Key frames and main poses are vitally important in animation, but that doesn’t mean you should ignore what comes in-between! Today we take a look at how a few simple changes in the journey from key to key dramatically changes the story you’re telling!

You’ve worked out some incredible key poses that sync up perfectly with your soundtrack, and now it’s simple “fill in the gap” work, right? Wrong! If you want your animation to really shine you need to plan out every step of the journey.

Take a look at these two keys, for example.

In this instance, the character goes from facing left to facing right. If you wanted to, you could fill in a simple movement between the two and end up here:

It works. It gets him from point A to point B. And sometimes that’s all you’ll need because there’s some other element that needs the audience’s focus. With a few tweaks, though, you can have something MUCH more interesting. Look at what happens when we add a simple head dip.

Already much improved, and all we really changed was the Y position of the head in the middle. Not much more difficult to animate, with a whole lot better results!

We can take it much further, though. In this video we keep the head dip, but also add in some anticipation, then overshoot our final key only to settle back in.

This is just one example, kept simple to emphasize just how important the journey in animation is rather than just the destination. The next time you’re planning our your scene make sure to really have your keyframes sparkle. BUT THEN also find an entertaining way to get from one to the next. Before you know it your animation will naturally be filled with excitement and interest!