Hello, I'm working on practicing my walk cycles and keep running into a frustrating problem. 

As I move to the "down" pose from the "contact" pose my puppet's head height is actually raising compared to the previous position. At first, this seemed like it would be impossible but when I thought about it I figured out what was going on:

The front and back feet are planted on the ground as a result of the "contact pose" and the puppet's body is continuing to move forward (obviously this forward motion is the intended result of walking), but that means that as the puppet shifts it's weight from it's back leg to its front, the body/head will be traveling over the front leg which is raising it. 

During frames 1-4, when moving from "contact" to "down" pose, are both of the puppet's feet suppose to remain in contact with the ground? If so, how does the puppet's body continue moving forward while also lowering?

Thanks to anyone who can help!

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There are many different walks, so that really unhelpful phrase "it depends" applies here.  

If you want the puppet head to still go a bit lower as the weight moves onto the front foot, bend the knee a little.  With a really heavy giant creature (or one carrying a load), bending the knee for a couple of frames as it settles can give a sense of weight.   For other lighter characters you might have a jauntier walk where, as you found, the head is already starting to rise into the next arc as the body moves forward over the front foot.  

Usually the body does keep moving forward, though it might slow down a bit at the transition from one foot to the other.

I've seen walks where there is no frame with both feet tied down at once (though both might touch), other walks where they are both down for 1 frame (prob what I mostly do), and where they are both down for 2 or 3 frames.  And of course, with a run there is at least one frame with both feet off the ground.  

Best thing I can think of is to video yourself walking with different types of walks, then look at the footage frame by frame to give you an idea what happens.

Thanks for the advice. I have been studying videos of people walking and other animations as well and suppose that the best thing to do is keep trying.

But to clarify what might have been ambiguous before: the type of walk I am working on is--I guess there's no better way to put it than--an average walk, shot 24fps on ones, one walk cylce per 24 frames without any exaggerated movements, performed with a 6" puppet of average proportions. I'm referencing the "normal walk" in Richard Williams' Animator's Survival Kit as my guide.

Ah, that's clearer!  I just looked at my copy of the Animator's Survival Kit - a much better guide than I could ever be!  I see, on page 142, Normal Walk Spacing, and the leading leg is straight when the heel makes Contact, but then bends at the knee on the Down frame.  Which does get the head a little lower before starting up again.  

Are you able to draw guide lines on screen? Dragonframe has this facility, and it is incredibly useful to check head height.

As Nick says, the down position shows clearly a bend in the leg, giving a push upwards and forwards to the pass position, straight leg fully up, with bent back leg coming through and then straightening out for the next cycle.

This doesn't help, but I love Barry Purves' comment about having his characters often just step out of darkness into the light as a way of avoiding having to do walk cycles!

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