Thursday, March 28, 2013

Walking in High Heels What Should Animators Know About

Firstly high heels was a handy tool for Persian horsemen. They hooked it's heels into the saddle's pedal to gain better control while shooting and riding a horse. Although becoming high heels from a handy tool for Persian horsemen to indispensable shoes for women has an interesting tale, this post is not concentrating on high heels historical evolution. It intends to show how high heels can affect people walking and stance. Do not forget that female heroes in video games are very powerful but they are not like Gorillas! They can jump higher than Vlasic, hit harder than Sharapova and walk sexier than fashion models. It's all about entertainment. People prefer to control a pretty girl rather than a female gorilla. Mostly female heroes wear high heels in their journey through game so let's study how high heels can affect human movement.

Lets start with stance idle. Wearing high heels lowers the base of support. This makes the center of pressure on feet become almost near the ball joint (this is not healthy at all). So the one who wear high heels should shift her weight forward so her center of mass can be in the same vertical direction where center of pressure of her feet is. This vertical direction is known as line of gravity. This is essential to remain balanced. For shifting center of mass forward, the hip should move forward and this causes the spine to become curvy. The hip and stomach move forward and the rib cage extends a little due to the leaning of the hip. This makes a curve to the spine and this curve raises the buttocks higher. Beside these effects, walking on  high heels causes the calf muscle to be contracted and this makes women legs more curvy! Yes that's true, those curves attracts people. This is a rule, not just in human kind but in all mammals. So for stance pose, you have to raise her buttocks higher, move her hips and rib cage forward and bend her spine back so it becomes more curvy.

Now lets consider the walking. First the double support phase has a longer time because gaining balance during single support phase is harder due to the lower base of support. This makes shorter gaits in comparison to walking with normal shoes but the art of cat walk is that fashion models can take long gaits like when they wear normal shoes! As our female heroes are fashion models too, we have to ignore short gaits for walking.

During the single-support phase where just one foot is on the ground, human hip adducts through the center of mass. This is because that the line of gravity should connect to the base of support for gaining balance. This process is also known as weight shifting. This weight shifting leads hips to swing left and right when each foot starts touching the ground. The hips swing left when left foot touches the ground and swings right when right foot touches the ground. Wearing high heels provide lower base of support so for gaining better balance weight should be shifted more than walking with normal shoes so the line of gravity can connect with base of support which is the area of the shoe which is contacting with ground surface (during single support phase). This means the hips have to swing more to left and right and this makes walking with high heels more attractive in comparison to walking with normal shoes. So far we considered the lift and gait phases now let's consider the plant phase! While walking with normal shoes the knees extends smoothly so heels can make contact with ground softly. This makes a lower impulse to feet. This lower impulse makes the other body parts including hands to swing softer due to first law of newton . This is completely opposite for walking in high heels. The high heels do not allow the knees to extend smoothly. This is because the heels contact earlier with ground with higher speed and this leads to a higher impulse. Due to the first law of newton the other body parts should bounce more in comparison to walking with normal shoes. This higher bounce leads the hands to swing forward and backward higher and makes soft body parts like buttocks and breasts to shake more with higher amplitudes! And this makes walking more sexy.


In this post some of the effects which high heels could have on females walking has been reviewed. Knowing these effects is essential for creating better poses. So lets review these effects:

1- High heels make spine more curvy by shifting the hips and ribcage forward, bending spine backward and raising the buttocks higher.

2- Walking in high heels causes to take shorter steps in comparison to walking with normal shoes but we ignore short steps for female heroes because fashion models can take long steps while walking with high heels (the art of cat walk) and our female heroes are fashion models too!

3- During walking the, hips swing more to left and right (hip adduction)

4- During foot planting, heels contact to ground with higher speed and this makes the hands to swing with higher amplitude to forward and backward. Also if you have control over buttocks or breasts you have to shake them more obvious due to the higher impulse which is made by contacting heels to the ground.

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