Tutorial 12 – How to create a Walk Cycle in 15 Steps

Finally! Is online the new tutorial “How to Create a WALK CYCLE IN 15 STEPS”, detailed explained in all the steps! I hope you’ll find it easy to follow and it probably has been the more difficult video so far, I really spent most of the time trying to find the best way to explain you each step and why the body moves in a certain way… it’s pretty long compared to all the other videos on my channel, hoping you’ll not find it boring… 😛 So just let me know if you prefer this type of editing and length and if some parts are not clear enough so that this feedback will help me to improve my next videos! 😉 I wait to know what you think about it!

animation #walk #cycle #tutorial #deena #beananimator #learn #howto #animate #walkcycle #beginner #learnanimation #beananimator


I can’t not share with you some rig test pics of #DEENA 😊 It’s still a wip but…she’s on the right way!! Thanks to Sagi Cohen (Squiggly Rigs) for sent me this great update!! I know I totally disappeared in the last months but for NEXT YEAR I’m preparing a lot of new contents for the channel!! All the videos I create require a lot of time….time that I don’t have right now so…..I hope you’ll understand!!☺️

#iwanttobeananimator #deena #rigupdate

I want to be…an Animator ✏️Mention

When I started this channel….I just had in mind to create a couple of video tutorials, just for fun and test myself in something new..trying to explain my animation method to others through quick and simple videos demonstrations. I wasn’t sure to be able to do that and I was ready to “delate” the first video uploaded if I would have received a flood of insults 😅But…this didn’t happen and a lot of aspirants animators just founded my videos easy to understand and a font of inspiration, so ..I want to say thanks to all this people that supported this project and when I read my Blog listed in article like “10 Awesome Animation Blogs for your Inspiration”….I just feel happy😁Thanks Florian and Introbrand.com for the mention!!!😊

Rigs SHOWCASE #1 – “Lee” by Squiggly Rigs

Rigs Showcase #1 – I’d like to present “LEE”, a new cartoon style character RIG created by SquigglyRigs

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/squigglyrigs
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/squigrigs/

BUY Lee Rig: https://www.squigglyrigs.com/product/lee
Website: https://www.squigglyrigs.com/


Buy “Lee” Character using the special coupon with 50%OFF applying the code you see in the image below

+20.000 subs!!!

The youtube channel reached the +20.000 subs!!😊THANKS! I would just want to be able to post more videos even if the time is never enough 😣😣😅 #animation #beananimator #iwanttobeananimator #tutorial #lesson #youtube #channel #mentoring #animationforbeginner #learnanimation

LESSON #13 – Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose

-LESSON #13 – Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose-

Let’s see how to approche an animation shot and what’s the best method for you! 😉


Schermata 2019-11-21 a 17.49.58.pngIn this lesson we will see the two possible approaches to an Animation!


Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.38.59.png

As the name suggests STRAIGHT AHEAD means to start to animate from the FIRST KEY POSE adding all the other key poses in sequence order.

So you animate from the start to the end of the shot going ahead, adding key poses, breakdowns, and all the other poses in-between one after the other!

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.39.24Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.39.32

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.39.39


Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.39.01.png

POSE TO POSE means start adding just the main KEY POSES (that are all the poses necessary to describe the action, the more significant poses)


We can create the first and last key poses and the…add the other in the middle, or we can choose to add them following an order we prefer, it’s up to us and our inspiration!

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.39.55.png

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.40.00

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.40.05When we finished to create the key poses we go back adding some breakdwons here and there, where this are necessary to better read the action and to have a more precise reference of the timing we will have in the final result!

When we work on Pose to Pose is recommended to keep all the CURVES IN STEPPED so that when we pass from a key to another we don’t have any interpolation but we just skip from a pose to the following one!

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.40.22

This two different techniques have a very different approach!

When we animate in STRAIGHT AHEAD the approch is MORE INSTINCTIVE, you’ll animate following YOUR IMPULSE!

With the POSE TO POSE animation you’ll PLAN your animation concentrating on the keyposes and the timing, in this way you’ll have an idea of the finale result even with few keys!

If you are BEGINNER I suggest you to go for a POSE TO POSE approach, in general is the best way to start and even I usualy choose this approach, especially for complex and long animation!

With the STRAIGHT AHEAD you risk to:

  • OVER ANIMATE, adding too many movements, actions and gestures!
  • HAVE MORE DIFFICULTIES TO MAKE CHANGES, adjust the acting/action, the timing and the spacing!

