Know Animation Before You Animate!

At first I thought that the definition of animation is as simple as sequences of moving images but the truth is it is way more than that. I found that out after watching “Keith Lango Tutorials”, I have to say it is one of the best tutorials I ever got… Its worth it!… In his tutorial he define animation as the outward expression through body and motion of internal reality in mind; heart and soul of your characters (no matter if it is a background or main characters). Some people thinks that pose; timing; arcs; overlapping actions and other principles of animation IS animation BUT they are NOT. Those are merely the tools to accomplish the outwards expression of inner realities.

Some of you might wonder “what is inner realities?”. Inner reality of a character is what is inside the character’s mind. This include what he or she is feelings; their believe; opinion; tought, etc. There is something you have to remember to help you figure out the inner reality of your character for that moment in time… Wants or Need!
Everyone have wants or need for something we do not have/ possesed. This intern creates an emotional reaction. That reaction causes us to try and answer it wether by denying or fullfiling emotional reaction or even finding a new emotional reation to offset the previous one.

We want or need something that is not in our possesion. This disconnect generates an emotional reaction. Thus we will act to answer this emotional response.


To figure out the inner reality of your character at a certain moment in time and place, in order to animate his/ her character properly you have to ask yourself a few questions:

#1. What is the situation the character is in?

#2. What does the character wants/need right now that they do not have? Can they get it? If not why?

#3. What do they feel about it?

#4. What are they going to do about it?

For example:
#1. A character who is a attetion hog singing street performer is not getting any attention/ ignored by passer by.
#2. He wants attention. He could not get what he wants because there is a cute little girl juggling pinapple accross the road.
#3. He is annoyed and angry.
#4. He is going to sabotage the girl’s performance so she fails and he get audience and attention from them.

The Role of “Change” in Animation

Change is the thing that allows you to see what’s going on inside the character. We capture the inner reality and something that happens inside the character by scene by scene basis and for moment by moment basis.

For example, the character think of a new tought, new feelings, new desire, new pain he/she felt, etc. It is something that happened inside the character that causes them to express that through an outward change.
So, animation is the art of using “change” as a tool to show the inner reality. If we do not have changes means that we have no story.

TOUGHT leads to EMOTIONAL leads to ACTION!!
(people don’t act on tought, they act on emotion)

Change is shown in stillness vs motion. All of the animation tools (eg. 12 principles of animation) are use to allow us to show change via stillness (pose) or motion (timing, offset, drag).

Hope you enjoy reading this post. I highly recomend you to buy Keith Lango VTS for more animation knowledge. I found that his tutorial is one of the best theory you can ever get. It is worth the money!

Follow me on twitter for more animation tips and update on this website.

Keep on animating!


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