Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Posing: Static VS Dynamic

Here is a scene with characters in dynamic poses. They look alive.
Here are some characters in static poses.
1) evenly spaced apart
2) Standing straight up and down
This is obviously a publicity shot - and those are usually kind of bland and generic for some reason.

Here is another static evenly spaced group of characters from a comic.
Compare to a more lively couple of poses.
Fred and Barney's poses have strong lines of action and they have different degrees of action - they aren't in the same poses. Barnet's pose is stronger-he is leaning back on a diagonal line of action. Fred is on an arc that leans to the right at his head. the space between them is creating a V shape that leans to the right.

Again to drive this is a static line up of characters who have no poses. They are all vertical and evenly spaced.
Here is Wilma in a pose. She isn't standing straight up and down. Her pose tells us her attitude and what's happening in the story.
Here is Ranger Smith in a static pose next to a cook in a subtly dynamic pose. Dynamic poses don't have to be extreme in every case. The pose should be appropriate to the scene, character and story.
Here is a nice frame that shows Yogi in a very subtle pose, his body very slightly leaning back and his head cocked subtly away from the man. The other character has a stronger more definite pose leaning forward; they aren't mirror images of each other.
This is a good technique for scenes when 2 characters are talking to each other. Usually, when one character is doing the talking, his pose is more dynamic that the other's.
But also, the character doing the listening is REACTING to the one talking. Boo Boo's pose is leaning back in a less extreme arc than Yogi is leaning forward. Yogi is the cause, Boo Boo is the effect. Yogi's forward pose is pushing Boo Boo backwards.

Dynamic poses are much more entertaining than static poses and when used in context, they tell the story better. The last thing you want in animation is to have characters just stand there reading dialogue.

Next: more action and reaction.


Dennis Cornetta said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Dennis Cornetta said...

Do you think you could take a glance at this comic I finished? I've still got a lot to learn.

Patricia Lestari said...

This is a very good topic, because i tend to draw static characters and they get boring, so thank you very much for the insightful info :D

nodnarB said...

Thanks John, this stuff is all very helpful. After reading a lot of your advice on staging and composition it's fun re-doing drawings and pushing poses further. It can really make characters come to life.

Carmine said...

Hey John, I inked an Ernie pic in Toon Boom. This is the first time I've used the software, and I'm gonna keep practicing, but here's my first try:


Ken said...

Fred also seems to be very displeased whenever he's stiff.

I remember you wrote that a line of action has to be pointing somewhere otherwise it's fake. I think that applies in knowing the difference between a stiff pose and a subtle one.

As I understand it, even though Ranger Smith's body is curved, it doesn't go anywhere, as his head stands straight up. While Yogi leans back very slightly, but in a definite direction.

rodineisilveira said...

Johnny K.,

These parts are from the Flintstones and Yogi Bear Sunday pages, which I've seen on the Ger Apeldoorn's blog, The Fabulous Fifties (

Anonymous said...

I personally think the static poses can be iconic. I have a static Yogi bottle opener magnet on my fridge. I own zero "Ren & Stimpy" anything.

JohnK said...

So why are you so interested in this site?

Anonymous said...

"Why am I so interested in this site?" Not sure who this is addressed to, but I'll give an unsolicited answer. I think this blog is informative a tad for people interested in Animation. I do question the value system here though. I've skimmed and seen enough. Misogyny Rules maybe?? I like looking at drawings. If there were no good drawings here I wouldn't come back. I spent 3 hrs today looking at portfolios online and am evaluating my situation/what I want to do, should be doing. I noticed one little comment on here about "a lot of Schools not being very good." Not everyone says things like that.

Marty Fugate said...

This is gold. Thank you!

Marty Fugate said...

On a totally unrelated topic -- I'm doing a preview of an exhibit of Winsor McKay's original art for "Nemo in Slumberland" at Selby Gallery in Sarasota. My hook is McKay (like Harriman and a few others)didn't use the FULL PAGE (!) color format he had to "imitate life" -- he exploited the power of the medium to create something that didn't follow the laws of our mundane physical world: I.e.--"Slumberland" -- a realm where beds and buildings could grow legs and walk around. OK, OK, I'm going on too much. Basically, could you give me a quote to the effect that Winsor McKay's art was wicked cool? Thanks!

Marty Fugate said...

My sub-thesis is that McKay's art cries out to be animated. (As befits the creator of "Gertie the Dinosaur" -- obviously.)

cml868 said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
lminded said...

Not sure why my post was removed? I don't feel that I was rude or disrespectful.