The walk cycle I’m about to demonstrate is of a character with actual personality – distinct enough to be useful, but nothing too extreme or complicated. I’m going to start by designing the down pose, the key in which the torso is at its lowest point. This is the pose which shows the character’s attitude best, because it’s the most stable moment of the walk. It’s the pose that we can most easily hold if we decide to freeze suddenly in mid-walk. We are safe from falling, we are free to let our personality show. The second best pose to show attitude is the up pose, the moment in which we have practically defeated gravity. Between these two moments, the mechanics of the weight transitions gain dominance.
So, stage one is a mental one – we decide what our character’s attitude is, we imagine the walk we hope to achieve.
This would be a good time to remember that men tend to shift their torso from side to side when they walk, while women keep more to the middle, and tilt their shoulders and torso in opposite directions to compensate. It’s also as good a time as any to remember that rules are made to be broken.