Strength in Posing

August 12, 2010

I’ve been doing more self-study recently, a “refresher” you might say. Here are their key points;

Just as there are principles in animation, there are also principles in posing, good posing has weight, solid line of action, clear silhouette, contrast in shapes, and asymmetry.

“C” is obviously the strongest pose, it fufills all of the above. Lets see a breakdown why it is the strongest.

“B” and “C” has similar line of action,

But “C” has contrast in shapes, every complex shape is balanced by a simple shape, this makes the pose more visually appealing.

I’m going to go off a little on a tangent here, bear with me – The kind of shapes you produce in the poses effects the feel of the pose. On the most basic level it’s basic vs complex shapes. On a higher level, you have to consider the kind of emotions the shapes might invoke in your audience. Example, pose your character with a lot of sharp angles and and elbow bents, chances are they are going to look more aggressive and threatening.  And round smooth shapes in your poses give a more inviting feel to it. If this sounds a lot like the shapes theory in concept art, it is. The same principles behind making a character design looks aggressive/friendly works just as well for us.

Ok back on topic-

Not only are the shapes balanced, they play off each other by opposing each other in positions as well, see how much weaker it is if we didn’t have asymmetry in their positions. However, that does not mean it always have to oppose each other, if the silhouette of the pose has enough asymmetry, it works just as well, like so-

It’s very very easy to over-do the things mentioned here and end up with a pose that’s way too broad. Control is key, remember less is more, don’t go so crazy pushing the silhouette values you forget about the purpose of the pose.

There’s another thing that makes your poses stronger, Tension. By introducing torque to your posing you give increased tension to your pose, I’ll probably have a separate pose about that.

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