View Full Version : Animation workflow

06 June 2006, 02:50 PM

I need a bit of advice regarding good animation workflow. I recently applied for a position in the 3D department on an upcoming television series, naming my strengths in my application as modeling and texturing, with some understanding of the rigging and animation process.

So it turns out, I've been shortlisted for an animation position. The problem is, the animation on my reel wasn't great - it was intended purely to demonstrate good deformation of the mesh. But apparently, the HR guy saw something in my animation that he liked, and now he'd like to see some work from me focusing purely on animation.

Basically, this means I have very little time to produce some work that will land me the position. At the HR manager's recommendation, I've downloaded the Generi rig and spent some time learning how it works, and I'm fairly confident in my (mostly unproven) animation abilities, but the real problem is, I'm choking on the workflow.

From my limited experience, I've discovered the fastest and easiest way to work is a pose-to-pose system, laying out a scene in first key poses, then progressively smaller iterations of inbetween poses, and finally fixing the curves. I have no idea if this is an 'ideal' workflow or not, but I seem to remember one of my lecturers praising this method.

I'm hoping some of the animators on these boards could help me out with some of their workflow tips and tricks, and any advice that might help me get some Oscar winning performances from my polygons over the next couple of weeks?

Thankyou for your time!

06 June 2006, 08:09 AM
There's a thread in Animation Lounge that I started about workflow. Check it out here (

Still more questions? Ask away :)

06 June 2006, 08:26 AM
Brilliant! Thankyou!

I actually just stumbled upon an old thread (very old) you had participated in regarding the Dope Sheet, and a link to an external animation guide by Keith Lango.

Thanks for the link to your thread, I'll be reading it thoroughly :D

06 June 2006, 03:45 PM
Oh yeah, definately read Keith Lango's pose to pose guide. It really helped me get a comfortable workflow.

06 June 2006, 12:49 AM
I'm at a bit of a crossroads... I've found that I really love straight-ahead animation, and for the most part it results (for me) in a more 'alive', less structured performance. But I worry that if I continue down this road, rather than spending some time mastering the pose-to-pose flow, then I might suffer in the workplace. I know it's important to block out a scene for approval, but I find it really difficult to nail timing in a pose-to-pose workflow. Everything I do in a straight-ahead fashion just... works. But the problem with this is, I find it difficult to hit beats working this way, unless I force it and then I lose the fluidity of straight-ahead that I like so much. Maybe I just need more practice...

06 June 2006, 10:07 AM
Here's something from the interview with Victor Navone (Pixar) over on

Whenever I'm given a shot I like to spend at least a day (schedule allowing) just thinking about the shot, the character, and how it fits into the film. I start drawing ideas, looking at research, and/or acting the shot out to find ideas. If I'm working pose-to-pose I will find a sequence of poses that I think communicates the acting ideas as clearly as possible with the least amount of information. Just a few poses is usually all you need. Then I go about puting those poses onto the 3D character and timing them out on the computer. I usually start with held splines or I double up my poses to minimize to minimize the amount of computer inbetweens. Then I start adding breakdowns as needed until I have keys at every 4 or 5 five frames. Then I start smoothing my splines from the hips out, adding ease-ins and -outs, offesetting keys to get lead, follow and overlap, and adding more keys where necessary for texture and better arcs. I spend at least a whole day polishing splines, arcs and spacing at the end.

Chris Bacon
06 June 2006, 12:09 AM
great find,and very solid advice,

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