Powerhoof! Walk Anim Process...

A walk anim for this bird worm guy!


I roughed out the pelvis chest and skull each on their own layer so I can move them around independently- these won’t squash much, the squishing is mostly in the connecting tissue. I did the arms/legs/tail in the simplest possible form (a line) so its really quick and easy to redraw poses. Also with their own layer.


I got the primary movement roughed out first in the lowest number of frames I thought I could get away with- this is 5 frames. Usually I’ll start with 6 for a walk, but I wanted this to be more monstery, almost like a limp, so the left leg has 3 frames bur right leg has only 2 to break the symmetry. This is why his body squishes down for one step then up for the other instead of having an up and a down for each step like in a regular walk.


Doodled some frames for the legs.


Refined the head/body movement a little.


A wave motion for the tail… I don’t know why floppy stuff like that is so fun!


Starting on an arm- trying to figure out how floppy/rigid it should be in which areas… I wanted a balance like he was swinging his arm with muscles inside it, not just dragging a dead floppy rubber limb, but I still wanted some flop… really helps to have it represented as a simple line here so I redraw and playback a whole lot of variations really quick and never have to worry about how nicely I’ve drawn it or fuss over details or messy pixels.


Putting a little wriggle in the other arm… You can see I hadn’t really figured out what to do with it yet, I didn’t want it to swing behind his body and be obstructed for most of the frames.


I moved the second arm and offset the movement by a frame or two until I was basically happy with it, then decided the overall movement wasn’t going to get figured out any more precisely until I had some accurate art in there. I don’t like to go too far with just a stick representation; you can have a nasty surprise when you start putting in the art. In fact here you can see his body looks kind of elongated now I’ve drawn it in, but that wasn’t coming through with just the circles.

I guess this is missing a step here- generally I just do flat color blobs first to get the silhouette shapes right before adding details, but I was just overenthusiastic to draw his little beak and stuff!


I drew in the arms, refined their flopping/wriggling a bit more, and squished his body a bit to get rid of the “elongated” look.


When I was happy with the movement, I stretched out the timing and drew in two inbetween frames to pad it out in the slow parts, making it a 7 frame anim. I like to save any extra frames til the end, so I’m not deleting and redoing them whenever I change my mind about the timing.

Also did a final pass on small details like his turkey neck dealy, and added a motionblur smear frame for his face when it drops down quickly.

Now he’s ready to go in the game and walk about like an idiot!


  1. Totally Blizzardโ„ข

  2. rinokazar

    This is gold for me bro, thanks a lot ! I learn much from these articles.

  3. This is beautiful! I hope to be as good as you in pixel art and game design. Do you have any tips on how to get better at pixel art?

    • thanks! i dunno about tips for pixel art… for animation there’s a really good book called “the animators survival kit” which taught me a lot!

      • Thanks! but i think pixel is just the same as any other type of visual art..PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!!! Thanks for the book advice i will be sure to check it out. And I can’t wait to PLAY THIS GAME!!! Even just staring at your pixel art is enough for me.

        Good Luck to you and David

  4. So do I understand right that you:

    1. draw a cahracter
    2. redraw it with simple skeleton made of pixels on different layers
    3. when you are happy with movement you redraw each frame based on skeleton


    thank you

    • yep ๐Ÿ™‚ and its all a lot easier when you just focus on one body part at a time, starting with the primary body parts and working your way down to smaller ones, so I usually do the body/head first, then the legs, then the arms, then the extra details…

  5. What software do you use to do the animation?

    • hey Pete- I use Photoshop for all the pixel art and animation ๐Ÿ™‚ I hear Graphics Gale is good, but I like the layers and groups and color tools in Photoshop

  6. Oh man, this post is so useful!

    Great walk cycle, too. Cheers for sharing, and nice to meet you guys at IGDAM!

    • thanks man, glad it’s useful ๐Ÿ™‚ hopefully we can get to more meetups, it’s been really cool getting people playing the game… also completely nerve wracking! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. jake gumbleton

    I am working on my second iOS game and am going for a 2d hand painted set-up again. This blog is like a gold mine for me. Thanks so much for taking the time to share ๐Ÿ˜€

  8. this is absolutely amazing! thanks for sharing your work process, i makes thing a lot easier to understand even for us who are not so artistically gifted ๐Ÿ™‚

  9. Jean-Denis Haas

    Very cool! Love the smear frame detail!

  10. Wow man… this is a such awesome example. Thanks a lot for sharing!

  11. Quentin

    I just wanted to share something I made when I followed this little tuto but my message was never published. I hope I didn’t hurt your art because it was too lame :'(

    • oh sorry dude, we don’t have a good spam filter, and we get a LOT of advertising spam posted to the boards which I have to delete manually- when there is 100 or more I go through in a rush and tend to delete everything that has a link in it because posters don’t usually post links but the advertising always does…

      long story short- I probably accidentally deleted it with a bunch of spam!

      feel free to post again and I’ll try to keep a better eye out for it!

  12. Mothil

    Oh man, I love this! I’ve been trying to teach myself pixel art for a while now, and this was very inspirational. Definitely checking through your stuff later today, I think I can learn a lot from you. ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. super cool work and great explanation, thanks!

  14. Scofano

    Epic stuff, bro. Iยดm a fan of your work.

  15. ะ’ะธะบั‚ะพั€

    Most sane people have a fear of animating walk cycles. Many events are happening at the same time, and it can seem overwhelming. A single mistake on your first drawing can wreck the rest of the scene. However, the process can be broken down into a series of steps which can go some distance in simplifying the process.