In production, when a supervisor have to look at your animation, it will be more difficult to tell you what change and you’ll lose a lot of time doing this changes, due to the high number of keys we have in a STRAIGHT AHEAD approach!

With POSE TO POSE you avoid all this problems ’cause:

  • YOUR ANIMATION WILL BE IMMEDIATELY READABLE, in term of timing, poses and intentions!
  • YOU’LL SAVE TIME, focusing in the more important aspects: key poses, timing and the intention of the shot!

In this example I’ll show you the same animation but done with the two different approaches!SAPP

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.38.59First, let’s see how we would create this animation following the STRAIGHT AHEAD approach!

As I said before with straight ahead we start from the first key pose…

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.41.57

…and we proceed with all the other poses (key poses and breakdowns) following the sequence order

So, when we do this, we add as many keys as we want, just following our instinct! So we don’t just focus on the main poses and the timing, but we already adjust the spacing and create the moving holds, the settle, the offset of some parts but…as I said before there’re no rules! So you could also choose to go for a blocking approach in straight ahead and add the offsets and other little adjustments in a second time!


I usually use STRAIGHT AHEAD when I work on less complex and hight quote production like:

  • TV series with simple characters and a majority of close up acting shots

For this shot I go for straight ahead animation, animating directly in spline and skipping the blockin phase! BUT AS I SAID BEFORE, I DON’T SUGGEST YOU THIS METHOD IF YOU’RE BEGINNER!

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.39.01

Let’s see the example with the POSE TO POSE! So first we go to create all the key poses or the extremes!

We know that he starts sitting at the table so this is the first key to create

Schermata 2019-11-13 alle 22.39.55

and we know that the shot will finish with him going out from the door!

So let’s add a pose around the end of the shot of him opening the door, in this way we also set a rough timing of the entire action!Now we know that in this range he will have to do the other action, so let’s add some other key posesSchermata 2019-11-22 a 08.24.47

At one point he looks towards the door so we add the pose of the turning head:

Schermata 2019-11-22 a 08.26.14.png

We also add three key poses for the standing up, the hands contact on the table, one where he stands up and another of him turning with the body:

Schermata 2019-11-22 a 08.26.24.png

Schermata 2019-11-22 a 08.26.27.png

Last…we add three keyposes to show the steps towards the door:Schermata 2019-11-22 a 08.26.29.png

Schermata 2019-11-22 a 08.26.38.pngSchermata 2019-11-22 a 08.26.33.png

That’s all for the FIRST PASS OF BLOCKING, and it’s enough to check the action and the timingposeTopose1.gif

If we are fine with what we’ve done so far…we can add some breakdowns (the passing poses between the key poses). We decide how the character moves and reacts to reach the following poses. Based on where we put this breakdowns we also go to roughly decide the spacing (the speed variations during a movement)

Schermata 2019-11-26 a 23.30.27.png


Schermata 2019-11-26 a 23.44.00.png

This blocking would be READY TO BE SEEN BY THE SUPERVISOR and he could give you some simple tips to enhance it! And would be VERY EASY for you since you have FEW KEYS TO MANAGE!

Same thing if it’s a personal work, you can easly adjust poses, timing, spacing in few moves!

Schermata 2019-11-26 a 23.50.28.png

One of my personal method for for the POSE TO POSE avoiding to create too many poses is to start adding the KEY POSES in SPLINE (without breakdowns)Schermata 2019-11-26 a 23.57.56.png

In this way we will have the SOFTWARE INTERPOLATION between the key poses Schermata 2019-11-26 a 23.59.37.png

Scrolling back and forth in the timeline I choose some interpolation poses for my breakdowns, so I turn this frame in KEY FRAME and these keys will be my BREAKDOWNSSchermata 2019-11-27 a 00.04.04.png

Now I take this BREAKDOWNS and I adjust the keys created by the interpolaion, making better poses, adjusting the spacing, the way he moves, the silhouette etc… Schermata 2019-11-27 a 00.05.13.png




Lesson #12 – ARCS

-Lesson #12 – ARCS-

A simple principles that will make a huge difference! ♥ HERE THE LESSON! ENJOY 😉


Let’s see another awesome principle that will enhance your animations: ARCS the invisible lines created by objects or body parts moving!

Schermata 2019-11-09 a 22.02.29.png



Schermata 2019-11-09 a 22.06.25.png

Schermata 2019-11-09 a 22.07.40.pngBUT ALSO MORE NICE AND HARMONIC TO WATCH!

