Animate a Walk Cycle from the Front View

The front view of a walk cycle has the same principles as the side view - 
See this page for a detailed explanation on how to animate a walk from the side.

This illustration shows one step - remember to animate the second leg!

key frames for walk cycle front viewKeyframes for a walking cycle from the front

Most walking cycles work best at 9 frames per step = 18 frame cycle for both feet.

The animation presented below is slower - this is a 24 frame walkcycle (for a double step, both legs) at 24 fps, without any inbetweens:

walk cycle from front

When animating a character walking from the front we need to show:

  1. The body MASS going up and down
  2. The legs bending in perspective
  3. The feet flipping


Moves up and down as it does in the side view. 
If you wish to elaborate - show the hips swinging - the foot that's forward brings its side of the pelvis down.

hips and shoulders move in opposite directions

Drawing legs in perspective

Most of the foreshortening happens to calf.
The thigh gets fore-shortened as well but unless your character brings its knees up very high - don't shorten the thighs too much.

Flipping the Feet

If you are animating Flash or After Effects Cut Outs, you have no choice - You need to draw the foot from three angles and switch between them as you animate:

  • Frontal view, flat
  • Raised up, showing the laces
  • Flipped, showing the underside.

It's not very convincing otherwise.

Stylize the walk

For different kinds of characters, play with

  • Step Width (from the center to the sides) - men walk with legs apart to the sides (gee, I wonder why!), women walk in narrow steps.
  • For a stylized feminine walk - cross the legs over, the way runway models walk. Swing the hips!
  • Most people point their feet outward. We don't walk all that straight!
  • Remember that regular people barely lift their feet off the ground - it's a waste of energy to lift the knees higher than needed. 
    There's no need to drag the feet, but for a natural looking walk, don't lift feet and knees more than is absolutely necessary.

Modify these simple key frames to fit your character.

That's it!

Gotta' run :-)

Click here for the Running Cycle Tutorial
To get a deeper understanding of the principles of walking see Animate a walking cycle from the side-view

Home > Animation Tutorials > Walk Cycle from the Front