Animation, see this page

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