Animation Secret: The Flour Sack


The humble flour sack has been a staple of animation since the 1930’s. A simple way for animators to practice weight and pose with expression, the flour sack is something every animator should experience not just at the start of their journey, but continuously as you grow in the art form.

The flour sack is simple to learn, but takes a lifetime to master. Truly the simplicity of the flour sack doesn’t allow an animator to hide behind ANYTHING. There are no frills, style choices, or complex facial expressions that draw attention away from shaky principals or incorrect timing. Because of that, it’s one of the best things you can do to continue in your journey to mastering animation.

If you’re new to the art, creating the flour sack couldn’t be more simple. Here you’ll see the process in three easy steps:

Learning the Flour Sack simply and easily
-Click Image for Larger Size-

If you’re a 3D animator (CG or stop motion) the principal construction is the same. Give it a try no matter what medium you work in. It will dramatically help you get a sense of weight and expression-without-facial-features. Here are a few more thumbnails of rough Flour Sacks:

Draw (or pose) your flour sack in a wealth of different moods and poses. Give him a run through the “bouncing ball” exercise to see the similarities and differences between using the character vs. a simple sphere. After that, maybe add in a prop for him to interact with. The sky is the limit, so fire up your imagination and give it a whirl!

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Jenny L.webbieDavid ChambersraspberryShad Wallman Recent comment authors
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david
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That’s a really easy and good way to look at combining the shapes for the flour sack, thanks for the image! Makes a lot more sense than thinking about it as one shape!

clarissa
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clarissa

I think flour sacks are th emost fun thing you can animate of anything. Its easy and so bouncy!

Shad Wallman
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Shad Wallman

Does anyone have a great four sack rig for Maya? I’ve been looking for one forever.

David Chambers
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raspberry
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raspberry

Love it! Thanks!

webbie
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webbie

Hi there, You have done a great job. I will certainly digg it and personally suggest to my animator friends.
I am sure they will be benefited from this website.

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Jenny L.

Terrific stuff and really helpful! I look at the pictures in The Illusion of Life book of the flour sack and even though it is simple it is such a powerful character!