Move Shapes shows an easy way to create a walk cycle animation in After Effects without using any specialized plugins.
After Effects uniquely has a variety of tools available to artists that allow you to rig characters for animation. From DUIK to Limber to Rubber Hose, there is no shortage of free and paid third-party tools designed to take your money. The thing is, you don’t need to use anything other than After Effects to create character animation. Some animation may be harder to produce that way that others as a result, but creating a walk cycle animation is rather simple.
Check out this short tutorial from Move Shapes (Peter Arumugam) who shows how to create a walk cycle animation by only using shape layers in After Effects. You can download the complete source file for the project by becoming a Patron of Move Shapes.