help needed in creating a 3d animatic


I am starting on a 3d animatic for my upcoming animated short. I have never done a 3d animatic before and I am looking for some hints, tips, and tricks on making the experience a more pleasurable one.

Some specific questions that I have are:

  • how much motion should be put into the character, such as moving arms and legs etc?
  • is simply sliding the character across the ground enough to find exact timing?
  • what other befefits does the animatic serve besides roughing out timing and camera angles?
  • should rough facial animation be used?

Any help would be appreciated!



Well if it is for a personal project, its up to you how much detail do you want to get into the animatic. If you have to do a animatic for a paid job, then it mostly depends on who you working for.
For exemple I’ve done animatics with only a few boxes and basic shapes moving around, just to have a notion for timing and camera setup, but on the job I’m doing right now, the animatic was quite detailed, actually added a 2nd pass were I added a bit of the characters poses. So if you think it helps you having a very detailed animatic, go for it, personally I wouldnt do it for a project of my own, I would rather spend the time blocking the animation. Its your call.



I now go for quite detailled animatics.

Poses (torso, arms), basic walk cycles (don’t care about feet sliding, but DO care about speed and distance travelled), basic expression changes (main shot expression, and/or strong expression animation)

Basic dominant colors, global volumes for settings, similar lights. music if needed

The idea is : you make an animating to decide for the final editing of your film. So put in it anything that concern editing : Movement and shot “readability” (if that is an english word)

I also use animatics to decide the story board. I make the basic animation and sets for a full sequence in one file, based on the script, then put dozens of camera, turn around etc… a bit like in real action when some directors goes on location with a digital camera and shoot research shots. Or when actors are repeating. You’ll get new ideas, see weaknesses, you can work the global “mise en scène” (sorry, I don’t know the english term) etc…

Last : use only plain colors, no maps, basic low poly models. and very simple rigs. You need to go FAST. You realize you need another shot and may be double the action ? Do it in minutes, not in hours.And be carefull that a high poly model or detailled maps may lure you that you have something nice by distracting you from the real subject of an animatic : rythm, editing, story telling.

Work with both the 3D Software and the editing software at the same time. You make preview shots, add them in the editor. You’ll see how they work immediatly, and do immediate corrections.

Well, that just the way I do :wink: I just enjoy that now and it’s been the best part of making shorts.



Thank you both Gru and Jerome for your imput.


I guess I need to find a balance between blocking in the animation and rough poses.


“rythm, editing, story telling.” I think that line that you wrote pretty much did it for me. I will definately be using an editor and 3d software simultaneously.



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