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Bouncing balls

Posted on July 17, 2017 
Filed Under Animation, Education, Reference | Leave a Comment

If your animation training didn’t start with bouncing balls, there is no point starting acting.

Professionally I have had numerous shots where I had to animate “simple” bouncing objects: from planks of woods detaching from a ceiling in “Inferno”, to metallic cans and lids bouncing off the floor on “Grizzy” or even “Grizzy” himself bouncing off a van and the pinnacle of my career: animating “Wonder Woman”‘s God-Killer sword being knocked off her hands.

Those shots might lack the appeal of talking characters but they will almost certainly expose animator’s weaknesses. No wonder Pixar interns start their internship animating bouncing “lifesavers” before graduating to Pixar production characters.

Except maybe the water filled ballon that seems to be sliding on the floor,  here are some excellent and fun bouncing ball examples by Tomáš Jech who I think I have already featured here for a great TED talk.

Bouncing.balls.01 Bouncing.balls.02 Bouncing.balls.03

Scared as hell references

Posted on October 21, 2016 
Filed Under Acting, Animation, Education, Reference | Leave a Comment

Using yourself as a reference when animating is great but can be very limiting as we can only refer to ourselves and our experiences. Also, people react very differently when in a crowd like in the following examples so there is nothing better than going online to look for ideas.

A while back, Buzzfeed posted some amazing references of people being scared at when visiting “scariest world famous haunted house attraction in Niagara falls”.

Buzzfeed link

Here are just three examples. See how some people use their friends to shield themselves by grabbing them, have a gander, it is pretty hilarious.






Cartoony eyes – How to

Posted on October 19, 2016 
Filed Under Animation, Education, Reference | 4 Comments


Eyes vocabulary

After few month working on Okido, I felt there was a lack of consistency between all the animators and decided to make a compilation of examples from my favourite animated movies.

Cartoony eyes are usually so massive that unlike realistic eyes, the appeal is very quickly lost if you don’t know how to handle them. Clarity and appeal are the keywords when working on eyes so the first rule of cartoony eyes posing is :

1. Centering:
Never, ever, have both eyes (pupils) centered on their respective orbital cavity. Instead and to avoid the zombie look, get the pupils closer to each others and have more space/white (sclera) on the outside of the eyes. This will create a more appealing pose.

2. Favouring:
When a character is looking sideway, one of the eyes should be centered and the other one much closer to the bridge of nose, or even intersect with the orbital cavity:
Flash Zootopia

3. Focus:
As the character focuses on an object really close, you might want to increase the space on the outside of the eyes, but when the character is looking far away, again, do not center the eyes! (see rule 1)


4. Surprise
Even when trying to communicate surprise, we still revert to rule #1 and have more space on the outside of the eyes.


5. Profile
For profile view, you will first need to have a discussion with your supervisor, the rigging AND lighting team to know how the eye is rendered. Historically it was recommended to cheat as much as possible just so we can see a sliver of the iris but on more high end production, instead of being buried in the iris, the pupil will instead be projected (refracted) on the cornea so what you see in your viewport might be different from the final render.

Bonus tip:
Pay attention to the way the top lid is shaped on half lidded character in Zootopia, especially Nick. This will be included in a forthcoming article about stylised animation.

I hope this will help some of you, the following images are for education purpose only and copyrighted to their respective owners Disney and Pixar:

Toy Story_05






maxresdefault (1)



























Toy Story_01

Toy Story_02

Toy Story_03

Toy Story_04


Motion capture worthy eyes

Related posts:
Messy goes to Okido animation reel

Hajimete no otsukai

Posted on March 14, 2016 
Filed Under Acting, Animation, Reference | Leave a Comment

Some time ago I was asked to animate kids and I know how different kids move compare to adults or teenager but I didn’t dare looking for references on Youtube and risking to be flagged by the Internet police ;-)

Fear no more! I just found “Hajimete no otsukai” a great TV show featuring kids asked to run some errands for their parents while secret cameras are recording them ;-) Perfect reference!

Here is one video and you can find several episodes at the following link:

“Hajimete no otsukai” on Youtube

Hajimete no otsukai


Ears motion

Posted on January 4, 2016 
Filed Under Acting, Education, Reference | Leave a Comment

I had never seen such a good example of how much the ears can move up and down when the face stretches. We are talking about nearly 1 cm here!!!


Kids take – video reference

Posted on November 6, 2011 
Filed Under Acting, Education, Reference | 2 Comments

Browsing Youtube is usually the best way to waste your time and kill your productivity but once in a while some great references emerge.

Check out that collection of Kids reactions when they ear their parents ate all their Halloween candies. It is hilarious and a precious reference to animate similar shots.

Related post:
Take – video reference

Take – video reference

Posted on October 4, 2011 
Filed Under Acting, Animation, Education, Reference | 2 Comments

While doing some research for my Character Design workshop I found that great acting moment in the Hammer’s 1960 adaptation of the 1886 Scottish novel where Dr Jekyll’s doctor friend start realising that the character standing before him is none other than his dear fellow.

Ideally we want to find real life references but those are really difficult to find and we usually don’t have a video camera rolling when we experience those moments so that sequence could be a great one to refer to when animating “takes” or when we try to conveying thought process.

Pay attention to how he relaxes the muscles around the eyes when in shock then contracts them with a subtle shift of the head as if to get closer and focus. Also notice the really interesting things he does with his lips, 10 then 12 seconds into it.

Hit the link for a quicktime version as usual and find the full movie below. It is an interesting take on the original story and it features the great Christoper Lee as the doctor’s wife lover. The featured sequence takes place around 1h26 into the movie.