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!!!😊


⚫️ANIMATORS FORTUNE COOKIES QUOTE OF THE DAY! “It was all started by a mouse!” – Walt Disney… https://youtu.be/42GSQfRh–4
#animation #beananimator #animators #quote #oftheday #waltdisney #animationquotes #motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes #quoteoftheday #fortunecookie #animationcookies


One of my favorite quote😍⚫️ANIMATORS FORTUNE COOKIES QUOTE OF THE DAY! “You’re not supposed to animate drawings. You’re supposed to animate FEELINGS!” – Ollie Johnston…
#animation #beananimator #animators #quote #oftheday #olliejohnston #animationquotes #motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes #quoteoftheday #fortunecookie #animationcookies


⚫️ANIMATORS FORTUNE COOKIES QUOTE OF THE DAY! “Well, luckily with animation, fantasy is your friend!” – Steven Spielberg…
#animation #beananimator #animators #quote #oftheday #stevenspielberg #animationquotes #motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes #quoteoftheday #fortunecookie #animationcookies


⚫️ANIMATORS FORTUNE COOKIES QUOTE OF THE DAY! “I always felt a little bit like a little kid that’s never grown up in the world of adults!” – John Lasseter…
#animation #beananimator #animators #quote #oftheday #johnlasseter #animationquotes #motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes #quoteoftheday #fortunecookie #animationcookies

Time to choose a NAME! 

I want to thank two awesome artists: Filippo Foglietti for the 2D concept and Sofia Gariazzo for the 3D model (https://www.artstation.com/sofiagariazzo)! It was a pleasure to work with you and I hope we will create other stuff together! 😃NOW It’s time to give her a NAME!!! I need help and fantasy FROM ANYONE 😛❗️Just one directive: must starts with the letter “D”! I add a progression collection of pics from concept to 3D model to inspire you! 😊Thanks in advance for your suggestions!

#animation #beananimator #name #suggestions #character #concept #model


⚫️ANIMATORS FORTUNE COOKIES QUOTE OF THE DAY! “Animation means to invoke life, not to imitate it!” – Chuck Jones…⚫️ANIMATORS FORTUNE COOKIES QUOTE OF THE DAY! “Animation means to invoke life, not to imitate it!” – Chuck Jones…

#animation #beananimator #animators #quote #oftheday #chuckjones #animationquotes #motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes #quoteoftheday #fortunecookie #animationcookies


⚫️ANIMATORS FORTUNE COOKIES QUOTE OF THE DAY! “Animation can explain wherever the mind of a man can conceive!” – Walt Disney…
#animation #beananimator #animators #quote #oftheday #waltdisney #animationquotes #motivationalquotes #inspirationalquotes #quoteoftheday #fortunecookie #animationcookies

Animators Cookies Contest!

OK…we are not bakers…we are ANIMATORS, but…any “pretext” is good for pour out the fantasy and the creativity … 😛

This is a team job (me and my workmate Giordana) for the COOKIES CONTEST at our workplace (Maga Animation Studio ;))

THE ANIMATOR’S SURVIVAL COOKIES is our result 😛 (2 days of work, cookies baked one by one….great team spirit, hard work and a lot of fun :D)

Thanks to our helpers: Elio for the digital support, Ema for suggested the name for the cookies, NERD enough :D…and Gio’s little kitchen girls! 😀


5 DO’S and DON’T in Animation – Part 1

In this Tip video I’ll show you 5 Things that I really don’t like to see in Animation! 🙂



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! 😉

Tutorial #09 – How to Animate a Tail


How to Animate a Tail RECAP

If you watched my Lesson 9 you should be able to put in practice what Follow-Through and Overlap mean and how to use them

We will start from a very simple example:Follow_Through10

I will use this super simple rig of an head/ball with a fluffy tailTail01


To approach an animation like this, I usually start animating the body

In this case…the head/ball, ignoring the tail for the moment

So I hide the tail mesh and I animate the ball up to the refine and polishingTail01.gif

When my animation is finished, I go to animate the tail

At this point you should already know that I’m used to use different shaders to simplify my workflow so I create a sort of rainbow tail assigning different colors to each section of the tail connected to a jointTail04.png

So, I set the first pose for the tail…Tail06.png

…and then I go to animate the first section, the ones directly attached to the ball, that is the leading partTail05.png

that will drag the rest of the tailTail07.png

but in turn, the first section is dragged by the ball headTail08


So, following the main action of the ball, I go to animate just the first section that would react to the ball movementTail09

It’s important to determinate if the tail will be just dragged by the ball movement or if will also moves independentlyTail10.png

