Today I’d like to talk a bit about posing. I recently was given a great lecture on posing. I know for me, when it came to my learning process in animation, not enough emphasis was placed on posing. I mean, really drawing and figuring out your poses before even getting into the computer. Also really pushing your poses. I always get feedback saying push those poses further.
I always seem to contain my posing. It seems that the best way is to push too much…because then you can always dial it back some more.In my experience it is to push the pose, step back, look again,then push more. It’s like when they say, “It’s always better to be overdressed than under-dressed”. Never go with your 1st pose, ask yourself, “Can I push it further?” In the lecture I received he discussed 3 Main Principles of Posing.
1. Staging of the Shot
2. Line of Action
3. Pose Design
As animators we are exposed to staging all the time. Before we were animators it was planned out for you to see in all of the films that you watch. If you stop on a frame of animation, you can really study the staging in a shot. Where the characters are placed in the scene also in relation to the objects or even other characters. Most things in a shot as you might notice in many great photos do not lie perfectly center but are slightly offset. Take a look at this still frame from Foghorn, you can see the staging set up clearly and direct. All of the action and staging leads the audience directly where they want you to look.
This is discussed in John K’s Blog as he takes this shot and breaks it down frame by frame. John’s Blog is a great resource for this as he seems to do this type of stuff alot. He examines different shots of classic animation all the time and breaks them down. Check it out.
Now the Line of Action in a character is one of the most important aspects of posing. How you pose the character I believe will determine how much smoother your animation will flow from one extreme to the next. I never realized it early on but having really strong poses can actually make your animation easier when you go from your blocking to splining. It will also help your animation read clearly. You can convey just about every emotion with your posing. It also ties in with your framing of the shot in that many elements of the shot will follow your line of action. Think…if your character was just a line…Would it be clear?
These are a few poses of Louie from the Jungle Book drawn by Milt Kahl. I saw this post on Michael Sporn’s Splog. There are many frames from this animation, so check it out cause they are amazing examples of how you can get good weight and character through Line of Action. Next time that you see a great piece of animation I encourage you to pause it on a single frame that best describes it. Then frame by frame it from pose to pose and see how clear the animation really is. This is all made possible by these types of poses.
There are a few elements within Pose Design that were covered in the lecture I received that I would like to bring up. Simple vs Complex and Straight vs Curve. They run hand and hand but you will see it. It is mainly all about balance in the pose when you are constructing it. Ask yourself what it is that you are trying to say. What emotion are you try to sell? Then you can start with your line of action and in that line of action will fall your attitude. Here are a couple of examples…one from animation and one from real life.
The 1st example is a Glenn Keane drawing for the prince of Rapunzel.
If you look at the left side of the Prince then you see Simple and Curved. The right side is Complex and more Straight up and down. Same with the pic of the the kick boxer his left side is Complex and the other side is Simple. In any good pose you can find these. Please check out Glen’s site The Art of Glen Keane. There is always great examples of posing on there.
There are so many examples of great posing out there so do your research. I have put together a few more resources for everybody. So really take the time and think about your posing it will make a world of difference in your animation.
The ones above are from a great site called The Animation Art of Bobby Pontillas that has plenty of great examples.
This one comes from a Pose Tutorial
I found on Deviant Art
pretty sweet. Deviant Art is also a great resource for good posing.
And here is a few other links
Keith Lango‘s Life after Pose to Pose
Victor Navones Tutorial on Posing
to be continued…