Schermata 2019-11-09 a 22.09.47.pngNever forget, while you’re animating….most of your movement should have smoothed and circular ARCS! Schermata 2018-07-06 a 20.19.57.png

We should visualize and adjust this paths for the big movements such as… an arm gesture (see the first arm movement) with a simple and circular arc…or we should follow a rounded path during a more complex movement! (see the second arm gesture)


Other examples of PATHS:



But we should also remember to check in the arcs even on little movements!Schermata 2019-11-09 a 23.10.11.png

A little HEAD TURN creates an ARC!Schermata 2019-11-09 a 23.12.31.png

Also a jaw moving creates an arc!Schermata 2018-08-16 a 23.55.56.pngThe hip during a changing weight from a leg to the other creates an arc!cw.pngFor all this situations you should keep attention to the visual path created by the movement and adjust it until you don’t reach a nice result!

Schermata 2018-08-16 a 23.53.12.png

Schermata 2019-11-09 a 23.32.49.png

Schermata 2019-11-09 a 23.33.53.png

We have different TOOLS to help us to check the ARCS:

  • MAYA MOTION TRAIL (very fast to use and I explained in the Tutorial #7 “How to Refine a Shot”)
  • But you can also install some scripts to show the path or use some other extra software that allow you to draw on your screen and create your arcs or manually do it using a transparent paper on your monitor!Schermata 2018-08-16 a 23.54.41.pngLet’s see other examples analyzing different actions. In a Walk Cycle we should have a smoothed arc for the HEAD and the HIP with their movement UP and DOWNSchermata 2019-11-09 a 23.41.12.png

The arms swing usually creating a FIGURE 8 ARC!Schermata 2019-11-09 a 23.43.16.png

The feet create a CIRCULAR ARC when they are in the air and a STRAIGHT LINE during the contact on the floorSchermata 2019-11-09 a 23.45.32.pngA BIG LEG MOVEMENT could create this ARCarcleg1

A small rotation movements would creates a small circular patharcleg2

Even the EYES move following an Arc! When you change the look direction it will be a very fast movement (2/3 frames) and the pose in the middle should be pose in order to create an arc!Schermata 2019-11-13 a 16.04.40

During an ACTING, where the arms do al lot of gestures, each gesture should has a nice path but is also important to ADD VARIATIONS in the arcs shapes and amplitude of the gestures, especially if we have different movements in few frames!Schermata 2019-11-13 a 16.09.37

During a “WOW” esclamation we can play with the ARC to give more flexibility to mouth and face and make it more appealing! The opening jaw movement should move up/down and left/right to create this effects!Schermata 2019-11-13 a 16.12.01

Schermata 2019-11-13 a 16.16.35A character on a swing has different arcs for the seat/hip, the head and the feet!Schermata 2019-11-13 a 16.22.40

Schermata 2019-11-13 a 16.18.13

In this example with a more powerful kick, the path of action will be more close to a straight line to give the effect of more power/speed! Schermata 2019-11-13 a 16.19.25A softer kick would have a more rounded path!Schermata 2019-11-13 a 16.19.25 2

I really hope you can now apply this principle to your animations so that you will see how important this ARCS are!





Can you send me that rig pleaseee?!? :)

Ye…this is the most popular question…?.png

After any video… people usually ask me where to download the Alya Rig or my Ink Rig, so… let me update (again^^) about these rigs 😉


by Eyad Hussein


I totally understand that you ask me for this rigs ’cause she’s really appealing and I love her! But the cretor of this rig, my friend Eyad Hussein is still working on that, he’s working in Sony Pictures Imageworks and I know he’s pretty busy so… I recommend you to sign to the pre-registration form (if you haven’t done it yet) and be patient ^^

The one I’m using is a wip version that he shared with me to test it, also…I customize it a bit in some of my videos (like the pink hair one) and that version is not in the rig, but she’ll be customizable with different hair styles and accessorize 😉



Ink is my personal rig and it’s not available for download, sorry 😉 He’s my little, simple rig I really wanted for this channel, no details, no face, monochromatic texture… only the essensial shapes to show you the principle of animation!