In my case, the tail is mainly dragged by the ball, but also has an independent movement when needed

For example: at the beginning I want to use the tail to have the “push” for the jump! So, even if the ball has a very small rotation and the squash to gain energy for the jump, I move the tail right and left to increase this push and have more power for the jumpTail11.png

During the jump, when the ball is stretched, the tail must point downward, ’cause it has a delay compared to the ballTail12.png

Also during the spinning in the hair, the tail overlap the main action, the ball rotation. As you can see, here I rotate the tail on the right, dragged by the rotation of the ballTail13.png

When the ball stops his rotation, the tail will stop with a delay of 3/4 or 5 framesTail14.png

For all the time that the ball stays in the air, the tail will continue to move upward, with a very slow spacingTail15.png

When the ball starts to fall, the tail is raised up Tail17.pngand just as before, after the ball landed on the ground, the tail will arrive with 3/4 frames of delayTail18.png

Don’t care about compenetration for the moment, cause we will go to adjust the position when we will animate the rest of the tail!

Then we have the following little bounces so, we go to animate the settle, moving the tail up and down for a couple of time, decreasing the movement up to the complete stopTail19.png

This is the animation of the first section of the tail:Tail02.gif

After that we go back to animate the rest of the tail, one section at the time, and following the order starting from the topTail20.png

Each section will have a delay of 2/3 frames compared to the previous sectionTail21

What you have to remember is that each part would first react to the movement of the part that drag it, moving in the opposite direction


Let’s see an example with less tail’s sections:

when this section moves forward…Tail23

…the following part is dragged but it turns in the opposite direction due to the delayTail24

and then it will follow the first section movementTail25

The last part would have the same reaction but it’s dragged by the second section, so at the beginning it would rotate on the right when the second one rotates on the leftTail26


Even during breakdowns and in-betweens you have to be extremely careful to create a nice and rounded shape

Avoid straight lines, except when its completely stretched like during the fall, in this cases a straight line is allowed!

Keep attention to the arcs that you will create with the tail action!Tail30

A nice tip is to use maya tools or script to create an onion skin that shows you the previous and following poses or to draw on maya…

…but I prefer the old school transparent/celluloid paper that I put on the screen (that is always attached to the back of my Mac and I easily turn it on when I need it) Tail31.png

Tail32I can quickly draw the arc I want for the tail movement and then, frame by frame I go to adjust the positions, following that path


With this simple rules and if you well understood this principles, your final result should be something like this:Follow_Through01So, this was a simple tutorial for a basic tail animation, with a straight ahead approach! 

I will do an other tutorial with a more complex rig but if you are just beginners…

I suggest you to start with a short and simple animation and became familiar with the concept of drag, follow-trough and overlap!

You can follow the Exercise 05 based on this tutorial! 😉

How I became a Character Animator

become an animator.png

I was the typical super creative and dreamer child, with a wild imagination! I liked to play with conventional toys but….I liked most to play with the ones “invented by me”.

My nick name as child was “Blonde devil”….you can imagine 🙂scansione0003

When I was really young I started to draw (actually….retracing Mickey Mouse books), or…another of my pastime was to re-create the planimetries of the tv shows I was used to watch (I scansione0002ccshould still have the planimetry of the house of Brandon and Brenda Walsh or the cafè of “Saved by the Bell” somewhere….
I was so detail-oriented that I even had the list of menu’s prices! Don’t ask me why! Kids… 😀

Then I started to read comics, especially manga: Ranma 1/2 and Video Girl Ai my favourites! And that’s just stimulated more my creativity… so I started to write and draw my own comics tavo012

I created comics in secondary and hight school (of course, my only readers were my classmates and my sister, but they were always looking for next episodes! 😀

During my Art High School I also discover a passion for paintings and for a small period I was used to withdraw in my “studio”…painting my plywood covered by acrylic colors, sterile gauze pads, vinyl glue and stylized animals and human figures!


During High School I followed a super interesting course in Cinema and that was the time that I became a movies addicted (I think I’ve seen something around 2000 movies in one year :D) I also started to write movies script on my own

Then…was time to decide what to do: University? I wasn’t so enthusiast, no one of the courses was really convincing me… so I started to make researches for some private course or school for cinema (my primary passion at that time) and I found an interesting school (actually was pretty famous in Italy but I never heard about that before) the “The Experimental Center of Cinematography” based in Rome, the oldest school about cinema art, with courses for: directing, photography, acting, scripting etc…

“Ok! This is the school for me! I’ll be a movies director!”

