Posing Tutorial by demicoeur

Posing Tutorial


21 February 2013 at 09:09:15 MST

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Excuse any spelling errors :P

Some more crap I thought of that may be helpful for artists. I'm trying to put together a list of tips that changed the way I drew so they can hopefully give others a new perspective as well.

Rules can be broken more easily once you know what they are. The first bit about balance I could honestly go on forever. I see a lot of drawings where the furry would be falling over, and a lot of it has to do with the fact you can't pose a digitigrade character precisely the same way you'd pose a plantigrade. I don't know EXACTLY what the centre of gravity would be on a digitigrade character but I estimate it's a bit higher than a plantigrade, which makes it easier for them to tip over.

Eye direction is another one. I see way too many furries boning someone while staring at potted plants or off into space. Kinda calls into question whether they're even enjoying themselves, yeah?

The bit about characterization I did not learn from an art teacher. I learned it from an acting teacher who taught us 'acting for animators.' He completely changed how I think about drawing and characterization. The pose should be informed by who the character is, their motivations, not just what they're doing.

As always, these are things I've learned that work for me, but it's your art and you can decide what you want to do with it. I'm by no means an expert. (Also, just because I know these things doesn't mean I always get it right either hehe)

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    A lot of this information is posted elsewhere,but often, not all in the same place. For digitigrade characters, balance si critical. What I have discovered is to keep a character looking balanced, place a foot directly below a spot between teh ears of the character. Rather than a Center of Gravity, I call this a Balance point, and it helps to keep the character looking balances when standing still. Another quirk( I hesitate to call it a trick), is having the "cannon bone" (from hocks to toes on a digitigrade character), on a forward facing character point generally towards the weight bearing hip. This is by no means a hard and fast rule, but adds a lot to the posing.

    I agree on the eye direction. I suppose that wall eyed, Simpsons gaze is supposed to convey Mindless passion but it tends to just look mindless. IF one can't pick a direction to gaze, close their eyes. You and Lady Snakebite do good expressions in that department. It's important to show "involvement" in the proceedings.

    Ed Hooks is a treasure, isn't he? He and Sheldon Borenstein were hired by the company I worked for to train up our animators, and they both complimented each other, but Hook's doctrine of "thought translates to action" is so fundamental for posing. I know I need to keep pushing my stuff more.

    Again good stuff, Keep it up.


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      Funny, we did get a seminar with Ed Hooks at school but it was another teacher I was thinking about who taught more of how personality and motion/posing translate (in particular the 'what body part does the character lead from?'). They were both amazing teachers though.

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        Well in our case it was Sheldon, who kept up the mantra "Attitude gives thought, Thought gives action". We didn't have a lot of instruction on the leading of Body Parts. We worked in games, and there was a lively discussion of animation styles, and "stagey-ness, and a lot of the "Pantomime" and symbolism derived from Vaudeville (Playing to the back of the house), that Disney adopted (Good silhouette, broad, circular motions) was rejected, because in Games you can't be sure where the camera was, so you had to work out the "purity of thought" and action so it would read in ALL Directions. This is also where the "Balance point" between the ears came from, because a pose from one angle would look good, but from another would look really off balance. A good illustration of contrast in Animation approaches would be between "Tangled", and "Rise of the Guardians".

        As an aside. Sheldon Borenstein was the anatomy for animators, and the life drawing teacher at Cal State Northridge. He also ran a printing business, and when he would teach a class, either as a State University Teacher, or a Private Teaching Contractor, he would have these spiral bound sketchbooks with this most excellent paper for sale for $20.00 a pop. He worked for Warner Bros Animation in features and worked on Quest for Camelot. Apparently the experience was so bad, he left working in feature animation because of it. and would tell us horror stories as we sketched the models in class about the director, and the awful script. Fun times, cheerful teacher. I learned a lot. Sheldon was a student of Glen Vilppu.