Animation Research: Run Cycle

Having learned so much about a typical human walk from The Animators Survival kit I decided to hit it up again for some research on a run cycle.

What differs a run cycle from a walk is that during a walk cycle, there is always one foot on the ground at all times, where as with a run cycle both feet are off the ground at some point for at least one position and of course a run cycle is quicker due to the fact we normally have less frames to work with.


With runs we can do all the things we can do with walks. for example, the head can go up and down, side to side,back and forth, the body can bend and twist in opposite directions, the feet flop in and out, etc.

However we cant do as much because we don’t have so many positions to do it in because a run is faster. Where a walk may span across 12 frames and a run would span across 6 frames.

So regardless of  a walk and run cycle being different, all the things I learned before hand from a walk cycle can be applied to a run.

For my run cycle I think I’ll animate it as a six frame cycle as its considered to be a good place to start as suggested in the Animators survival kit.


In contrast to walks, I’ve learned that runs have to be animated in ones because there’s so much action happening in such a short space of time.

Normal/ conventional Run cycle break down:

Contact Positions: The leg in the frontal position is straight, the ankle is making  slight contact with the ground, the leg in the backwards position is bend upwards.  Again the arms are  opposite to the legs to give balance and thrust.

Passing Positions: Because the leg isn’t entirely straight up on the passing position, lifting the pelvis,body and head only slightly.

Down Positions: The bent leg takes weight and the arm swing is at it’s widest and the hips are at their lowest.

Up Positions: The foot pushes off the ground, lifting the pelvis, body and head up to it highest position of the cycle.

All in all walk and run cycles seem fairly similar, however the torso and chest of the body seems to be positioned slightly forward in order to help create the illusion of the body projecting itself forward at a faster pace.


The faster a figure runs the more it leans forward


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