The first part of my SNU is to create a walk cycle of the great bustard. To start this I went back to my old favourite 2D animation software, Adobe Flash, as I have used it for many years and feel at home tweening and animating between layers etc.

First I need to find some footage of the actual bustard, encode it into an flv using media encoder and then I can load that into the timeline in flash as my guide. (Video from

To start I always break down my subject into pieces or parts, and determine where I need to place their point of rotation and align them across separate layers so I have total control over movement.

I use loosely drawn shapes converted into graphic symbols for the six body parts needed, with key points to tie up to the video, such as the v shape in the wing, the eye and the fan shaped tails first dark feather, this gives me a definite spot to animate the movement to.

I started to animate in the normal way, frame by frame, and then realised that this might be the ideal way to look at using bones in Flash. A couple of quick tutorials later – this is a good one as he shows how the traditional frame by frame can take such a long time – and I’m trying to apply this method to my little ‘bustard’.

An hour later and it’s completely frustrating me as the bird’s neck and body appear to stretch, go in and out, which I can’t seem to replicate when all of the bones are attached at a fixed distance.

I start again with a slightly differently placed armature for the bones,  but am still unable to replicate the birds actual movements. ….bloomin’ bustard…

After a wasted morning I decide to go back to the long winded method, and although another couple of hours disappear, I have a fair representation of this unusual walk cycle, which will help me animate it and understand the mechanics when I move onto 3D in Maya.

I also output a pure line version and looped it round so it makes it easier to study.

It does only have one leg as the movement will be the same for the right leg…