So… after this “bad” news, what can I suggest you? There’s a lot of nice free or not free rigs you can download on the web, most of them are what I was using before this ones so..to learn animation is not really important the type of rig you’re using but… let’s hope other great riggers like Eyad will provide us new rigs soon that we can use for our AWESOME ANIMATIONS! 🙂 🙂

Lesson #11 – Exaggeration “RECAP”

Here the written recap of the Lesson #11 based on the animation principle “Exaggeration”

here the Video Lessonindexw


When we talk about this principle we actually also talk about the other principles we’ve seen so far, because

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.48.18.png

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.48.23.png

It means to go out from the limit of the realism and exaggerate the actions and the poses to make the final result more instantly readable for the users!



It can be applied on:

  • KEY POSES (pushing the lines of action, exaggerating the way you represent a feeling or an action)
  • BREAKDOWNS (exaggerating the arcs, the amount of squash and stretch and breaking some joints)
  • CHARACTER DESIGN (exaggerating shapes, proportions and caricature elements)
  • STORY (exaggerating a concept, an action to make it stronger)
  • POSES (exaggerating the representation of a mood or an action)
  • TIMING/SPACING (make it more cartoony exaggerating the contrast between acceleration and deceleration of a movement)

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.49.44.png

But as animator we have to focus just on some of this:


But it’s not as simple as the word would suggest!

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.50.03.png

When we exaggerate we must be sure that it helps to:

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.50.12

Exaggerate doesn’t means to do something completely out of any physic principle and realism, BUT it means do something starting from realism and exaggerate it to make it more interesting, enhancing and push an idea!

And it gradually increases depending on the level of cartoon style of the animation!

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.50.29.png


I’ll show you some of this example but this principle would really requires long talks and practice to really understand it and know how to push it!

Exaggerate Poses

Do it in KEY POSES pushing your poses to cleary show the mood, always based on the style you need. You have different solutions depending on how much of realism you want!


In this simple example we can see a normal jump:ex3.gif

…and this other one more cartoony and exaggerated!ex4.gif

If we compare the two jumps, we can see that the first one is more close to reality: there’s a small anticipation, the jump distance is not so long, so this is very close to how a real jump looks like

In the second version: I made a bigger anticipation (the hip goes much more down, the arms raise more) and the spacing is different, there’s more preparation to the jump so during the anticipation there’s a longer pause, then I over stretched the body during the push (especially the legs and the chest), the jump is higher and there’s a slower spacing when he stays in the air so he jumps very fast and then decelerates in the air. Then he accelerates when he falls, I stretched the body again and when he lands I made the feelings that he’s heavier making a stronger lands, with the hips that goes very low and a big pause before he stands up again! Also the jump distance is exaggerated!

You also can use it in BREAKDOWNS: for example when you broke a joint during an action, this is not reality but it’s an exaggeration of the arc that you will create with this movement!

You can use deformers (if there’re in the rig) to accentuate the curve of the arms and give (for just 1 max 2 frames) an innatural flexibility to the “bones” to give more energy and create a nice arc and it also help to create a smoother transition in a very fast spacing whenre the arms moves from point A to point B in few frames!

ex5Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.51.54


Use it in EXPRESSION you can exaggerate the organic feel of the face, make it super flexible. Exaggerate the asymmetry, exaggerate the lines of action, just as for the body poses, to make the acting and the feelings more convincing!

When you stretch a face, push it to give the idea that the head and the muscles could really stretch as a balloon of water! Stretch the eyes, the mouth and the neck and use the shoulders to emphasize the push upward that we have during a take!

Do the same when you squash an head, press it in the chest and raise the shoulders! Also squash and press the eyes between the eyebrows that push down and the cheeks that push up!

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.52.54.png

Starting from a realistic bouncing ball, you can create a version more cartoony and exaggerated: increasing the contrast with fast and slow spacing, when the ball is in the air we have a slower spacing, and when it falls we have a big acceleration!

We can also exaggerate the amount of squash and stretch, keeping the stretch longer during the fall and make a bigger squash in the contact!ex6.gif

Schermata 2018-06-07 a 21.53.15.png

In this simple animation of a ball you can exaggerate the timing and the spacing to add energy to the scene and If this would be a character ….. we would have two different jumps and the exaggerated one, with more contrast in the spacing and an exaggerated use of the squash and stretch, results more cartoon and appealing!


This is all for this lesson, don’t miss the next one! 🙂


WHERE WERE WE? 🙂 We still miss 5 Animation Principles and here a new one “Exaggeration”!

