Keith Lango: The importance of Posing In Animation

In the early stages  of the project, whenever it started looking into into what makes a good animation, I refereed to a set of video tutorials my lecturer recommended a year ago. These great tutorials are a concoction of tips and tricks from Valve animator Kieth Lango. I found his set of tutorials covering the importance of posing to be particularly  interesting.


I broke down some of the key points that I took away from the tutorials

Posing: Is considered by many to be one of the most important things you can do in animation

“Your animation is only as god as your poses, you can have good timing, good overlapping action and good follow trough, but if you poses are not strong and to the point(telling a story), you do not have good animation.”

-Ham Luske

Good posing instantly communicates a character

Each poses should be have the ability to work as a single frame illustration

Good poses allow the audience to see into the characters soul

Story isn’t necessarily ‘king’ there plenty of animated films with relatively simple or weak stories.

Characters are king

The only reason a story means anything to an audience is because the audience CARES about the characters.

Pose has two primary functions

Appeal & Emotion

Appeal– allows the audience to easily access the soul of a character for a quick understanding of what the character is feeling

(Example: Gromit-Doesn’t talk, yet because it’s so easy to understand him from his appeal, we can understand exactly what he’s talking about, when he’s not even talking)


Emotion– shows who they are as a character and clearly express the true feelings in the heart of the character for that given moment

The character is in the pose

The pose reveals the character

The pose is not a synoptic of a movement

Movement is a symptom of a characters emotional state

Thus the pose is the primary mechanism for telling a story

Most animation is a series of Two dimensional shapes moving on a flat screen to convey a story or character, in this case we must focus on understanding how to best use two dimensional shapes to express ideas.

Poses are the meaningful arrangement of 2D shapes to tell the story.

What is a line of action?

He line of action is an imaginary line through the characters body that shows the primary force of a pose, indicating direction and energy (kinetic or stored) of the characters pose.

Pose variety

Vary the intensities of your poses and lines of action

Make one pose of greater importance than all the rest

Use all other poses in concert to lead to this key pose.

Reversing the line of action-builds contrast in the scene

Builds up and releases energy to move the character and the story forward

Uses for vertical line of action

Vertical lines of action are useful for adding a point of emphasis to a scene

Vertical lines of action,when contrasted against other strong directional lines are like exclamation points-useful to make a point.

So basically pose is key when animating, something I’ll have to keep in mind when working on my own animations.




Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s