But… there was only one “huge” problem, my age: the Director course had a minimum age limit (I was 19 and the limit was 21…. I should have wait 2 years…)

So…I had a look on the other courses of the same school (with lower age limit) and I found a new course (based in a different city, Turin, in the north of Italy) about “ANIMATION”

At that time I had no idea of what this was about, yes of course…I watched all the Disney classic movies but I never thought to became an animator… but … I decide to apply for the course!

Then… there was another little obstacle: only 1 class per year, max 16 student would have been admitted…

“What???? Just 16 students?? I will never be one of them!!!”

I was a bit negative about my possible admission… I would have to overcame 3 “selections” to pass (the first one was the portfolio) so, I sent my application with my portfolio (some of my drawings and comics) but in the meantime I signed up for a University course in “Art of Cinema”…. just in case…

I was waiting for a response. I went to my first day of University and…just in the way back home I received a call:

“Hi Chiara! I’m calling from the Experimental Center of Cinematography, you passed the first selection, you are admitted to the second one!”

I was in the train and I think I started to cry! 😀 😀 😀

The second selection have been place in the school, it was an interview with the teachers and some test to do. I passed this selection as well 🙂

And then…the last one: the preparatory course, some days in the school with the other students to test our skills and attitudes!

After that…I was officially an Animation Student! 🙂

How the courses were organized? Well, the first year they teached us the History of Animation, the main softwares used, life drawing sessions

disegni5 copiadisegni3 copia


mime/acting class and …of course…the basics of traditional animation (yeah…I animated on a light table for a year 😀

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The second year you had to choose which path to follow: 2D or 3D Animation. At that point I was still more oriented on directing and VFX, not on the animation part, so I chose 3D cause it seemed the one more closed to me and my interests

(me having milk time in the school/bedrooms floor kitchen)1196200303_adc12536df.png

The third year (absolutely the best one) was dedicated to the creation of a short movie, in small teams. My team was composed by me and other 2 classmates. We realized an “horror” short movie named “Rampicante – Hederae Sicarius” – for this short I was responsible for: directing (of course) and animation (I wasn’t really good at that time… :D)


(me working in the diploma short movie’s room)

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(and … in XMas time)

rampi2rampi1 copialocandina_FILM

Watch “Rampicante – Hedeare Sicarius” here

That were my 3 years of Animation School. The best years of my life…still miss that place! And as any animator…I started to dream to work in Pixar one day 🙂


(drawing of me, made by a friend)

Time to find a job!

-First steps in production-

Finished the school I went back home and I started to look for a job opportunity.

I live in a small town, in Tuscany, and I found an animation studio in Pisa, around 1 hour by train, that was looking for animators for a tv series.

I gave it a try! I wasn’t yet sure of myself and my skills, so I proposed me for a stage as 3D generalist

“We need animators! So if you want to do animation we can offer you a one year contract”

I was a bit hesitant, I didn’t feel ready to work as animator (my skills were really poor ’cause in school I focused much more on other aspects of production) and the supervisor of the studio was an animator with 20 years of experience in dreamworks… I definitely was a bit scared but….I accepted the offer!

The series was “Bird Squad”Schermata 2014-05-31 a 00.01.24.png

The protagonists were: a crow, a penguin, a bat, a flamingo, an hummingbird, a lady owl, a woodpecker, a blackbird and 5 ducks!

They fly around the world on a zeppelin to save other animals who need their help!

It wasn’t so easy to animate for a totally beginner, (at that point I was used to animate everything in LINEAR tangents, never touching the graph editor and without knowing the difference between FK or IK …Now I can confess it!! 😀

But… I won the challenge and I animated the series for 6 months with an amazing team of talented animators!

Watch some of my animations for “BIRD SQUAD”

After this series, I started a new one in the same studio: “Taratabong – The world of Meloditties” a crew of musical creatures that communicate through sounds and musicbfa0ecb6d577a1cbf322110c6948bb00

The challenge here was setted a bit higher: characters with no voice, no mouth or eyebrows, no arms… but… it’s still absolutely the project I loved most!

Watch some of my animations for “Taratabong”

This projects and the studio itself will stay in my heart forever, they were the first to believe in me and gave me the opportunity to start to work as animator


(me and the meloditties made by a friend)

And… I can’t explain it with words but… in that studio there was a unique and great atmosphere…


(me, wearing the awesome hoodie of the company)


(playing Ping Pong during a break)


(me and collegues in a cafè…an other break :D)

During that period I also started to create and sew (100% handmade)foto_chiara a series of puppets and portraits for my friends, you will hear about the PUPPETS again in my story 🙂

IMG_57KJ00 copia.jpg

volkswagen (puppets on the yellow van)

(friends and sister’s portraits)

– Moving in the capital: ROME –

After this second experience I moved to Rome with most of the team of Taratabong, for the production of an Animated Movie about an ogres family

It was my first movie and I had the chance to improve my skills, especially in acting

Unfortunately the production dealt with some problems and the movie was stopped.