Is not so easy to figure out how to use this principle … it requires a marked sensibility, a good eye and a lot of practice! As soon as we’ll finish the principles I was thinking to create an E-Book to gather what we have done so far…so… I’ll keep you update! 😉


Hi!!!! Sorry for this “break”, I’ve been super busy with the relocation (It took longer than expected :P) but now I’m back 🙂


Updates of March

As some of you already know… I’m still finishing my relocation! That’s why I’m not posting new videos, BUT…. I’ll come back soon (I promise :P), my next video is in wip!
In the meantime…I’m seeing this my “old” gif shared on Facebook so… I just re-share it with you! 🙂


Lesson #10 – Secondary Action “RECAP”

Here the written recap of the Lesson #10 based on the animation principle “Secondary Action” 😉

here the Video Lesson



Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.21.29

Secondary Actions are the kind of things I like to put in my shots to add details regarding the character’s attitude and personality, and ’cause I really like to have some “natural” movements that we usually do in real life but that we probably don’t notice!

This is not the easiest principle, you really have to learn how to use it and when the shot requires it, otherwise you risk to add too much movements in your shot that would result confused and unreadable for the user!

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.21.39

In a piece of animation you have the PRIMARY ACTION, the main action that is necessary to describe the story

But, you can add SECONDARY ACTIONS to give more depth to the scene, to add more informations about the character’s personality and make the scene more entertaining!

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.21.50.png

Example: in a scene we have to see a character sitting at a table, this is the main action, but we can add the action of moving the chair forward and some adjusting movements to make it more natural and interestingSitting01.gifIf we take off the secondary actions, the main action is still clear and it works, on the contrary, we couldn’t take off the primary action ’cause the secondary ones are subordinate to the main one!Sitting02.gif

  • MAIN ACTION + SECONDARY ACTION = tell the story and perfectly work together
  • MAIN ACTION – SECONDARY ACTION = tell the same story

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.22.34.png

Secondary actions are just a plus, something we add to:

  • support the main action
  • to make the performance stronger and appealing
  • to add realism and authenticity to the scene

IMPORTANT: This secondary actions don’t have to “steal” the attention from the main action, but just fortify it!

The secondary actions are strictly connected to the characters in the shot and they are based on the character’s personality and mood in that moment

But they are also specific to the location and props in that environment!Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.23.10.png

Tip: study the body language to add the right gestures to well describe the character’s feelings!

 -Examples of secondary actions created using BODY MOVEMENTS-

  • A character sitting and waiting for someone could be a bit nervous and you can add a movement of the foot to better show this feeling

Schermata 2018-01-10 a 16.23.39.png


  • Or… someone uncomfortable could scratch his head while speaking <- secondary action Scratch2.gif

  • Or… a sad and resigned mood could be emphasized with the body shape but also with a secondary action like kick a pebble, so we add this little movement of the foot kicking a little stonePebble.gif

     -Examples of secondary actions created using EXPRESSIONS and FACE MOVEMENTS-

  • a character crying could wipes a tear with an handSchermata 2018-01-10 a 16.24.30.png


  • A character that moves his eyes left or right while talking to someone…shows his embarrassmentRight.gif

  • A fast look up during an acting to communicate disappointmentUp.gif

  • During a walk, that is the primary action, you can add the head movements looking around and changing expression according to the character’s mood


-Examples of secondary actions created using PROPS INTERACTION-

I personally love to add props the characters can play with during a dialogue or in many other situations!

  • A character playing with a pen while speaking to someone, the pen is a prop connected to the location (we have a desk so this is a common prop for this type of location)Pen.gif

  • We could do the same with a prop connected to the character like his glasses, he could take them and use them to support the actingGlasses.gif


  • In this case… the character is eating and he just stands there, because he’s thinking and probably someone is speaking to him, but we could add a secondary action of him playing with the food to give the idea that he’s thinking about stuff or just annoyedeat.png

  • If your character is sitting on a sofa, he could bring a cushion to make the action more realistic and interestingSofa

  • If he’s drinking he could touch the glass while speaking or thinking, just to avoid moments where the character doesn’t do nothing and again, in this way it’s easier to have a connection with the character’s feelingsdrink.png

This are just some common and easy secondary actions, with the experience you’ll be able to add more complex secondary actions

Workflow tip: Start blocking the main action first, watch the shot several times and ask yourself…how you could make it more interesting in terms of rhythm, entertaining and to better describe the character’s feelings and mood?

Then decide where to add this secondary actions and watch it again and again to make sure that they …don’t overshadow the main action!

