Pose blocking practice

I am struggling a little trying to learn animation. I have had the hardest time with a walk cycle. I have been practicing posing and in-betweens. The thing I can’t get pass is robotic movement. What are the best handle types, how much arc to put in your curves and so on. I use bezier interpolation and free handles. So anyway Here is some blocking I was working on while trying to establish a comfortable workflow for myself. I am aware of the fact that makehuman has some odd weighting problems and you get strange deformations, but for learning it will do. Any tips, critiques, and or advice welcomed

Thank you all.


For someone just starting out it isn’t too bad. Make sure your curves don’t have any kinks or sharp angles in them. Also, use as few keyframes as necessary to shape the curve. When you’re posing in the 3D viewport, you often use a lot of keyframes to get what you want, but too many keyframes on a curve can lead to kinks and jerks. But once you get into the curves editor, look at each curve and delete any keyframes that you think aren’t needed to maintain the shape of the curve.
One thing that can make things look robotic is that motions happen in too much of a linear fashion (rotate waist, rotate arm in X direction, rotate arm in Y direction, rotate head, etc…) Let things happen at the same time.

Steve S

Thank you Steve.

I try to place key poses about every 10 frames and the go back in between every 5 frames . Then I look for sharp peaks in my curves. I noticed you mention things happening in a linear fashion, Should I use constant extrapolation on each channel key?
I guess I will keep working at it . Thank you again for your input it really helps. Reading your comments make me feel as if i’m making progress.

There is a lot there to look at. I’d recommend, if you are having trouble with a walk cycle, to just do an animation of the walk cycle on a loop, from the side, from the front, and from a 45 degree angle. Leave out the credits, titles, etc, etc… just the plain animation. And include frame numbers, too, so people can reference which frame they see something happening or needed.

Overall, two things contribute to a robotic look: lack of weight, and lack of secondary motion. I think you’ve got a sense of weight, but the secondary motion is a problem.

For example, a character, holding his arms out to the side, turns. His arms turn smoothly along with his shoulders. This looks robotic. A human’s arms would lag the shoulders by a certain amount. A sort of ‘rule of thumb’ for a walking character making a turn: the eyes turn first, then the head, then the shoulders, then the abdomen and hips, and finally the feet. Many beginners do it the opposite way, turn the feet first, and the rest of the body just sort of swings along with the feet, and it looks like an amusement park ride.

As to which types of handles to use: watch out for ease in, ease out (bezier). It’s very useful in its place (all the handles have their uses) but it should be a deliberate decision, generally when some motion is starting or stopping. Using ease in-ease out on a continuous motion key frame makes the motion look ‘floaty’. Other than that… use the one that looks good. You’ll have to experiment and get a feel for the type of motion each one produces, and make a deliberate decision to use the one you pick. All the handles are useful, even vital, in the right circumstances.

I checked this out, may be you have a long way to go. Sorry, but i could just be a curious guy without any suggestion. Good luck with you.

Thank you very much for your help I see your point about secondary motion. when you move your arm down the upper arm moves then the elbow an so on. I will find some reference and work it a little more. thank you for your time and you insight and understanding. thank you and much success in your pursuits. Your kindness wont go unrewarded.

Good luck with the reference hunt. Are you familiar with Reference reference? Another possibility (if you have the equipment) is to film yourself going through the same motions as your characters. Fortunately, for reference purposes, you don’t need a high end video camera, which is good news, since, if you stay in animation long, you’ll find yourself doing your own ‘acting’ as most of the moves you want your characters to make won’t be in stock reference libraries.

Yeah I haven’t had much of that, you never find what you want. once I get over feeling really silly I think I will shot my own reference. I have tried Reference reference they have a limited selection but again just to practice poses it will work. It is almost impossible to work from ones imagination. I work on a short 33 frame walk cycle again posted it with frame numbers. Thanks for helping a crappy artist try to get better.