But I still have a good memory of that experience!

– Taratabong 2 –

After this production I went back home, with my family. My dad (the greatest and best man I met in my life) passed away and I needed to stay home for a bit

So, I went back to the studio in Pisa for the Second Season of “Taratabong”!


(some meloditties puppets I made for fun)


(lunch time on the beach)

(snowy weekend with colleagues)

– Animating Gladiators –

Finished Taratabong 2, someone needed animators in Rome, in the Rainbow studio (best know for the creation of the successful tv series WINX)

I moved there and I started the production of another Animated Movie “Gladiator’s of Rome”. Set in the ancient Rome, it tells the story of a unusual gladiator!

Schermata 2012-10-19 a 20.26.04

Schermata 2017-08-16 a 15.38.55.pngSchermata 2017-08-16 a 15.39.49.png

We worked first on the Layouts and then on the Animations

Watch “Gladiators of Rome” Progression Reel


(me and my Gadiators Stickers Album :D)

(movie’s posters around Rome)


(first preview in the movie theatre)

We had great times during the production


(swimming pool in our residence)

Awesome team, funny moments to remember!

In the sparetime, I started a personal short movie “Felt in the Box”, using my puppets design for the characters


The idea was pretty cool but in the meantime…things started to be a little too complicated and I had to stop the production

-The magic of Winx-

Just after the end of the movie’s production, I started the Season 5 of the very successful tv show for kids “Winx”

First we animated the Transformation Sequence, I made part of Stella and Tecna sequence! Very funny to do! I loved that rigs, so well done, full of controls in order to don’t put limits to an animator’s imagination! 😀

Schermata 2012-10-19 a 20.17.27

Schermata 2014-01-10 a 16.27.53.pngWe were responsible for layouts and animations and the production was like….5/6 months long

Watch “Winx” Progression Reel

And here other Animations I made


(me and my lovely Winx air mattress :P)

(me and my sister in the Rainbow Magic Land Theme Park)

– First time abroad –

After Winx, I felt to be ready to try an experience abroad and I moved to France

I found job in a studio placed in Angouleme, a small town in the Charante


(my first day of work…under the snow)

The series was pretty complex, “Foot2Rue Extreme”, a lot of human characters playing football, parkour, roller blades and other crazy stuff! 😀


Watch “Foot2Rue” Animation Reel

Very challenging and tought experience! With a GREAT ANIMATION TEAM



– Back to Italy –

At one point, I felt the needed to go back to Italy and stay close to my family

For a while I stayed home working on a new personal project (with an other collogue), a TV series for kids with the Puppets as protagonists

5.5_Screenshot_ColoringEng_004 copy

We created the Opening Theme (whatch it here), the scripts of some episodes, a pilot episode and a super detailed graphic bible

Here a Making Off Video (watch us working :P)

We developed two apps, connected to the series that have been available on the Apple Store for a while. An Alphabet App, a Coloring Book, a Puzzle and an Interactive book

Puppet House_Apps_03.jpg

Here you can watch the Spot of the “Interactive Book” app

(my Awesome Puppets Birthday Cake :P)

And wee also participated to a famous event in Italy “Cartoons on the Bay” to pitch the series, but unfortunately…nothing happened! 😦

So, I went back to Rome, in Rainbow, to work on another successful tv series “Mia&Me” and this time I had to deal just with layouts

The only animation I made was the transformation of the main character, re-used for each episodes

MiaWatch “Mia&Me” – Transformation – progression shot

(colleagues :P)

– The big switch to VIDEO GAMES industry –

I had the chance to apply in a very big company based in Hamburg, GOODGAMES STUDIO in the extreme north of Germany!KIA01ENG

At the beginning I was a bit scared, I never worked in video games before

But…after some technical issues I just get used to it and I worked for 1 year and half on a puzzle gamesnow1


(my workstation with the main character puppet made by me)

Watch my “A Little Lost” Animation reel

I was responsible to manage the animation team, we had several little cute animal/fantasy creatures to animate and make them interact with the gameplay

I’ve done so many idle, attack, win and lose animations…..that it’s hard to remember all of them! But I’m extremely proud of the work we have done! 🙂

(findind cooking on my desk in the morning ❤ …for those who don’t understand italian… stronza=asshole, with love of course 😀 )


(me with Elisa, from the Onboarding team, those who helped us in burocratic stuff and relocation)


(and our daily match with MARIO KART after lunch time 😀 )

You can watch other pictures about my experience in Hamburg here

– Life changes –

After the german experience, I had to deal with an other family lost, my great mom…. so I went back home to take care of our family stuff, that’s the main reason why at one point of my life I decided to work as freelance remotely

Right now I work as freelance for other italian and foreign studios, and in the spare time…I have this blog!