In that case…is better to avoid too many secondary actions! 😉

That is all about this principle! See you for the next one “Exaggeration”! 🙂

Lesson #10 – Secondary Action

One of my favourite animation principle: SECONDARY ACTION! How to play with props (and not only that) to make your animation more interesting 😉



Alya https://www.facebook.com/AlyaRig/

Ink https://iwanttobeananimator.wordpress…

Lesson 10 “Secondary Actions” COMING SOON

I’m working on this new lesson right now, another explanation with examples of the anination principles “Secondary Actions” 😉

Tutorial 10 – Breakdown of a Dragon Animation “RECAP”

Here a detailed RECAP of my last Tutorial “Breakdown of a Dragon Animation”

here the Tutorial



In this tutorial I’ll show the breakdowns for this animation I made recently



I will explain STEP BY STEP my process starting from CONCEPT to the FINAL RESULT

In my last lesson I explained the principle of  FOLLOW-THROUGH AND OVERLAP (here the Lesson #09) and I also made a little tutorial “Animate a tail” and a simple exercise for beginners!

Now I want to show you something more advanced: in this shot I have two characters that have parts that perfectly show this principles!


We have the tailed head/ball (that I used for the previous tutorial), this character has a very simple and basic animation and then I have this awesome and much more elaborated and advanced rig made by Josh Sobel, called ARC, that has a more complex animation. Arc is a customizable Dragon, with huge wings and big tail that is really perfect to show you the concept of overlap, drag and follow-trough applied to a more complex animation


So, for this shot, I started from a SKETCHED ANIMATIC – the 2D animatic is very important to study the rhythm, the story and how to represent the personality of the characters!

TIP: I’m not a good drawer so for the dragon I first studied the rig and tested some poses that I used as reference for the sketches. It’s a sort of blocking but with very few rough poses that you can exaggerate in 2D and have a better idea of what you need



The story of this shot is basically a “Dangerous-playtime” between this little bouncing creature and a young dragon that play with fire!

I imagined that they are actually friends, so…the dragon doesn’t wants to hurt him is just that he’s too ingenious and he has no control of his dangerousness!


For the dragon’s attitude I got inspired by my lovely/crazy dog. I had in mind my playtimes with her, that usually gets so excited when we play that she literally loses her control and the play-time becomes actually a “fight”!


So, with my little crazy dog in mind, I decided to animate the dragon with a doggy attitude in the first part, when he enters in the shot and when he smells the ground trying to sniff out his friend. And in the final part, when he jumps in the air with his wings and when he goes out of frame, I switch to a more classic dragon attitude

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.33.47.png

-Set the Scene-

So starting from this animatic, I set the scene on maya

For the background I just have a plane and some rocks, something very very simple

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.03.png

As usual I use a surface shader so I don’t have to worry about lighting and I have the 2d effects that I personally love.

I set the camera, with the same frame of the animatic

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.14

I add a plane in the background where I import the animatic video so that I can use it as reference during the blocking, in this way I can see the timing and the main poses

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.26.png

-Tailed Head/Ball BLOCKING-

So now… I import the tailed ball character and I create the blocking

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.31.png

I start to pose the “body/head” so I go to hide the tail

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.34.46

I go to animate the creature like a classic bouncing ball but very cartoony, I follow the animatic key poses so we have the bounces at the beginning, I squash it and stretch it and I check the contact with the plane, this pass is very fast cause I have the animatic as reference


So, he’s running away from something, he also looks on his back in few frames just to see what’s going on behind him, to check where is his friend and in time to see the flame coming towards him (I add a place holder fire effects just to have an idea of the timing)

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.35.05.png
When he bounces behind the rock he trys to hide himself super frightenedtrying to be as smaller as possible, using his tail as protection

The tail is not very big, I don’t have a lot of control of the shape so what I can do is just to give the idea that the tail covers the body

I also add a very fast shake any 2 frames ’cause he’s trembling



He hears the dragon coming closer so he has a reaction turning in the opposite direction

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.35.40.png

and…when the dragon jumps on the rock he has a bigger reaction jumping hight in the air (I imagine him screaming here so I add a little shake), and the he just runs away faster then light


In a second time I add the tail poses. I follow a path, just like I showed in the previous tutorial, I draw a line on my paper so that I can better follow the arc and I just do this for the length of the shot

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.35.16.png
So this is the ball blocking, I mixed the principle of the bouncing ball but I also added some cartoon movements, it bounces with physic but it’s a character, so it has life and we can break some physic principles or exaggerate them to make it more appealing



Let’s add the dragon

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.36.34

As I said before, this rig has some customizable options, we can change the face design and the texture colour


I choose the young version for the head and the black textures

(If you want to know more about this rig I also created a post on the blog or you can just visit the official page

I start to create the main poses, this part it takes most of the time, the character is quite complex, it has a lot of controls and parts to pose, so I take my time….

