View Full Version : Planning Animation

03 March 2005, 11:20 AM
Hi all Animtators,
perhaps you could give me a little advice and tip.
I want to learn how to draw, so I can plan my shots better and do little thumbnails, get the right poses and expression. I also want be able to draw Character designs,...

So can you give me little tips for books and training materials and methods to learn this
and I want to hearn your thoughts about this book:
Simplified Drawing for Planning Animation
by Wayne Gilbert

thanks for your help

03 March 2005, 11:56 AM
I am not too sure on the book matey. I have heard that 'Drawing on the right side of the brain' (I forget the author) is meant to be pretty awesome.

My advice would be for you to get a sketchbook, and go sit in the park, or mall, and sketch some stuff real quick. Don't concerntrate on the details, try and get their shapes, and poses. Thumbnailing, I find is a lot like that.

As for character design, draw some primitives (circles, squares, oblongs etc) and link them together. Once that's done draw around them adding in details for the character... That's my way of doing it anyhow.

Really though, it's all down to experience. And, experience comes with practicing. So when you're off of the computer, get sketching stuff!:)

03 March 2005, 03:37 PM
ok thanks stu...

but it looks like the book isn't that good or nobody knows this book!

I still hope someone could tell me something about this book, guess I have to wait and hope :D

And I still want to hear some input of you guys concerning the other topics

so Thanks

03 March 2005, 10:44 PM
erm i have heard of the book. Its a very well known book.

Drawing on the right side of the brain by Betty Edwards (check amazon) is an interesting approach to tackling drawing. and although i dont own a copy and have never really read it I know some of the excersizes because we did them when we were students.

but to aggree with vyn, the best way of learning is doing. I have been life drawing for over 10 years now and i am starting to like the drawings i am making.
conversley i know artists who couldnt draw from real life if you held a gun to their heads. Those guys generally have great technique are have mastered a particular style of drawing but are unable to adjust or change.

I guess it all depends on what you want to do with your drawings. Personally i would try making lots of small sketches and get used to drawing solidly learn hos to use line to describe form. and when you do a drawing (sketchy or otherwise) construct it use the lines almost like a wireframe to help define the surface of the object you are drawing..


03 March 2005, 11:44 PM
Hi hamu73

I recently bought this book and read it a couple of times. The book is designed so that you can read from back to front or front to back. There are 3 chapters.

The first chapter is on planning animation and posing which I think is the most valuable chapter to me.

The second chapter teaches you how to draw simplified anatomy. Basically show you how to draw hands, legs, arms, fingers in the simpliest way so that you don't get caught up with details when doing thumbnailing for you animation.

The third chapter teaches you about geometic shapes and perspective. About box, circles, spheres, perspective, ellipses, lines, etc.

To sum things up, I think the book gave me a start (i.e. having an idea) on how professional animators plan their animations. I actually learn more by doing the planning for my animations. To me, the most valuable page is page 31 where he shows you an actual page of his planned animation. I hope the book has more of these and less of the third chapter. However, having said that, I think Wayne is just trying to emphasize the importance of fundamental (the third chapter).

I hope this helps.

03 March 2005, 12:04 AM
I guess I never found it hard to draw stick figures...but maybe that's just me...:blush:

03 March 2005, 09:36 PM
Sounds like you want to do 2 things. 1) plan out your shots 2) character designs. I think they both require a different approach.

For planning out your shots all you need to get across is a rough pose, the movement, and the emotion. You can do this with a stick man and circles for eyes. Put in the pupil for eye direction and draw quick lids and brows for emotion. Sometimes I get a little more detailed if it's a certain hand pose or expression. You'll get quicker at it the more you do it and if you practise drawing people (as already suggested). Another huge help for planning your shots is acting out your shot on video. It gives you timing and subtle gestures you may not have thought of. Many animators shy away from this, but it really does make a difference. Come on now, everyone go try it... It's also easier to sketch your idea if you are drawing a freeze frame from your video reference.

Character design I think requires some study. If you are brand new into it, I'd grab Preston Blaire's book. It's basic and you can get an idea of how chars are built from simple shapes.

good luck,

03 March 2005, 03:40 AM
well said ripley. I concur that thumbnailing is important, but drawing from life is extremely important, there are also really good tips in the animators survival guide if you can get past the rambling that goes on. I will say this, those who say they suck at drawing are really great artists (come on peeps, you know its true) and those who say they cant draw are the ones who make sloppy work (this is my experiance at least). Know the rules from life, then you can make your own rules

03 March 2005, 07:39 AM
i find the hardest thing about drawing is when i havd an idea but i cant get it on paper and so when it comes out wrong i get frustrated and it just goes downhill from there. on the other hand if i start drawing and i think it looks good then its a fantastic feeling and i keep going with it.
i've found that to help solve the problem of not being able to get my ideas out onto paper you need to build up a reference library of sorts in your head, so lets say you want to draw a robot, and you have not drawn much you will no doubt find it hard because you do not have the images in your head to interpret and use, but say you have been drawing machines and cars and whatnot for ages you will have a knowledge of the "rules" of machines and you will be able to use that to creat something new, yet at the same time realistic in that its built of familiar bits.
so drawing is the best thing you can do to learn how to draw, but to over come the frustration of "not being able to draw" when you start you need to learn the rules of drawing, the best thing for this is a good drawing teacher and life drawing. but in the mean time maybe this can help out a bit :)

04 April 2005, 08:53 PM
A book--or series of books-- that I might add to the list of character drawing and design would be Burne Hogarth's Dynamic Anatomy. He's also got drawing the human head, dynamic drapery, dynamic hands, dynamic figure drawing...etc. There are some great tricks to foreshortening, proportions and forms and such. I think these are a great starting point for any aspiring character designer. Take it from me, I'm using them right now for the same reason. Dynamic Anatomy has the essentials, but the others elaborate on details.

04 April 2005, 09:48 PM
A good thing that I do, just to keep me warm, is to draw a drawing every night before i go to bed. Just for an Hour... For just a week I can see a Huge diffrence.. It's actually pretty fun to watch the progress.. try it your self! :)

04 April 2005, 10:56 AM

I want to learn how to draw, so I can plan my shots better and do little thumbnails, get the right poses and expression. I also want be able to draw Character designs,...

ok, shot breakdown is relatively easy, its just a matter of getting a little sketch book and drawing people around you, learn to draw then very quickly and learn *this is important* there line of action, a line that runs right through them denoting the action. Because that line of action will denote good arcs in animation.

As for character design this is a little more complex, firstly wipe yourself of a style, then buy as many books as possible -read them all. Then if youve got some friends who wanna help out hire a life model. Draw in the day, then at home (if your at home) draw your pets your parents anyone. Then i advice do details - feet,hands, faces. Then study artists way of working, and eventually your start to find a style you like to work with.

The most important thing is keep drawing, bring a book with you at all times. Be like turner who used to strap himself to the mast's of boats in the ruffest weather! to get those key paintings. Hehe painting in the rain let alone gail force 9 is hard enough.


04 April 2005, 03:48 PM
Hi. check out:
The website looks goofy but Glen Vlippu is a mater. He has taught at most all the major studios. He has dvds, Dvds on gesture drawing,books and lots of good stuff.
Pretty much everything he sells especially the quick sketch and gesture drawing is gong to be great on helping nail a pose down.

04 April 2005, 05:55 PM
in terms of planning animation out...
I have been building a website just for animation planning. Since I learn best by example and I know others do to, I've decided to post how I go through the process. This is not to say that this is THE way to do it, nor is it to say I'm an animation master.

check out my site:


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