Animation Alley-The Art of Posing

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In last week's Animation Alley article I briefly touched on the importance of posing in creating a good animation. This week I will give you some inside tips and tricks on posing, so, let's get to work.

Facing The Camera

If a pose is to read correctly, your character must be positioned in the correct position relative to the camera. Sometimes characters are shown for just a few seconds, and the audience should be able to read the character in even the briefest amount of time. This doesn't mean that you have to change the position of the camera (which would prove rather difficult if you were blending CG characters into live action sets). Nevertheless you can try to work your poses from your current POV [Point Of View], and make them function from there.


Make sure that the audience is able to read your pose


Symmetry

One of the worst things you can do when posing a character is to make the poses symmetrical. Although that's not "technically incorrect" it yields unnatural poses (and also unnatural animations).

Look at yourself in the mirror; stand still, or raise your hands. You will notice that there's a slight difference between the positions of your left and right limbs. What you do is to apply the same principle to your CG characters. Slight changes don't work here so you have to "exaggerate" the non-symmetrical poses.

Shy Poses: Break Those Joints

A lot of times you see animations on the internet where the artist never reach extreme poses because they are afraid of "breaking the geometry." Sometimes the figures’ fists are not closed, other times the arms are not bent enough, and frankly … they just look stiff. If you made a good rig then you shouldn't have to worry about your figures not appearing realistic.


Top: strong pose. Bottom: weak pose.


Using Silhouettes

Silhouetting is a trick you can use to check if your pose is strong or not. Pose your character, and then output an alpha-channel render from your camera view. If you are able to read the pose by looking at the silhouette, then your pose is indeed strong and the audience will not have any problem reading the pose when they see the rendered character.


You can see very clearly that the character is in agony or suffering


Unfortunately, nobody can teach you how to pose correctly ... well perhaps if you went to a 3D school. My point is, that there's no "completely correct" way to pose a character. You have to learn by practice. I hope these mini-tips were useful to you and help you create better poses. Keep in mind that a strong pose is one of the keys to make an outstanding animation.

Happy posing, and keep on animating!
nemirc


Animation Alley
is a regular featured column
with Renderosity Staff Writer
Sergio Rosa [nemirc].

May 23, 2005

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Member Opinions:
By: soviet_1917 on 5/23/05
thx man, good advice

By: tafsheep on 5/23/05
very interesting reading. useful stuff

By: animajikgraphics on 5/24/05
Good stuff here!

By: Andrew_C on 5/24/05
great advice, thanks

By: deemarie on 5/24/05
Thanks for pointing out the important details of posing that are often overlooked.

Great article :]
Dee-Marie

By: Bzzzt on 5/25/05
Nice theory, now I shall try it out :D thanx for shareing

By: daveH on 5/25/05
actually there is some ambiguity in the last shilouette: the character could also be stalking towards us in a threatening manner.

By: DreamWarrior on 5/25/05
Great tips! It's the little details what makes the difference.

By: ClintH on 5/25/05
Thanks Sergio! More fantastic information this week!

By: Teyon on 5/27/05
Cool...but he looks more like he's doing one of those villainous laughs BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! :) Actually, it could be any of the three, a evil laugh, a cry of pain, or pure suffering at it's finest. GREAT JOB, SERGIO!


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