POSING: 2D Animation principle

17 December, 2008

POSING: Animation principle

Posing/key framing is an
important principle of animation since it demands both extreme stylized drawing
skills and technical expertise. Posing means creating essential key frames that
carries the action of the character or object in a specified path of action.

A posing artist, basically a
key animator, should have complete knowledge about animating characters within
the frame length provided in the storyboard. He should follow the instructions
from the storyboard strictly, since the storyboard provides all information
about the scene in small panels. A key animator should have expertise n the

  • Illustration and visualization skills.

  • Staging the characters by creating composition.

  • Extreme stylized drawing skills.

  • Character consistency maintenance.

  • Timing the actions.

  • Acting with dialogue.

  • Camera planning.

  • Animating sounds and beat.

  • Communication skills.

  • Production management skills.

The job of a key animator is to
provide all the poses, which means he develops the scene exactly based on the
information in the storyboard. Then the scene will be passed on to an animator
who works closely with a key animator. In other words a key animator develops
the scene for an animator to enhance the scene by adding additional key
drawings. Animator determines the timing between each every key drawing by
inserting inbetweens. So by the time an animator finishes the scene, the total
number of scenes that are to be produced for an individual scene will be
obvious. Inbetweeners will add the inbetweens as per instructions by the
animator. Then all drawing will go to the clean-up department.

Anticipation is the movement
prepares the audience for a major action the character is about to perform, such
as, starting to run, jump or change expression. A dancer does not just leap off
the floor. A backward motion occurs before the forward action is executed. The
backward motion is the Anticipation. A comic effect can be done by not using
anticipation after a series of gags that used anticipation. Almost all-real
action has major or minor anticipation. An action occurs in three parts. The
preparation for the action, the action proper and the termination of the action.
Anticipation is the preparation for the action, without anticipation most
actions are abrupt, stiff and unnatural. Anticipation is also a device to catch
the audience’s eye, to prepare them for the next movement and lead them to
especially before it actually occurs. Anticipation is often to explain what the
following action is going to be. Anticipation is also used to direct the
attention of the audience to the right part of the screen at the right moment.
This is essential for preventing the audience from missing some vital action.
Anticipation can also emphasize heavy weight. As for a character picking up an
object that is very heavy. An exaggerated anticipation, like bending way down
before picking up the object, helps the momentum of the character to lift the
heavy object.

Posing usually pertains to the
key drawings in an animated scene. The key drawings are drawn first and then
tested before the inbetweens are drawn. Having a plan helps so our first step is
to think of the character. His attitudes, emotions, his purpose in the scene and
how he will express them. Once we have given the character and scene, some
thought and then it is time to think with our pencils and draw a few thumbnails.

Step: 1

Draw several drawings to
explore different poses. Depend on the body attitudes to sell the
pose not the facial expressions.


Step: 2

Now take your thumbnails and blow them up
to the normal size.

Remember to start with your line of action and really try to exaggerate
it. Always keep in mind the emotion you want to express. Make a series of
drawings that tell the story of the scene.


You can have “meek” lines of
action (#1); “aggressive” lines of action (#2), and so on.

Step: 3

Build your character pose
around the line of actions.


Keep your drawings loose and
spontaneous and keeping trying to exaggerate or PUSH the drawings.

Step: 4 


One of the most important
elements to good posing is a readable silhouette.

Step: 5 


Once you have the line of
actions, and silhouettes pushed, look for other elements in the drawing to
assist in the emotion. Elements such as the hair, hands feet (the weight), and
clothing can enhance your poses.

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