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Post tutorial RSS Animating the "Run"-Cycle of a Snake Warrior

This tutorial shows how to animate a "Run"-Cycle of a Snake Warrior because no Hack 'n Slash is complete with at least one Snake Warrior in it. ;)

Posted by on - Basic Animation

Animating the "Run"-Cycle of a Snake Warrior

For our Hack 'n Slash game Runic Rampage I have animated a lot of human like characters. Our recent enemy race should be a warrior with a snake body because imho no RPG is complete with at least one Snake Warrior in it. ;) So let's begin!

Step 1: Gathering reference

The most common travelling method of snakes is called Serpentine Locomotion. The snake contracts and relaxes it's muscles to shape a "S" curve. The head establishes the curve and the body follows. There are other motions, like Sidewinding, but Serpentine Locomotion was exactly i was looking for.
Check out this article to learn more about the different movement principles.

Step 2: Setting up the rig

My Snake Warrior should move forward by using it's tail, so I googled some methods for rigging a "normal" snake. Spline-IK seems to be the best method, because normal IK chains are impossible to animate without "snapping" and FK means a lot of work. I tried to set up Spline-IK but I failed to get it behave correctly (Blender). So I decided to do it the hard way with a FK chain:

The bone structure of the upper body follows pretty much the same principles like in my other rigs. I set up IK constrains for the hands and bendable parts of my Snake Warrior.

Step 3: Preparation and Animation

Before I start animating I prepared a ghost sheet (top view) of the tail movement. This way I know exactly where to bend the tail along the "S" curve to achieve a fluid motion.
The graphics below shows half of the keyframes. Once you set the poses for the first half you simply have to paste the mirrored poses to complete the cycle.

You probably have to clean up the IPO curves of your animation to achieve a fluid motion. Check each bone in the IPO curve editor and alter the bezier curves to form sine waves. Before you do that it's always a good idea to duplicate the original action.

The Result

A nice fluid Snake-Warrior-like run cycle ;)

You will find the Snake Warrior and other creeps and monsters in Runic Rampage. Keep in touch and watch us for more tips and tutorials!


Cool! :D

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Cool, although I'd like to see a version with his arms moving and head bobbing slightly (his entire torso looks a bit static)!

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RunicRampage Author

Thanks for the crits.. you are right about the torso! maybe I will revise it later, when I have completed all the other units on my never ending todo list ;)

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Looking very nice! Good job

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RunicRampage Author

Thanks all! :D

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