Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Which Animation Principle Do You Think is Most Important, and Why?

That's a tough one. Timing and posing are top contenders, but if I had to choose one, it would be timing. Great poses with bad timing can ruin your animation, but bad poses with great timing can still get the idea across. Both scenarios are obviously not ideal, but I prefer timing over poses.

To me, timing is really important because it determines the intention of your actions. You can have a simple head turn, going from one pose to another, but the feeling will change depending on how you transition from pose to pose.

If the timing is slow, the character may appear tired or very cautious, and if the timing is fast, the character may appear nervous or panicky. Or, let’s say you have a character (a student, for instance) picking up a piece of paper (a test). Your poses and body language will tell us how he feels to some extent, but the timing of how he picks up the piece of paper will tell us if the student is nervous, confident, or stressed.

Or, let's say a character is jumping and falling. Your poses could be fantastic, but if the timing is off, then the physics are off. If the weight is off your animation won't be believable or entertaining. If your poses are bad but the timing is spot on, your animation might not be pretty to look at, but the intention and overall feel and believability of your animation will be intact and the story idea will be somewhat preserved.

Of course, if your poses are absolutely horrendous and your character looks happy and proud instead of sad, then your audience will be confused no matter what. :)

Guest Blogger Jean-Denis Haas


Unknown said...

I think thats the Idea of the principles... there is no principle that is most importent...
if u'r posing and timing is great, but u'r arcs are bad... then u'r all animation will look crapy...

what i can tell is what from the principles is less importent, i think thats the appeal.

if the posses are right, and then timing and arcs and all the else, but the animation is not that appeal... well.. it will work.. the messge will get crossed but it just wont be so rememberel... and u might not get any work in that company in the future but still.. the animation will pass...

Sean Dicken said...

It sounds to me, from reading this post, that your favorite principles are actually Timing, Ease-In and Ease-Out, and arcs, followed closely by Staging (there's no "Poses" principle). You can do a lot to make the worst timing look good with good spacing (eases).

Appeal is also important- you don't want to show something that nobody wants to look at. Always keep all the principles in mind while you're constructing your shot.

Jean-Denis Haas said...

Posing, staging, sorry, my bad, I don't stick to all the right terms. ;)

My favorite example is South Park, where the staging is limited, arcs are limited, etc. etc. but it's all about the timing.

Even if a character is really appealing but the timing is off, that just kills it for me. I take awesome timing on ugly characters over messy timing on appealing character. :)

Anonymous said...

I'll have to agree with timing being most important, for the same reasons as mentioned above.
However, like Sean said, you shouldn't undervalue appeal. Remember that most of the people out there don't know anything about animation, so with just an appealing character moving around, you can already convince half of the public. Note that I'm well aware that you shouldn't underestimate normal people, as even the untrained eye can easily spot flaws in your timing and poses.
So in the end it really is about the combination of all principles.

Unknown said...


I think if you got the timing down with the beats of acting then its 80% Done.

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