Jeff Larson
Animation Instructor and District Pathway Coordinator

Wild and Wacky Walk Cycles (Animation using Photoshop and Flash)

Project Published 10/10/11 Last updated on 5/16/18
In this unit students learned to first build a traditional walk cycle using hand drawn frames at a light table using Preston Blair's stages of a walk cycle as a template/reference. After establishing basic form of figure, students developed their characters, complete with secondary action, like a tail, moving clothing, floppy ears, etc. Once the drawings were complete and consistent in details and volumes they were scanned into Photoshop where students learned to create and save a custom palette and colored the characters. Additionally students drew and scanned three 8.5" by 11" pages to create looping backgrounds that were also joined,painted and colored in Photoshop. All of the assets were then imported into Flash where students learned how to create graphic symbols and establish keyframes, and deal with basic timing and alignment on the stage to try and create a looping walk cycle.

This project was completed in the context of a beginning animation course that I teach. Students at this point have had about six weeks of the fundamentals of drawing, and have begun to understand the principles of animation. They have previously completed exercises like a bouncing/rolling ball and a flying bird. Prior to scanning and inking the drawings the students learn and practice the basics of working in Photoshop, making selections, transformations, adjustments, etc. This project can be done with students of varying levels abilities. I also included a video of the rough pencil tests where students fine tuned their characters basic volumes and movements. This project also introduces students to the idea of compositing for video or animation production. Overall the lessons/unit takes about four weeks.

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5 / 5 • 12 Ratings

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Comments (6)

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Ray Cooper

Posted on 11/17/18 1:01:00 AM Permalink

Thanks for the resource!​

Jeff Larson

Posted on 8/3/12 9:51:07 PM Permalink

I'm glad you like it. I plan on posting the how to series and tutorials in the next couple of months.

Kristie MacLaughlin

Posted on 8/3/12 9:48:39 PM Permalink

I love this idea. Preston Blair is one of my favorite animators.

Nicole Dalesio

Posted on 7/30/12 3:33:37 AM Permalink

So cool! Wish I were in your class. You seem like a great teacher!

Eileena Duran

Posted on 11/22/11 11:35:22 AM Permalink

Very informative. I can't wait to try this!

monte pulliam

Posted on 10/11/11 3:15:54 AM Permalink

Super Fun: