BEGINNER Exercise – “Hand Poses”


Another POSES exercise, this time we’ll concentrate on just a part of the human body: the HANDS! 2D animators often say that hands are particularly hard to draw, but what I can say that even in 3D they could be hard to pose! So is important to practice a bit with this delicate part and I suggest to watch some reference from picutures or use a mirror to create the pose yourself!

BEGINNER Exercise – “Different Blinks”


This exercise is based on a scheduled Lesson tgat is not ready yet!

The goal of it is to learn how to animate the main used blinks : REGULAR – FAST- HALF – SLOW AND OFFSETTED!

Learn how to manage blink is fundamental ’cause is something you’ll have to do regularly, in any animation and …a wrong blink can compromise your work!

BEGINNER Exercise – “Expressions”


Now let’s focus on face and expressions! Learn how flexible a human face can be and most of all…learn how to EXPRESS feelings and moods using each part of the face…

Reference: Lesson #11 “Exaggeration” and any pictures of real actors that is particularly appealing, or watch yourself on a mirror….study your face!


BEGINNER Exercise – “Action Poses”


Just as the previous exercise, “Acting Poses”, this one is pretty much the same but with ACTION poses, this means that you will have to create dynamic, strong and readable poses getting inspiration from movies actors, sports or just your imagination!

Watch the Lesson #11 “Exaggeration” for learn how to push your poses!


BEGINNER Exercise – “Acting Poses”


Sometimes is important to “put aside” the motion and focus just on still poses! This exercise is focus on learning the art to create GOOD and APPEALING poses that is the base of any animation!

Connected to the Lesson #11 “Exaggeration” I suggest you to look for some image of real actors from movies, people around you or watch yourself to get inspiration!



Here you can find a list of exercises I thougth for practice and I split them in:


I RECOMMEND YOU TO DON’T SKIP THE FUNDAMENTAL STEPS AND DON’T RUSH…LEARNING ANIMATION REQUIRES TIME AND PATIENCE! If you started with something out of your actual knowledge you’ll don’t benefits from them but what you’ll have at the end….WILL BE A BIG CONFUSION! So please, go forward, step by step until you don’t handle the main Principles and YOU WILL SEE GREAT RESULTS! 🙂


“I Want To Be An Animator – Community”

Use the hashtag     #BeAnAnimatorExercises   to receive feedback!



  1. Bouncing Ball
  2. Acting with a Ball
  3. Character Turn
  4. Acting poses
  5. Action poses
  6. Expression
  7. Head Take
  8. Different Blinks
  9. Animate a Tail
  10. Hand Poses
  11. Changing weight (waiting)
  12. Idle
  13. Walk cycle
  14. Run cycle
  15. Jump in place
  16. Crossing arms
  17. “NO” head shake
  18. “YES” head nod
  19. Waving Hand
  20. Drinking
  21. Animate a Throw
  22. Smash a door
  23. Acting with a prop
  24. Excited reaction
  25. Pick something up
  26. Laugh
  27. Sit down and sit up



DEENA Sketches#1

‼️I’m preparing some new Lessons/Tutorials/Tips!

Next topics will be: the last Animation Principle “APPEAL”; POSING; How to use Animation Layers, Lipsynch… It will take a bit ’cause I still have to wait the final rig of Deena but…. I’m preparing the theory part😉 IN THE MEAN TIME HERE AN AWESOME VERSION OF DEENA MADE BY FILIPPO FOGLIETTI! She’s sooo nice😍

#deena #animation #lesson #tutorial #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 for the mention!!!😊

+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

Lessons 14 – STAGING

▶️🎈Ok now the video is available for everyone 😉 (sorry for the problem with the premiere) 😛 #animation #staging #animationprinciples #beananimator 

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!

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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

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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

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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


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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

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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!





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! 😉

COMING SOON: Exaggeration Lesson

Working on the next lesson, the ways we can use Exaggeration are infinite but the good result depends on our ability to use it in a proper way 😉 I’ll need a bit of time to finish this one, is not easy to find the best way to explain this complex principle! 🙂
#animation #learnanimation #exaggeration #lesson #beananimator #animationforbeginner




English subtitles available!

From now on you’ll have the possibility to turn on the subtitles on my next videos and I’m working to add subtitles also on all my previous lessons and tutorials!


Lesson #10 – Secondary Action “RECAP”

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

here the Video Lesson



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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 😉




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” 😉