I am about to do for you what your teachers and your uncle Richard wouldn’t, and show you how to animate a biped walk quickly, easily and correctly.
This tutorial is meant for both 3D and Flash “cut-out” animation, because these are the two techniques I work in. I am quite sure that what I say can be implemented in classical animation as well, but I can’t guarantee it from personal experience, because I haven’t done any hand-drawn work in years, and am far from fluent in it. I have made a point of explaining the rules for Flash and 3D separately in places where they differ.
I should also add that I work almost exclusively for cartoon-style TV series, and that’s the kind of animation I can teach you about. Would this method work for a very realistic walk? I believe so, but I can’t state that without a doubt. In fact, I would be interested to get some feedback on the subject.
In the next chapter I attack some common myths about walk animation. They are some things that you will all recognize from your animation classes, as well as from those frustrating hours you have wasted at work trying to use what you learned in class and repeatedly coming up with garbage. Don’t be mad at your teachers for filling your head with that stuff. They were just trying to make it look like our profession is more difficult than it actually is, because people already tend to treat us like children who play with Legos all day long and have the nerve to expect to be paid for it. “Get over it and move on” is my advice to you.