Animation Tips: Posing

Posing is an important part of animation. Posing is a HUGE part of the animation progress. These poses communicate more what the character is feeling than the face does. As much as I LOVE facial animation, I have to give extra special attention to making sure my poses are the best they can be. How do I make sure of this? Well, this is my checklist.

1. Silhouette – As the video above shows, I look at the silhouette of the character’s pose. Why? Well, this is to make sure that the audience can clearly tell what the character is doing or feeling. The first thing the viewer will see when he or she sees your animation is the broad shapes of the character’s body. Having an unclear silhouette will leave an unclear shape that can confuse the viewer, so having a clear shape the audience can easily read is imperative.

2. Line of Action – Adding on to the idea of easy shapes for the viewer to read, the line of action is the invisible line running through the character’s head to his toes. This line must be interesting to look at. The line of action is actually more of a simple curve. This adds drama and dynamic that a straight, static line usually would not give.

This picture explains line of action very well.

Keep your line of action simple. Crazy curves will only confuse the viewer. Remember K.I.S.S. : “Keep it simple, Stupid!”

3. Contraposta – This is just fancy talk for counter posing. I like to rotate the upper torso of the body differently from the lower hips. This not only makes an interesting pose, but also a good line of action.

4. Physics – “Is this pose physically possible?” I ask myself frequently. The things that the character’s body can do should be similar, if not the same as what the real human body can do. While this rule isn’t always true, as making a “break” in the arm or leg of a character can further enhance the strength of a pose, it still is a basic guideline I follow. The character also must be balanced on his or her feet. It should not look like the character will fall over at any moment, unless that’s I’m doing an animation of someone falling over. Like I said, this one is more of a guideline than a strict rule.

5. All Angles Work – If I’m working in 3D animation, I want to check that my pose follows all the above rules in every angle. Although the camera may not be seeing the animation from these angles, I must still check them. Unlike in traditional animation, every rotation and translation in the character affects the later poses. In turn, the pose must be perfect in every angle to avoid problems in future posing.

In conclusion, posing is all about making sure the audience is clear on what is going on. Posing is the most important part of animating, as it is how the character emotes and expresses itself. Posing IS the process of animation.

I hoped you learned something off of this and if you want to learn more click HERE and HERE to watch two videos that helped me write this post. They are made by the pros and they explain it far better than I did. Thanks for reading this really long post!

See you later, Animators!


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