I use some reference from dogs and dragons

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.37.37.png

I try to make him cute enough: at the beginning he has a very innocent expression


He just stands there for a moment, very calm and apparently harmless, his raised leg helps us to catch that he’s looking for something, trying to be quite

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.38.00.png

I continue to block the shot using the animatic as reference for the timing and this is the first pass of blocking for the dragon


There are not too much poses: there’s the first part “the entrance”, we see the forefoot coming in first and I keep this pose with a moving hold

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.39.40

Then we have the reaction, he knows his friend is near there so… before moving forward he makes an anticipation with a jump in the air

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.39.52

First I create the key pose with eyes closed, squashed head, both the legs flat on the ground and the opened wings that he will use as push for the jump within the legs

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.39.57.png

When he moves upward we have the overlap of the wings, we don’t see them cause they are out of screen, but we can imagine that they are pointing downward as reaction to the drag movement of the leading part, the body, same for head and arms that are dragged so they point downward

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.40.09

He makes this arc jumping high and straight first

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.41.32.png

and then he lands forward creating this arc with the body, the tail and the wings

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.41.41.png

Then we have some steps while he’s sniffing the ground

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.41.49.png

I create this curve with the body, the typical exaggerated classic dog sniffing pose, with the upper part of the body almost flat on the ground and the backside pretty up

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.41.54.png

The tail is pretty long so it really has to be soft and smooth and overlap for the entire shot. It always moves creating a nice curve and following the follow through principleSchermata 2017-12-10 a 22.42.42.png

I move each section of the tail with a delay

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.42.47.png

To make the sniffing action readable I add just 2 poses in the blocking, increasing the size of the nostrils, moving up and down the nose and the eyebrows. Is enough to make the action clear in the blocking and then I will smooth it and add more details in the refine

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.42.58.png

He felt something so he turns in the super excited mode

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.09.png

I add this big anticipation before he moves forward, just to emphasize the reaction and to create a nice path of action

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.39.png

The anticipation is made with the eyes, cause he already looks towards the point where he want to jump

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.21.png

and also with the body movement, ’cause he moves backward raising the back, the tail and the wings

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.34.png

Then we have the jump poses, always creating a path with body and a different one with the tail

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.39

He turns upward the head following his friend movement

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.53

And then another jump in the air, flying in place with a couple of movements up and down with the wings, staring at his “prey”

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.43.59.png

l add an anticipation moving backward before going out of frame very fast creating this line of action and with a very aerodynamic pose with the wings closed to the body

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.44.05.png

As I said, in this first pass of blocking I have very few poses but for this kind of animation I want to add some other keys just to make the refine easier

I add some breakdowns here and there and some moving holds, for example I added the leg poses at the beginning:

1) one pose with the raised leg with the toes pointing backward

2) one pose of contact with the toes upward

3) one pose with the leg flat on the ground

Schermata 2017-12-10 a 22.45.00.png

I add more breakdowns and in-betweens during the steps and others for the rest of the shots and this is the second pass of blocking with more keys:


During all this process I help myself using the silhouette visualization to adjust the poses and check if everything is readable

So… in this phase I focus on the timing and the poses and I watch it and watch it several times to check if everything works well or… if I can do something better or add some poses if necessary 😉

-Tailed Head/Ball REFINE-

The blocking is done and now I can turn off the dragon and refine the head/ball

As before, I hide the tail and I refine and polish the ball, for this character the refine process is pretty easy, there’s not much to polish, I just use a lot the graph editor to make the ball movements clean and smooth, I check the arcs first for the ball/body, and then for the tail


I also adjust the tail poses frame by frame in some parts, where I want to exaggerate the shapes or add some further movements

Here the Head(Ball Refine


-Dragon REFINE-

Then I turn on the dragon again for the refine

I switch all the curves in auto tangent and this is how it looks like (I didn’t touch anything, this are just the blocking poses switched to auto)


and ….it defenetly needs a lot of work! 😀

I start splitting the scenes in different sections, for example: I start to refine the part when he enters in the screen and I stop before the jump. So… I reduce the range of the time slider

I go to adjust spacing, contacts, breakdowns for the entire shot but moving forward by a range of frames, splitting the scene following the different actions, refining them one by one

I draw the path on my transparent paper so I can easily follow the path with each part of the body, frame by frame I go to adjust the poses where needed

When you refine an animation can happen that you just realize that you need to change a bit the timing or the spacing of your blocking! It happens, some movements result too slow after you switch from stepped to spline or vice versa, so in this cases…just move your keys to reach the better result or add more breakdowns that were not necessary in the blocking but that you need in the refine!

