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The Key Pose Animation Process

For those new to animation, it might help to explain a little about the basic approach-specifically the basic key pose animation process. Most animation is made up of key poses, breakdown positions, and inbetweens. However, the most important among all of these is the key poses. If you don’t get your key poses right, then no amount of finessing, rendering, or special effecting will ever make your animation right. This book deals primarily with the art of key poses, i.e., the art of seeing and interpreting them in real-life activities. Key poses (alternatively known as keys or key positions) are best defined as identifiable changes of direction, action, or emphasis within a particular sequence of movement. The better we can identify and implement these key poses, the better our animation will become. Every master animator has to learn how to observe the key moments in the actions of people, animals, or animate objects if their animation is to truly come alive and be convincing. For example, if a person is hammering a nail into a wall, the first key pose might be with the hammer up, about to strike. It will then move back toward another key pose that prepares for the hit, and finally, the last key pose of the hammer actually hitting the nail will be established. There will of course be more of these, but these three will aptly illustrate the point for now. A master animator will understand the required key poses of an action in their mind, if they don’t, they will go out and study a similar action in the real world and make visual, reference sketches to enable them to understand the action better. This is precisely the approach this book takes and how you too will learn how to think and see like a master animator. (Note: For a more in-depth understanding of the much wider principles and processes of animation, read the author’s previous books on the subject-a list of which can be found at the back of this publication.)