2D vs 3D


I was wondering if there’s a different approach to animating in 3d. I’m used to animate in 2d where I draw the keyposes first and if they’re OK I’ll make the inbetweens.

Last year Kyle Balda from Pixar was guestspeaker at my college and he explained how he’d animate a walkcycle. First he would make sure the up and down movement was right and then he would pay attention to the sidewards movement of the hips. In this stage the character would just go up and down and he wouldn’t worry about the legs and arms. And finally he would animate the legs and arms. This is a different approach to 2d animation.
How do you guys animate in a 3d program?


however you want man.
There will always be a difference of process between 3d animators with a 2d training and those who started with 3d only (and can’t draw :p)
But as a result it makes no difference as long as in the end the motion is convincing. I go like you, having started with 2d, I block out my entire animation first with rough poses to get the timing and feel. then I go back and tweak. My boss starts with the hip positions too and makes sure he gets the right feel that way. But when we’re done you can’t tell who did what. It might be good to learn different approaches however, always put more into your bag of tricks.


I too block out poses before I add inbetweens in 3d…If it’s for a longer animation say 900 frames or more…i’ll block out 100 at a time and then tune a little…go to the next 100 and block and tune…and so on…it’s all what you’re comfortable with:)


Here’s my thoughts from experience in the trenches… the method to use depends on what you want the end result to be like. Pose to pose will help you get some really cartoony animation. Straight ahead is excellent if you have a line of dialogue. The end result looks pretty realistic and can be achieved pretty quickly.

In an ideal world, I’d say the best approach is to draw rough sketches of all the poses you want to hit, then animate straight ahead, go back and tweek things to hit your beats, strengthen poses, etc, then smooth it all out in the curves.


This is a useful place towards learning to think in 3D:

In 3D there are enough ways to do things where sticking to the same approach all the time isn’t always necessary. I might use something along the lines of Kyle’s approach for a shot with a lot of broad movement/action (or maybe a run/walk), or even straight-ahead where p2p feels too structured.

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I just wanted to chime in in agreement as well. I worked for many years animating those silly M&M characters at Will Vinton Studios in the 90’s. I guess it really doesn’t matter. I use the poses to pose method. but I only switched over within the last 2 years. I start with the major points in the scene and start setting poses for the major body parts then, I go back and start refining it by adding offsets and so fourth. I have found that when you do the layered approach (which is how I learned) sometimes… Well ok, most of the time, the clients and even the director to some extent have a hard time fully understanding your intentions when they see a stiff character bobbling around on a virtual set. It can be come very distracting to them and often times they will just wait for a more complete version of the action to make any real comments. Sometimes putting it off until it’s to late. I always hated the “Ahhh… Yeah… You’re going to animate the hands aren’t you?” questions that you get when agency people look at your work. So, When doing animation for commercials it’s sometimes better to use the pop through/pose to pose method because it gives them a better idea of what you have in mind at a much earlier stage. It’s also way more easy to change things when you’re still in the pose phase because you can see all the poses clearly in the dope sheet and can move them around or completely change a few without messing up all of the rest animation. This is much harder to do when you’re using the layered approach be cause you’ve most likely got a lot more keyframes to deal with on the major body parts and they’re usually not synced up with each other so it can be difficult to change the timing latter.

Lots of luck,



Thanks for the replies guys.

hobbes17r: Thanx for the link. I think it helps alot to see different approaches from other animators.

[left]ngrava: Yeah I agree on that. Most people who haven’t got animation experience have difficulty in understanding what your trying to do. You worked on the M&M commercials? I loved those commercials! Didn’t know they produced the PJ’s and Mark Twain. [/left]

I think I’ll just go ahead and experiment a bit and figure out what kind of approach suits me best.


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