I was thinking to create this blog since a while but never find enough time to do it! I love this “project”, I like to teach and share what I’ve learn so far with other animators, so… I hope you appreciate it! 🙂





Do you need feedback?

I know…sometimes animators are a bit shy and reluctant to show their animations but feedback are really important to improve your skill. A “fresh eye” can see what you don’t see, to have a more “general view” of the shot and can helps you to improve it where really necessary!

I really enjoy the “feedback” process! (♥)

Usually I have a quick view at the shot “Does it works?” “Did I understand what’s going on?”Could be better with just some little modifications?”

After that I got to check the Poses! I have a thing for poses 😀 I love to see the characters in natural and original posesit’s probably the step where I spent most of my time when I animate! Then I check the Timing/Spacing, the Arcs etc..

When I prepare the image reference for the feedback I always try to keep them as much clear and easy to follow as possible, I don’t want to confuse the animator….I should just help him, not make him frustrated 😛

So, have a look on the feedback I’ve created so far (based on you “colleagues” works) and if you have an animation test or a shot and you need feedback…just use the page “Your Animation”and add a link in the comments! I will provide you with a feedback in a couple of days (usually) 😉

Have FUN! 😛

#iWantToBeAnAnimator #beananimator #animation #learnanimation #animationforbeginners

BEGINNER Exercise – “Animate a Throw”


In the Lesson 08 I explained the Animation Principle “ANTICIPATION” so now, following the corresponding Tutorial 08 you could try to re-do this exercise of a character throwing an object! 😉


A new Lesson available! This time talking about ANTICIPATION and the different types of animations that need it! 😉

In the Lesson I’m using my NEW “cute and super cool” (♥) personal and official channel’s rig INK!!! 😛

Anticipation RECAP

One of your first goal, when your are creating an animation, should always be to make something that is perfectly readable! You can create awesome poses and have a great concept, but…if you don’t make it clear and readable… would be impossible to catch the sense of what you are trying to communicate!Anticipation01.png


that’s why we use ANTICIPATION! That, as the word suggest, is nothing more than the “preparation to the action”!

We can haveAnticipation03.png

let’s see some example:Anticipation03b.pngwhen the movement of a body (or an object) prepares for an action

Example #1: if a character throws something far, he would prepares the action by moving back the arm with the object (preparing for the throw)

In this way he will have enough energy but this movement also prepares the users for what will happen. From this anticipation, you already can imagine that he will throw the object!

Example #2: a character running out of the screen, is made more readable thanks to an anticipation of the character moving in the opposite direction and raising one leg!

This helps the user to read a very fast action. Without this anticipation…. the user could have some problems to read the scene!

Example #3: or you can use it for a very cartoon effects…. or for something more realistic, with a much more soft anticipation!


Another way to use an Anticipation is to create a funny effects!
Example: if you see the same run anticipation of the run we’ve seen before, you imagine that he will run away super fast…but…adding a pretty slow run just after this big anticipation…you will create an unexpected result!Run_Fun.gif

Anticipation10Or… you can use it to direct the attention to something that is going to happen or leading the eye in the right screen area.

Example #1: if your character is standing in the middle of the screen and something is going to enter from the right, if you don’t add an anticipation, the users would probably miss the first part (when the second element is entering in the screen) ’cause you are looking at the character in the center.

But…if you add an anticipation of the character looking on the right your attention would be re-directed in the right area, just in time to better follow the action!

Example #2: in case the character is going to take something, a fast look at this object prepares the users to what he’s going to do

Or you can use the anticipation with the hand, holding it in the air for few frames, this is an other way to communicate to the user that he’s going to take the glass!


Example: thanks to the anticipation you can better feel the weight of the character in two different jumps.

In the one on the left he makes a soften anticipation cause he’s pretty light.

In the one on the right he’s bringing an heavy backpack so he needs more energy for the jump, he needs a stronger anticipation, bending and keeping this pose a bit more


depends on the action!

Usually with fast action or big change in position we need more anticipation!

Like for the fast run or the cartoon one, both this examples has big anticipation, and a very fast action just after them!
Or, an angry reaction like, a character smashing a door, would require a big anticipation to enphasize the action and after, the door is closed in very few frames

Anticipation20.pngSome Anticipation must be really subtle!

