Sea Legs

How we made this watery walk cycle.

When we shared this walk cycle – affectionately named Sea Legs – on Twitter, it got quite a bit of attention and a few people asked how it was made, so we thought we'd share a peek behind the scenes here.

Below we've put together the loose steps of production, which started with planning out the body role using a stroke and a shape. We then animated the legs to match the body movement using the '3D Stroke' plugin. Using this software allowed us to animate a 2D path and put a camera into the space, rotating it to give an accurate perspective. Big exaggeration was needed to make the movements stand out.

The next stage was about putting the two elements together and adding a glass effect on the bowl, before creating the sloshing water effect with straight-ahead animation – the only drawn element of the piece – in Photoshop. Then we started to map out the position of the fish in After Effects, animating it in conjunction with the water and air as it moves through the different elements, before putting on the finishing touches and fully artworking the whole scene.

As you can tell, the piece is a mash-up of multiple layers and elements using different software and techniques to produce a cohesive whole. And there you have it! A little sound on top and the walking wonder is complete. We just hope that fish has its sea legs, too.

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