Thursday, 26 March 2020

Learn to Animate a Walk at Our Vimeo Channel

Learn to animate a basic walk cycle with "Monty", the green pea, at our Vimeo Channel, available to all our students and Escapees.

The videos have added to our growing series of animation tutorials, hosted at Vimeo, with a tutorial on how to animate a basic walk.

The tutorial uses the free Monty rig, one of the rigs that we recommend for student use in the early stages of learning animation.  Monty was created back in 2007 by Raveen Rajadorai, and is free for download at

Vimeo Tutorial
You can find the basic walk tutorial here. Note that the tutorial, like all our tutorials at Vimeo, is password protected. The password is available to all of our current students and Escapees.

Basic Walk Cycle
This tutorial explains how to animate a basic walk cycle, using a biped primitive, in Maya. You will learn the following skills in Maya:

  • Animate a basic 16 frame walk cycle 
  • create animation that loops successfully
  • control your motion curves in the Graph Editor
  • Animate a walk cycle without sliding feet
  • Understand the mechanics of basic locomotion

Vimeo Channel
Our Vimeo channel was set up two years ago to complement our classroom teaching, and now has hundreds of vidoes on all aspects on animation and related fields such as modelling, texuring, rigging, FX and even compositing.  Now that our classrooms are switching entirely to online learning, our Vimeo Channel is more important than ever.

Available to all our Students
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.

Monty The Green Pea
Character Walk with 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 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

Monty's Brow Controls
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.

Download Monty
You can find Monty here.

Small Steps
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".

Pole Vectors
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.

Avoid Profile View
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.

No Scale Control
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

Character Walks
Below are some fun character walks with Monty by Neil Whitman.

Basic Walk Tutorial Tutorial
You can find the Basic Walk tutorial hosted at our Vimeo channel here.

Locomotion Resources at Escape Studios
We have plenty of other locomotion resources available to our students. Check out the links below:

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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