Example #1: an hand that is going to grab a light object would have an almost imperceptible anticipation! The hand just goes upwards for few frames before going down to grab the apple

Example #2: in a simple take we have a little anticipation, a very small movement with the character moving upwards before the take, few frames of anticipation, is there but it’s not so visible


Example: the door settle doing little movements back and forward in few framesAnticipation25


You absolutely don’t need an anticipation for every single movements of your character…with practice and experience you will get used to it and you will naturally know when an action need it, as I said, usually we use it before big and or fast action, but also to make the movements more fluid and readable! 😉

Now that you know how to use ANTICIPATION you can follow the Tutorial #08 “How to Animate a Throw” and try to do de Exercise #4 following the steps of the tutorial! 😉

Tutorial #07 – How to Refine a Shot

-How to Refine a Shot –

PART1: Before start to show my workflow to Refine a Shot I need to do a quick explanation of the main tools of the Graph Editor (for Beginners), here the main topic:

– Introduction to the Graph Editor
– Main Useful Tools
– Create a Cycle Animation
– How to Bake an Animation
– Quick fix gimbal Lock and Flipping with Euler Filter

In the Tutorial I used the “Alya’s Rig” https://www.facebook.com/AlyaRig/

PART2: I will use an animation I made a while ago to show you my workflow when I have to refine a shot! 😉 ANIMATION SHOT

In the Tutorial I used the “Eleven Rig” http://elevenrig.blogspot.it/


“Refine a Shot – Graph Editor” – RECAP (BEGINNERS)


First of all, it’s not something you have to be scared of!GE02a.png

I know exactly how you feel when you open it for the first time, ’cause when I started this job, I tried to avoid it as mush as possible, I found it too


…. “technical”, I had the feeling to lose part of my instinct and I always preferred to work directly in the viewport, like “I don’t care how my curves look like! The animation works so ….it doesn’t matter!” but…in hindsight, now that I’m used to work with it and I know how useful and important is to make beautiful animation, I would like to show you and explain the Graph Editor in the easiest way, so that you can focus on the important aspects and you don’t be too much intimidated by it! GE03

When you have your keys on the timeline, open the Graph Editor

Window –> Animation Editors –> Graph Editor

(I’M USING MAYA 2015, so … if you have other versions you may find it a bit visually different!)

Like any other panel you can click in the button right angle to scale it and adjust it as you wantSchermata 2017-06-22 a 16.57.04

Or, you can change the layout of you view scene by choosing the Persp/Graph option and you will have the view scene splitted in 2 windows: with your camera in the upper part (in this case you have the persp but you can change it with the camera you prefer) and the Graph Editor below. By clicking in the middle you can change the size of the windowsSchermata 2017-06-22 a 16.57.09.png

Select all the controls of your character and … as you can see your animation is visualized in the Graph Editor as CURVESSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.05.18

Each curve is the rapresentation of the motion of the different axis, that you can see on the leftSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.05.23

You can select each axis one by one, or select multiple axis by keeping press shift!

To Move in the Graph Editor, just do as with the viewport navigation:

  • Pan: press Alt or Option and middle-drag 
  • Zoom: press Alt or Option and right-drag

To Fit the entire curve in the window: point on the graph editor and press A

If you want to zoom on a part of the curves: select the keys and press F


I’m going to show you the tools you’ll use most of the time from this menu:



When you have an animation and you want to create a cycle (a walk cycle or anything else you need to loop) the first thing to do is to open the Graph Editor and switch on the Infinity to visualize the cycle from VIEW –> INFINITYSchermata 2017-06-22 a 17.23.58.png

then… select the curves and from the menu Curves turn on the cycle on both Pre Infinity and Post Infinity. In this way you will cycle before and after your first and last keys


an other type of cycle you can use is the CYCLE with OFFSET, in this case when you have the first and last keys values different (for example like in a walk cycle forward, or in a cycle in place when you move forward the main control with the first and last keys with different values) the cycle starts from the values of the last and the first keys (in a progressive way)


If you want to take off the cycle: just select Curves –> Pre and Post Infinity –> Constant



in some cases you will need to bake your animation: this means that the software will convert each frame in keyframe (this is useful in case you need to convert in keyframe a cycle or to keyframe a constraint, or to export your animation for a game engine and other cases)
to bake the keys, go on CURVES –> BAKE CHANNEL and open the options:

here you can choose which part of the animation you want to bake: you can decide to bake a range of frames based on your current time slider or to chose a range typing the start and the end.

