Jon gave me some great critique regarding the 'stamping' in my walk cycle, suggesting that I drop the leg on the passing positions in order to give a more subtle step. First are a couple of attempts I made to correct the issue beforehand, then are the ones following his feedback where I tried to integrate his advice - all with varying success, but things that don't work are just as important as those that do. So here we go. Let's blast through this:
First, here's the default version, just so you can see what I'm trying to correct. I've made some slight alterations since V25 - couple of things regarding the arms, just to loosen them up a tad. The legs do look pretty off in comparison to the otherwise fairly casual arms. His legs have a definite 'kick' to them.
Here, all I'd done is very slightly adjust the foot roll on the up position, trying to bring it a little lower and closer to the contact pose. It's only a very subtle change and it does appear to have smoothed things out by a fraction - but not really enough to be noticeable to anybody that hasn't been staring at it for 4 million hours.
First attempt following Jon's feedback where I tried dropping both the legs on the contact pose and also bringing the leg on the contact a little closer to the up position. It didn't exactly work; the issue I'm having is that dropping the leg of the passing position, the foot scrapes or goes straight through the floor. I can adjust the foot roll to try and bring it back up but rotating it back too far (in favour of the previous pose) causes it to twist uncomfortably, and also raises the knee again - which puts me straight back to square one. Rotating it forward lessens the height of the knee but this is problematic in that the foot, rather than delaying and dragging, then looks very robotic as we can see above. It needs to drag a little for flexibility. It also means that the space between the trailing leg on the down and passing positions is very small, causing the leg to delay at the crossover.
I also had to adjust the bend in the trailing leg on the down position to compensate for the lower passing position - otherwise the knee and leg were bent more on the down position, causing a bit of a jump/'pop' as it tried to interpolate the two keys. Unfortunately lessening the bend in the knee now means there's too little movement to stretch equally across the frames - as a result the knees on both legs start to bend at exactly the same time and move almost in perfect synch, which looks a little peculiar and quite robotic to me?
It may also be me but I kind of think that dropping the leg looks a bit like he doesn't bring it up far enough - the walk just seems to lose a lot of the feeling of weight?
I'm actually wondering if the stamping is actually more to do with the large gap between the legs on the up and contact keys - closely observing it, I can see it almost looks as if he's kicking his leg out. I think perhaps I just need to alter those positions so that the legs are just a little closer together in terms of posing so that it's a bit smoother?
All of these captures look exactly the same... it must look like I haven't changed anything! I guess it's one of those things; when you've been staring at something frame-by-frame for so long you can pinpoint every tiny little thing in each frame. Things that nobody else in their right mind would ever notice.
Anyway, here I just tried adjusting the contact pose very slightly so that the step was a little less wide, allowing the leg enough time to travel smoothly from one pose to the next. It seems to have gone some way to removing that 'kick,' but it also plops me back to square one where my step wasn't quite wide enough. I think that, really, it's the up position that needs to change more than anything. If I can just tinker with the foot roll and leg position I might be able to figure out a way to smooth it out a little.