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…


Hey everybody. The time has come for another free Animation Mentor FREE Webinar. This one features a brilliant animation producer in Don Hahn. The webinar is a little different in which Bobby “Boom” Beck and Don will discuss the life, work and teachings of Disney legend Walt Stanchfield. Bobby Beck the CEO of Animation Mentor is a former Pixar animator and I have joined his webinars in the past in which he brings tons of great knowledge and enthusiasm! This should be lots of fun and a rare treat of two great industry specialists getting together to share some stories and experiance. So sign up now and enjoy!

So I always go back to look at different tutorials on many of the sites and blogs that I follow. Even if I believe that I have a good understanding of certain principles it is always good to go back and revisit them. Just like Keith Lango did on his workflow of breakdowns. Much to his credit, Keith revisited an earlier tutorial that he wrote titled Pose to Pose- Organized Keyframe tutorial. As animators, we are always learning and growing in our craft. The more we animate, the more we practice, the more we learn about this amazing process. What we thought might have worked for us earlier, as it may well have, the more we simplify and perfect our workflow. In this case Keith has done just that as he writes in this follow up tutorial titled Breakdowns Can be Such a Drag (building better overlaps in breakdowns). He goes on to compare his earlier views and techniques with a new and revised one based on more experiance and practice. Not only is it a good tutorial in building overlap into your breakdowns but he is able to show a clear diffrenece in the two different types of workflow. As as animator, I am always trying to perfect my passion with time practice and knowledge. It is not always this easy and clear on how we do this but this tutorial is a great example of that. So check it out and also check out the rest of his tutorials keithlangotutorials. Here it is.



Posted on May 5, 2009
Category: Free Rig, Josh Burton, Sqirrely Rig

I just found this rig on Josh Burton’s site. Well he just posted it :). I played with it for a bit and it seems like lots of fun and should be great to animate. He has done tests on his site with him so you can see “Squirrely” in action. He also has all of the info you need on him. Here ya go! I’m sure he would love feedback too.


So in this post I thought that I should speak up about a couple of great Mel scripts that are out there to help us animators along in the process. Hey anything that can make our life even a tad bit easier is always appreciated. So the first is the Tween Machine by Justin Barret and the shelf icons were created by Keith Lango. This is a great tool to help us along inbetweening our animation. It is not a substitute to actually doing it rather a tool to help us get the job done faster. There are many setting and it can be a very valuable tool so read up on it on the site. The other is the autotangent tool created by Comet-Cartoons. It’s under the Mel Script Suite there. There are plenty of good tools included in the suite and they list them on the site. The autotangent tool allows you to get the right curve on your tangents after the blocking stage. Many animators have different work flows that work for them from pass to pass. This tool allows you to have better control over your tangents so that there is no or less overshoot as compared to when you use spline. It allows you to have a bit more control over your tangents instead of leaving them to the computer AHHH. These scripts are all for maya. Although Comet-Cartoons has ones for Max. There are also many other helpful scripts at Highend 3D you can check out.
Let me point you in the direction for the scripts I mentioned.

The TweenMachine here

Autotangent here


I wanted to highlight a site that has been around for some time and has a really good example and insight into his work flow. It is a breakdown from blocking to final of a shot of Pussy from Shrek. It’s on Justin Barrett’s site and he does a great job of breaking his work flow down into his passes and puts them into quicktime so you can frame by frame it. SWEET! Also check out different examples of work flow under Concepts of The Day category. Check out his STUFF page for more.

Every now and again Animation Mentor offers a free webinar by animation professionals in various subjects. I’ve attended all of them and they each have been great in their own way. They are always worth the time and if you can’t get in on the live one you ca always check out their replay list here. This one features two professional animators, Wayne Gilbert and Keith Sintay speaking on Planning and Workflow…which happen to be two very important stages in the animation process. You can also check out their personal sites under the Animation Websites list here. So hope to see you there!


I ran into this post on Victor Navone’s site. I wanted to point this out because you see takes in almost any film out there. I think it is a very important part of acting and there are soooo many different kinds of takes. (Fast, slow, big, small, etc…) But check this out he does a great job of breaking down his process of a take that he did of Dash from the Incredibles. While you are there check out the rest of his tutorials and notes he really has some great ones.


More Rigs

Posted on March 19, 2009
Category: Blake Rig, Free Rig, Highend 3D

Speaking of new rigs out there…This is a rig that just was released this month. I played around with him a bit and he seems very “animator” friendly. Not to mention that he has many looks which is great. It is the first version so I’m sure there will be updates to follow. You can get him on HighEnd 3D. Enjoy!

New List

Posted on February 28, 2009
Category: Animated Shorts, Yankee Gal

I was looking at some short films the other day online and wondered why I don’t have a short film list here. So now there is one. If anyone has one that is not on the list feel free to leave a comment with the name or link and I will gladly add it on. I ran into this one the other day and thought I would pass it on.



It’s been about a year since I stumbled onto this site. I first began with some of his tutorials and then was introduced to his webinars. I began watching the way that he animates first in 2D in Flipbook and then brings that into Maya. For me it put alot of the animation principles into perspective in ways that I had not been looking at them before. These tutorials seem to help me realize the complexities of animation and how to break them down so that it is not just what I am focusing on but also to remember why I animate. Why do I spend all of this time consuming my life with all things animation? For the passion! While following Jason Ryan’s site it has brought with it… passion. I actually have fun learning new ways to animate and always trying to better my workflow. Of course everyone is going to have their own BUT, if you can learn something new it will only help your animation. So take a look check them out and maybe even try one out.

So enjoy your animating!

Valuable Critiques

Posted on February 19, 2009
Category: 11 Second Club, Animation Critique, Animator

Sometimes it is hard to come by a person who will take the time to give solid feedback on work for various reasons: busy, not around and well busy.

Well I’m not sure if enough people actually visit the critiques on the 11sec Club. At the the end of each month when the winner is declared there is a critique given by an industry animator. I think these are a great source of learning first of all how to crit and also to observe and learn from fellow animator’s work. So visit, take a look, cause there are plenty to go around.


Hey everyone

I stumbled on this post from Carlos Baena’s site. It was from one of the shots that he did on The Incredibles. The one where he saves the “jumper” and crashes through the building leading to the supers getting sued. He shows the process of his planning for the shot from thumbnails to video ref. It is a great read and really inspirational.

Check it out:

Tips and Tricks > Planning Case Study: Incredibles


Blog Direction

Posted on February 5, 2009
Category: Uncategorized

Just wanted to inform everybody of the direction the blog.

1st is uploading all found content.

2nd is giving the blog a bit of a face lift.

Once these are done there will continue to be new content as it is found.
Postings will try to be as regular as possible and trying to retain to current animation content.

Also, feel free to leave comments with different links that maybe you found and you do not find on this site.

So now…just cruise around and enjoy animation!

1st Post!

Posted on February 2, 2009
Category: Uncategorized

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