And the interval between the keys: you decide if have a keys any 1/2/3 or more frames



this is not the only way to fix a Gimbal Lock or a Flipping rotation issues, and it doesn’t work always, but it works in many cases! 😉

so, if you have this type of issues you can try to use the EULER FILTER: you can see in the graph editor the curve with the issue (should be pretty visible :P)

select the keys and go to CURVES –> EULER FILTER! Schermata 2017-06-22 a 17.52.32.png



This is my personal workflow when I go to refine an animation.

I’ll use this animation I made a while ago, this is the final version

For a matter of time I’ll show just a little part of the animation and this is the blocking I started fromBLK.gif

If I’m sure that the blocking works well, that everything is readable, that I have the right timing, appealing poses (nice and readable) that perfectly fit’s the character mood …..so… when the biggest part is done, what we are going to see in the shot is already there, I just need to refine the animation: make everything fluid, polish the curves, adjust the spacing, offset some parts and add some details!

I set in spline (or auto tangent) all the keys and…let’s see how it looks likeAUTO.gif

if you have done good blocking (adding the right keys in the right position, with a good timing) when you’ll convert your tangents in spline, the result should be something enough clear and polished! 😉

BUT … if you just started to animate recentlyyou may have something more chaotic the first times! Schermata 2017-06-22 a 18.35.31.png

Some animator tends to add too much key poses during the blocking, two many acting choices or too much breakdowns and in-betweens, and when they convert in spline … the graph editor is a bit confusing! Sometimes they have to delate most of the blocking and re-do the work, so here some tips for your blocking:

so don’t be angry if the first times you will have something more confusing, you’ll get used to it with the experience! 😉

My version already works but the movements are a bit roboticAUTO the character needs life and a bit of love ! (Don’t care about the lip-sync ’cause I just added some poses in the BLK and I’ll try do do an entire lesson just for the lip-sync ’cause it would take too much time)

the first thing I’ll go to adjust is the:Schermata 2017-06-22 a 18.45.10.png

for example: the first movement is too slow, everything starts to move too soon so I want to keep the first pose for more frame. But I don’t want to freeze it, I just go to slow it down!

In the timeline I quickly add keys and move them back or forth to edit the spacing! This will make the process faster, ’cause after that… I’ll go to clean them in the graph editor but I already have the right spacing to work with and is also faster ’cause in this way I can move all the controls at the same time and not one by one

after I worked on the timeline, I go to clean and adjust the curves in the graph editor, trying to smooth the motion.

Now I will adjust the Moving Holds at the end of a movement, slowing down the spacing in the final part! To do that I add an in-between before the last key pose, with a value really close to the final one, so the animation stops more softly.

If you reach the final position too fast and then you don’t keep a bit of motion (a great motion and suddenly a flat curve with no motion at all) the resault will be an abrupt stop and very mechanic motion.

If the stop is too slow (so if we have too much motion at the end) the result is not realistic anyway and would result too floaty

Now I go to add Follow-through and Overlap offsetting same parts, example:

  • offset the upper torso from the middle torso, the neck from the torso, the head from the neck
  • the same for the arm, I need to offset the forearm, from the arm, the wrist from the forearm, and the fingers from the wrist
  • same for the leg, shin offsetted compare to leg, foot offsetted from the shin, and toes from the foot

after the blocking I have all the keys on the same frames, so each part of the body reacts, starts to move and ends the motion at the same time, on the same frame with exactly the same timing!  We need to add variation, ’cause each part would react in a different way and time!

To offset the keys I just select all of them (a controller at the time) and I drag them forward in the graph editor or directly in the timeline as much frames as I need, then I adjust the curves in the graph editor and I add some in-betweens when necessary (adjusting shapes, arcs etc)

Then I add more Breakdowns: I add the blinks where needed or I simply adjust them, I animate the squash for the head and I check my arcs!

I want to be sure that each movement follows a nice path: the arm, the head, the chest…you can use motion trail to visualize the paths of your movements and adjust them to create smooth and nice arcs!
To use the motion trail you have to select the control of the parts of the body you want to check, and in the Animation Tab, go on Animate —> Create Editable Motion Trails and then turn on the visibility from Show —> Motion Trails
the software will displays a red line that is your path of action. Anytime we move the control (so we change the position), the trail changes. You can also turn on the handles to adjust the arc. In this example you can also see a motion trail displaying a figure 8 path, that is very used in animation, for example for the swing of the arms during a walk.
Why arcs are so important? Most of the movement should create an arc in their path of action, this makes the animation more fluid and more realistic!
BUT There some particular cases where straight paths are necessary so … always keep in mind the type of animation you are doing and make your decision based on that.

