run cycle animation

What is Run Cycle Animation? 5 Basic Things An Animator Must Know?

In animation, a run cycle animation is a series of poses or drawings of a character running. It is used to create the illusion of motion. A run cycle usually consists of 19-24 drawings, depending on the speed and complexity of the run. A run cycle reference is a technique used in animation. It refers to the sequential images or videos of a character running. The purpose of a run cycle animation reference is to give animators an idea of how the character moves and looks from different angles.

If you’re just beginning your career as an animator, then this is one of the fundamentals you will likely have to learn. A Basic but very crucial part of animation, like a run cycle animation, is typically used in everything from games animations to character animations to Major Animated Movies.

In this article, I am going to cover 5 Basic Things that you need to know about run cycle animation.

So, let’s get started!

What is Run Cycle In Animation?

When animating a character, the animation process is not complete until the run cycle is perfected. The run cycle is the basic movement of a character when they are running. It consists of 12 frames that loop to create the illusion of motion. The frames are usually divided into three phases: starting, middle, and ending. In order to create a believable run cycle, it is important to understand how each phase affects the overall movement.

Run cycle animation
Animated by – Nikhil Ray

The starting phase begins with the character taking a step forward with their leading foot. In the middle phase, they continue to move forward while lifting their trailing foot off the ground. The ending phase is when they bring their trailing foot back down to the ground and prepare to take another step. There are many things that can affect how a character moves during their run cycles, such as their weight, speed, and direction.

How to take Run cycle reference?

When creating a run cycle animation, it is important to take reference from someone or something that is actually running. This will help to create more realistic and believable animation. There are several ways to take reference for a run cycle. One way is to use video footage of someone running. Another way is to use pictures of someone running. Finally, another way to take reference is by using motion capture data of someone running.

EMU Running Science Laboratory

No matter which method you choose, it is important to observe the person or object closely in order to capture the correct motion. For example, when taking references from video footage, you will want to pay attention to things like the person’s stride length and arm movement. When taking references from pictures, you will want to look at things like the person’s posture and facial expressions.

How many frames are there in a Run cycle Animation?

A run cycle is a group of keyframes that are used to animate a character or object running. This type of animation is often used in cartoons and video games. Typically, there are around 19 keyframes in a run cycle animation. However, this can vary depending on the character or object being animated.

What are run cycle poses called?

Run Cycle Poses can be divided into six Key Poses. They are Contact Poses, one Down Pose, one Push-Off Pose, one Up Pose, and one Passing Pose.

Run Cycle poses

how to animate a run cycle?

If you manage to gather a good run cycle Animation reference, now it’s important to remember the movements of the character’s hips, knees, and feet. There are many possible ways to create a walk cycle, but one of the most important features is ensuring that the move seems to flow dynamically.

When animating a run cycle, it’s important to first understand the principles of motion. The body is constantly in motion, and when running, the body moves in a specific way. By understanding these principles, you can create an animation that looks realistic and fluid.

Alessandro Camporota

There are three main points to consider when animating a run cycle: the start, the middle, and the end. Each point has its own set of motions that need to be captured in order to create a believable animation.

Focus on weight when you Animate a Run Cycle?

When animating a run cycle, there are a few things to keep in mind. First, think about the character’s weight and balance. A heavier character will be slower and less agile than a lighter one. You’ll also want to make sure the character’s arms and legs move in a realistic way, and that their body is positioned appropriately for the speed of the run. Finally, take into account the energy and emotion of the character’s run. Make sure they look like they’re really moving!

For the start of the run cycle, you’ll want to focus on capturing the energy and momentum that is needed to get started. This usually involves a quick burst of movement as the character rushes forward. The middle of the run cycle is where most of the action happens. This is when your character is the fastest and most agile.

Another crucial thing to keep in mind when creating an animation is the weight balance. The character’s weight should be evenly distributed along its feet as it runs. If you look for footage of people running, you’ll see they shift their weight from foot to foot as they run.


I have animated many run cycles for various projects, and I learned that these animation cycles are a required skill for animators to possess. If you’re even considering beginning your career in Animation, keep these 5 basic tips at the forefront of your mind.

You can Check out FreeAnimationsTutorials if you would like to Learn More about animations. You may also become familiar with what’s Walk Cycle Animations for your knowledge.

In conclusion, run cycle animation is an important aspect of character animation. It can be used to create a sense of realism and to help the viewer connect with the character. When done correctly, it can make a huge impact on the overall animation.