Animation Strategies – Poses

A New Year…

Today we had a welcome back seminar with Alec. He talked about changes to the course and introduced us to the new faculty and newbies who have joined our class this year. Overall, it has been a nice start. I am confident, I will work my ass off this year.

The Task At Hand

This week we had to organise a team, download and toy with the walker rigs that where given and model the character in action poses that tell a story.

I thought that I would create a mood board and a spider diagram thinking about the different types of poses that I could create. I also wanted keywords that convey a story, or even an emotion.

Due to this being a short time and my schedule with work, I have decided that I will only complete six poses. If I have time to do more, I will.

For organisation purposes, I decided to type the ideas onto this post. The ideas flow as follows:

  • Spider-Man pose – These poses can showcase, running away from a threat or vice versa
  • Devastation – The character is on his hands and knees feeling immense guilt or agony
  • Flamboyance – The character is above bubbly, happy and there action is very inspired by ballerina dancers.
  • Danger
  • Defence
  • Attack

Things to keep in mind: 

Make it a clear silhouette. By doing this, the action is more readable.

Keep in mind at ALL times, the direction of the Line of Action. This works in conjunction with animation posing and the readability of each pose. Avoiding straight lines and giving no flow to the models limbs will make the pose stiff and rigid. Therefore, it’s best to avoid poses that



The research for this is fairly simple. I began looking generally at action poses. I paid close attention to the plethora of poses there actually are.

Inspiration and References:

The first idea that popped into my head was Marvel’s Spiderman. I wanted to create my first pose based on one of his action stunts. I first thought of using Spiderman as an idea, mainly because his readability, his famous stances and flow.

However, just to test, I silhouetted one of his stances on Medibang and found out that his poses are very readable. I began to trace over the references that I had, in a similar style to the animators island article “Perfect Posing – 2 – Appealing and Readable”. (Read here)

(Show screenshot to show I am actually doing this)

The Wall Street Journal, made a video in which they interview Craig Henningsen, who works on the Broadway play ‘Spider-Man: Turn off the Dark’ as a stunt-man.

Within this video Henningsen demonstrates infamous Spidey poses (2:40 – 3:00).

I believe that Spider-Mans poses, at least the ones demonstrated, are appealing and readable. Drawings of these poses showcase that there is a lot of ‘twinning’, however, the form consists of curves. This brings an appealing flow to the characters pose.

The next video showcases the many different poses that can be found within the films and comics. This video informed my pose that I have created.

The second idea I had was to pose the model in a boxing stance. I decided to go with a right hook punch pose. I wanted to think about the line of action, weight and balance. To get this I had a look at the different action poses that I have researched, as well as some videos that I have found online.

I found a video online that demonstrates how the boxers throw the punch.

3rd pose takes inspiration from 300


This is my first pose with the model that Alec gave us.

It was a learning curve for me, however I took his advice and decided that I would work from the middle up and then the legs.

I have recorded myself creating this pose and it can be viewed here.

What I took away from this first pose

The problem that I had, which you see in the video, is that his legs seemed to give me grief. I believe that I did not utilise the handles on his legs (the arrows) properly. I found that if I moved them first in the direction that I had wanted then I would be able to move his leg better.

As much as I believed this pose would be an interesting start, I believe it may have been too difficult. I should have started a pose that was much easier in terms of placement. The line of action was not the main priority, until I started. Even then, it was a “Hey, that looks alright.” Then I was done with it.

The pose, overall just looks too stiff. Something, I knew to avoid. But here I am.

In conclusion, I believe that a heavy use of a reference and not enough thought put into all aspects of motion, story and placement of the pose affected the final outcome of the pose. I believe I should look at how the poses in other work is constructed. I should analyse the form, line of action and other aspects of the pose first instead of just trying to get it done.


Pose #2

Pose 2 - 3 Quarter ViewPose 2 - Profile

This Pose was a little easier in placement than the first because I have learnt from my mistakes.


The placement of his legs are a bit off. I need to be thinking about the centre of gravity as well. (Which is something that I did not think of until someone in my class looked at the model).

Wrong placement

I learnt that the lining of the two feet should intersect through the centre of gravity. His right leg (front) is also a problem therefore, I fixed it as well. I probably rotated it too far.

Below are the changes that I had made.

pose 2 - right placement

The back of the leg is now moved back, creating a line through his centre of gravity. Its a good thing he is not real, or he would have fallen over.

Pose 2 - Fixed front leg

I also tried to fix the right leg, however, I realised a problem. The arrow for the leg is misplaced and the more I move it back the more the leg becomes distorted. Therefore, I have decided to just fix it so that I can make it less distorted.

Pose #3

I took the idea of keeping story action poses in mind (From Alecs lecture) and decided to create a little story.

Final Poses


Englander, F. (2013). Perfect Posing – 2 – Appealing and Readable. [online] Animator Island. Available at: [Accessed 25th September 2018].

Muybridge, E. The Human Figure in Motion. 3rd ed. [pdf] London: Chapman and Hall, LD. Available at: [Accessed 25th September 2018]

Wall Street Journal (2012). Secrets to Broadway Spider-Man stunts. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 25th September 2018].

Spider Hood (2016). Basic Spidey Poses #1. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 25th September 2018].

TheCGBros (2012). CGI VFX Behind The Scenes : The Amazing Spider Man Iconic Poses by Sony Pictures Imageworks. [Video] Available at: [Accessed 25th September 2018].


2 thoughts on “Animation Strategies – Poses

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