Walking cycle loop

Hello, Just created a 35 frame 4 leg walking cycle using pegs and keyframes. I now want to animate a long background and fore ground that will move left to right as the walking cycle loops. My problem is I can’t seem to find an easy way to either
1. make a nested comp of the walking cycle OR
2. make a movie clip of the walking cycle OR
3. duplicate the 35 frame sequence so I can just copy and paste it a bunch of times on the existing timeline.
Does TBS offer a solution or do I have to reanimate the sequence for as may times as I need it?
“Create cycles” only seems to work for frame by fame hand animation. After Effects and Flash have a solution. Seems like it would be a common need maybe I just missed it. Thanks

Found I could extend exposure for the element down the time line to where I needed it and then for the peg layer just right click > select change loops > and then put in the number needed to cover the extended exposure. Still would like to know if there is a better way or a way to nest comps or use movie clips. Thanks

You might like and have a look at JK’s excellent written articles, like this one about cycles:

For cycling backgrounds this article might be helpful:


  1. collapse the highest level peg in your hierarchy.
    2. on the collapsed peg track highlight the frames that make up one loop of your cycle.
    3. from the edit menu select “copy cell” or copy which ever it shows for copy.
    4. move the red frame slider to the first frame past the end of your loop on the same track as the collapsed peg
    5. from the edit menu select “paste special” , the default version of the dialog should be OK so click the OK button
    6. to do additional loop of this cycle move the frame slider one frame past the end of the previous loop, and paste special again
    7. repeat step 6 for each additional loop desired.

    Hope this helps, if you need help on connecting the looping cycles to a motion peg just ask. thanks -JK

THANKS! Worked like a charm! Nice and very helpful site you have! I hate to squeeze a golden goose but … How do I attach the cycles to a motion peg? That would allow me to move my character and not have to move the background around all the time. Would really make some scenes much easier. Thank you so much for your helpful reply and kind offer!

I am going to begin with a few assumptions:

The cycle has been created “in place”, this means that the cycle is like the character is walking on a exercise tread mill. They appear to be walking but they aren’t really going anywhere relative to their location on the screen.

The character has a top level peg, what I usually refer to as the character peg. This is for rigged characters. If you drew the character and their cycle on a single element and just wanted to motivate the cycle that will work also for a non-rigged character, more traditional in approach. So in that case the character’s top level peg would just be the single drawing element’s internal peg.

Our first step is to determine the duration of this cycle on the screen. This often is referred to as the screen time of the action. Perhaps the character is walking down a road or across a room. We need to determine how many cycles or parts of cycles we need to create to have enough frames of the motion visible for that amount of time. This is done by knowing the frame rate of the cartoon (FPS) and using the formula : frames = FPS x screen time in seconds. So now we know that we need a certain number of repeats of our cycle and we create those “loops” on our timeline so that the character will walk or run or whatever on screen for the desired time.

We now have our loops of the cycle so we collapse the character peg, their top level peg, collapsing a peg does more than just hide the attached elements, it insures a ripple down of key frames etc from the parent to the attached children.

Next we will add a new peg to our time line and name it “character motion peg” or “walking peg” (a personal choice). Then we drag our character peg on top of the “walking peg” to attach it to the walking peg. We then can collapse the “walking peg”. This helps us to not accidentally select the character peg while working on our motion path.

Now we go to the first frame of our walk cycle on the “walking peg” where we want to initialize our walk. We want to select the motion tool and keep it active as we move the red frame slider to the frame of the beginning of our motion the start of the looping cycles. Then we use the context menu to add a key frame (or you can use keyboard short cut ). This is the beginning of our motion path next we go to the last frame of the looping cycles and add a key frame there which will be the end of our motion path.

Now go back to the starting frame of the motion path and using the top view and side view panels as well as camera view you will move the character to the starting location relative to the background etc. In many cases this may be outside the camera’s view.

Next go to the ending frame of the motion path and using the top view and side view panels as well as camera view you will move the character to the ending location relative to the background etc. In many cases this may be outside the camera’s view also. So essentially the character moves from stage left to stage right or vice versa.

At this point you will change the segment on your “walking peg” between the two motion keys from a constant segment to a non-constant segment if it wasn’t already non-constant. This cause the motion path to become visible. The default velocity of a motion path is linear (balanced) which means that the speed of the character as they travel along the motion path will be constant (no speeding up or slowing down etc.) You can use the function editor and the motion path’s velocity function curve to adjust this if desired.

Now if you go back to the start of the motion path frame and “scrub” the timeline you will see your character walk from the starting screen position to the ending screen position along the motion path. In the simplest case that’s all there is to it. In a more complex case you can add motion points along the path and adjust the motion path as desired.

I hope this gets you started. Please feel free to ask more questions. I’m always glad to try to help and there are plenty of other TBS users who benefit from following along, so you are helping them as well as yourself. -JK

Can’t thank you enough! I spent this morning reading the excellent tutorials you have on Tall Grass Radio and have found a treasure chest of information.
Animation in Flash and After Effects is a bit different but I seem to be finding everything I need in Toon Boom only with a different accent (and with the help of an interperter). I am also finding it very fun! Looking through the forums I am finding people that truely enjoy what they do, are very helpful and are just GOOD people! Thanks a million and I hope to learn TBS soon and return your kindness by helping some one else. (Cause you seem to know what your doing!) Thanks Sam