In the in-betweens and breakdowns you can use deformers to adjust the shapes to better follow the arc.

before the arms stops I added this little settle back and forth ‘cause the gesture is pretty fast and strong, so adding a simple slowing down at the end would take off a bit of power from the gesture, resulting too soft! I already have a smooth and slow movement before, when she moves the pencil while she thinks and stalling before make the question, so… it’s more interesting to break this rhythm adding a faster and stronger movement when she finish the question, also the contrast with the soft bended arm before and this straight rigid line at the end helps to emphasize the acting!
What is a settle at the end of a motion? Some type of movements need to settle after the stop! A sort of soft or strong rebound back and forth
An object reaches a forward position, then goes back and forth 1 or more times!

If the object (or the character) is composed by different parts, they will stop at different time and different way to settle!

Now I add a bit of movement to each part of the body, this because we should always move the entire body!

A human body is composed by parts connected to each other and each part has an influence on the closest one!
So even if with very subtle movements, in most of the cases we should consider that when we animate a part this should affect an other one.
In my blocking I didn’t add any movement to the right arm, it’s totally freezed in position and also there’s no movement to the lower part of the body, the hip, ’cause this parts actually don’t do nothing, but they need to react anyway! Something soft, but enough to make it part of a body in motion, and not a separate object and also to add vitality to the entire animation!

I look throw each poses to be sure that are nice and readable, I use deformers if necessary to adjust arm and legs shapes
I check if there’s some compenetrations with props and environments or with the body itself!

I check the eyes, the more important part to make a character alive, eyes are so important, the look have to be focused on something (unless the character is thinking to something, or…other particular cases where the eyes just stares off) I check the pupils position, when a look is on a side, keep attention to don’t put the pupil too inward, it’s unnatural, and we lose the characters life! So keep at least half of the pupils visible!

I go to add all the little details at the end, like the offset of the prop, the pencil, that must has a bit of delay compared to the hand movement. I add the hair animation and….that’s it!

I hope this video helps a bit to show you how useful the graph editor can be, and how to approach refine to make your animation looks better! 🙂

Let’s share feedback and tips for your Animations!

UPDATE 20/01/2018update

I created this new session “Your Animations” to give you a space to share your shots, exercises, animation test, cycles… YourAnimationsTitle_Base2.png

I receive a lot of emails and messages with your shots asking for feedback! I’m always happy to help (sometimes it could take some days but I try to find the time to answer to all of you) but … right now it’s a bit confusing ’cause I receive your emails (with your shot’s link) on my emails, facebook, youtube, twitter, linkedin….and can happen that I miss some of them! SO.. 😀 I thought to create this new category to gather all your shots and questions so that everything is more clear and organised and I’ll easily have access to them! 😉

You can use the comments below to share links to your animations or ask questions! In this way also the other people could give their feedback if they want or … help with some questions/topics! 😉 Hope this will make the “feedback process” more easy!


Me BMan – June 23, 2017 at 8:06 pm

Brenda Ibarra Ruvalcaba – June 26, 2017 at 5:09 pm

So, in general, your main problems cames from the poses, after that you will also have to adjust the spacing and smooth the curve, right now everything is too linear and there’re a lot of pops/jerks here and there! All this things create the mechanic feeling)!

Hope this helps, and remember to always start with the blocking and create good poses, spend time on this step, it’s super important!! 😉

Ankit Singh  – June 28, 2017 at 17:03:55

Me BMan – June 30, 2017 at 9:34 pm

GLEB45 – July 12, 2017 at 1:48 pm

ROSANA – July 21, 2017 at 5:58 pm

ZAMIR UDDIN – AUGUST 1, 2017 at 8:42 pm


CAIO HIDAKA – AUGUST 5, 2017 at 11:37 pm


ALEXANDRE – AUGUST 6, 2017 at 06:02 pm


BHUWAN SHARMA – AUGUST 8, 2017 at 02:01 pm

-Second Version-

JEACOM – AUGUST 12, 2017 at 04:24 pm


ALEXANDRE – AUGUST 10, 2017 at 02:39 pm

BHUWAN SHARMA – AUGUST 31, 2017 at 09:25 am


THALITA – SEPTEMBER 5, 2017 at 04:32 pm

BHUWAN SHARMA – SEPTEMBER 7, 2017 at 08:04 am


Lesson #7 – Squash & Stretch

Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to handle with “Squash & Stretcht”! 😉

(In the Lesson I used the “Eleven Rig”)

Lesson #4 – Principles of Animation Introduction

Quick Introduction to the “Principles of Animation”

In the next lessons I’ll explain each principles in more detail with tutorials and exercises! 😉