During my research for the big posing series I found the following pictures that illustrate perfectly how close a good pose is to a great pose. It’s amazing how much more energetic and powerful they are when you actually manage to find that little extra tweak that conveys dynamic, experience and attitude.

In this article I would like to elaborate on a blog entry that I found a while back. It is about these screenshots taken from an old episode of Dancing with the Stars. They are remarkable because they show a professional and an amateur side by side in the same pose.



And while the amateur star can keep up quite well and obviously practiced a great deal, there is something more to the poses of the professional dancer that make a great difference. She has to try hard and for him it’s skilled passion… and somehow he also seems to have… more character. Isn’t that interesting? The poses are almost exactly the same. Some angles are a little more stretched which conveys so much more fun and energy. 10% of changes make it 80% more vivid (although I have to admit that his clothes contribute as well).



Obviously you want the poses of your characters to have this little extra push. The visual rule seems to be to break angles and seek contrasts – so whenever possible experiment with turning the hand, neck and feed just a little more this way or that.

Unfortunately it’s not that easy. You really need to get into the energy that you want to convey. This shows why you A) should shoot reference and B) get your reference from the right place. If you want to animate a sword fight and you have never held a sword before, self-made footage won’t suffice. Even if you hastily learned the theory, you will be missing these extra tweaks that only appear after years of experience.

If you want to know more, you should check out our series that covers (almost) all there is to know about posing.

Again, the original article that I also got the pictures from can be found here: http://sjt.is/2008/12/02/dancing-with-the-poses/ The blog doesn’t seem to be updated anymore but has interesting animation links and some helpful scripts for Maya.