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Bend Bows

Posted on January 3, 2013 Leave a Comment
Filed under Animation, Education

Sorry for not posting much those days. I have just started working on a feature here in Angouleme and I am also using the opportunity of finally having a stable job, or at least to live in a town with plenty of animation work to finally test for my Black Belt in Taekwondo after 15 years doing other forms of martial arts. Ah, the feature is called Minuscule, Valley of the Lost Ants by the way, it is a fun movie which was started on the back of a very successful TV Series of the same name and several TV specials. You can find some episodes on Youtube and a pretty nice teaser on the blog.

Enough rantings, let’s start this new year with some education material.

Pixar just released some really cool Monsters University screenshots on the Disneypixar tumblr page and I couldn’t help noticing a great example of Bend Bows.

Bend Bows are the controls you can normally find in a rig between the shoulders, elbow and wrist for the arms, or hips, knee and ankle for the legs. Here you can see how the artist made the most of those to soften Mike’s otherwise stiff looking arms by creating a nice rounded curvature of the arms that nicely echoes his head’s rounded features and also creates a very pleasing line of action.

Here is a draw over so you can clearly see those.


When animating, I wouldn’t recommend you to block those before the final pass of polish. These are just the icing on the cake or the extra paper cuts as Mike Makarewicz would say. You don’t want to exaggerate the bend bows too much either or you might end up going off model.

Monsters Inc is one of my favourite Pixar movies, I can’t wait to see the prequel and finally be able to buy the “Art of Book”. The original is now a collector you know !

By the way! I never got around to posting that Bobby Chiu’s interview of Mike. Clearly Bobby didn’t really know what animation specific question he could ask Mike but I am sure you will still get something out of it.

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