With a loooot of patience I finish the refine of entire shot, I can’t show you each step ’cause it would take too much time

For the entire shot I spent 5/6 hours for the blocking (for both the characters) and around 15 hours for the refine

I add the motion blur in the render, the the 2D fire effect I made and…that’s the final result!


I hope you enjoy this video, show the entire process for the creation of a shot is not easy and I tried to show the most important steps for me.

When you plan a good and efficient blocking, the refine process will be easier so… see you for the next lesson and tutorial, thanks for watching! 😉

Tutorial 10 – Breakdown of a Dragon Animation

-Breakdown of a Dragon Animation-

Well…after a big break I finally uploaded a new tutorial (it has been a bit hard to finish it…I didn’t have a lot of time to spend on it) but I hope you enjoy it 😉

Schermata 2017-12-03 a 23.59.38.png

In this Tutorial I show the breakdown of a Dragon Animation, step by step I’ll show the process for the creation of the shot. I made this animation in 2 days and this tutorial is based on the principles explained in the Lesson 09 “FOLLOW-THOURGH AND OVERLAPPING” https://iwanttobeananimator.wordpress.com/2017/08/29/lesson-9-follow-through-and-overlapping/

Coming Soon

I really didn’t had enough time for this channel in the last days, I’m having big changes in my life so… sometimes it’s really hard to find a little “moment” just for my stuff 😛

BUT…. I’m working on a new video tutorial/breakdowns based on a shot connected to the last lesson “Follow-through and Overlap”!

Schermata 2017-10-04 a 13.42.32

This is just a little preview, a wip of the blocking, showing part of the shot! Just few poses… DragonBLK_Wip01.gif

I used two rigs for this shot: my Tail ball/head and Arc the Dragon by Josh Sobel!
Both the rigs have an element like tail and wings that show the principle of follow-through and overlap applied to an easy basic tail animation (for the ball) and a more complex animation of tail and wings for the Dragon! 😉

In the video I’ll show you how I concepted the shot from 2d sketches up to the refine version!

So…I hope to be able to continue to work on that and…post it as soon as possible! 🙂

In the meantime you can follow this blog (just clikc on the follow button on the right :P) so that you’ll receive an email when I will post something new, and….. like and follow my: Facebook PageTwitter and Youtube Channel! 😉

I Like to present: Arc the Dragon

I want to present you a very cool rig I’m “testing” right now for a shot, Arc the Dragon, created by Josh Sobel 🙂



Arc is a really well done and pretty complex rig with some customizable options: you can choose between different “personality”: 6 in total! That is pretty cool! 😀

I’m animating the Young version and is really nice to pose and instantly appealing! 🙂

You can also change the texture and eye color between this 7 variations:

The rig comes with a very useful picker where, in addition to the customization options, you can easily select the rig controls, splitted in Body and Facial (extremely useful for a complex rig like this one) I usually don’t use pickers, I like the direct approach with the rig but …. in this case I use it a lot 😉


In the picker is also available a little set of expressions and poses:

The rig has a very affordable price 18,00€ for a standard license and is available on this link http://www.joshsobelrigs.com/arc-the-dragon

So far I didn’t find any issues with the rig that works pretty well!

As I said, it’s not an easy character to animate for those who are just beginners, but is absolutely a good character if you want to test your skills with a quadruped, or in some flight cycle, acting shots or action! 😉

It’s really funny to animate and soon I’ll post a tutorial/breakdown for the shot I’m working on, so that I can show you my approach with the rig and my workflow! 😉

So… if you are looking for a new and original character for your next acting/action shot, Arc could be a good option! 😉

Here all the links:

Official site: http://www.joshsobelrigs.com/arc-the-dragon

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/joshsobelrigs/

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/227662496


BEGINNER Exercise – “Animate a Tail”


In the Lesson 09 I explained the principles of Follow-Through and Overlapping Action and in the Tutorial 09 I showed you how to animate a ball with a tail! So now you should be able to do this simple and basic exercise to practice with this concepts! 😉