Wednesday, December 23, 2009

L.O. 8: Plan for multiple poses: Scene Planning For TV - Setups for storyboard and layout 5a - setups Rough Blocking

when you read through a storyboard, you look for scenes that use the same angle and same camera distance

when you find them, you try to design a layout that can use the same "setup" for all the scenes

In other words, one master Background that all the action can take place in

That means you have to plan how much space you need around the characters in order to be able to draw all the most extreme poses

Like all these images can use 1 setup:

This is a "long shot" That means the camera is far away enough to show the whole bodies of the characters.

so you have to plan all the drawings to work on the same background, and the sixes of the characters have to make sense from pose to pose

if they are on the bed they are smaller

if they are on the floor in the foreground they are bigger

if there are consecutive poses within a scene, the poses have to "flip" between each other

This lesson is to draw all these poses, so they use the same background, and that the consecutive poses flip.

You also of course have to remember everything from previous lessons - like negative space, style, not toning down the poses etc.

Questions?I went through all the scenes in the last setup and blocked out the spacing for all the poses and the background.

I haven't commited to any finished detailed drawings yet, because I wanted to make sure all the actions would fit into the scenes.
I had to push and pull shapes around to get the best possible positions.
all these poses have to register to the same BG as in the first pose.

The next step would be to start tightening up the drawings to make them look good.


Noel said...

Believe this or not i had to learn this on the job (character layout...i won't name the show). That part about planning the extreme poses is absolutely true you could easily waste a days work finding out it's not planned right, needless to say i was too slow so i was let go ,but, while i was doing it, i was in heaven for 6 months i wish i could have been faster. Layout is a nice experience it's like boarding just a little more exact...very exact as a matter of fact. John K you really are a knowledgeable dude, quality knowledge.

mr paal said...

If there were closer shots in this set up would you draw a new bg or try & incorporate the close shot into this one?

I also learned this method 'on the job'. I also learned to make bgs larger than the screen size for when people decide they want to put loads of pointless camera moves in.

Curriculum blog is fantastic, John. Really appreciate it - made a xmas donation this morning. Perhaps you'd take a gander at my own work which is benefiting immensely from the exercises?

good times!

Happy Xmas!

RooniMan said...

It's all making sense now.

scott w said...

dear john k,
i am a beginner animator and i am 14. I started animating in September by using flash. I really need some advice. You could see my animations at . Also, people say im a fast learner, that's how i am getting better at flash each day.

scott w said...

oh yeah, and i got the book cartoon animation by preston blair.

Trevor Thompson said...

What's the reason for using two colors in the rough setups?

The Butcher said...

Are these cartoons going to be made? Or are you just doing layouts now in case they get picked up? I really wish more of your stuff would catch on. I haven't seen any new John K cartoons in a long time.

marco's blog said...

"the sixes of the characters have to make sense from pose to pose"
what are sixes?

Zoran Taylor said...

This was always the part that mystified me the most. I would imagine that being less-than-totally-finicky about negative space would be a requirement for doing this, no? I mean, yes, you can still achieve many different stylish compositions with one well thought out background and characters that move, BUT you will still inevitably be planning FG and BG at different stages, not all at once like in a comic/illustration/painting/etc. So the background is sort of a half-finished composition and the characters make up a different other half every time the pose changes, but the first half doesn't change. And then there are pans....holy cow....So really, how much do you generally let slide? Does every frame have to be perfect, and if not how close must one get to perfection to be "good"?

Trevor Thompson said...


That was obviously a typo. 'sizes' is the word.

John said...

Ooh, this one looks like a challenge... should keep me busy for today!

Elana Pritchard said...

So, you just roughly draw the background and imagine it is there while you draw the poses?

JohnK said...

No, I put the setup on a lightbox with animation pegs under each other pose as I draw them so that each pose will register to to the BG and to each other.

Elana Pritchard said...

That makes sense, thank you for answering.

Eddie Fitzgerald said...

A terrific post, as always!

MEEEERRYY Christmas!

CartoonSteve said...

When you say "the poses have to "flip" between each other" do you mean that the composition would look good if the characters were on the opposite side of the one they're on? But then Slab wouldn't look good behind the ladder - unless you're flipping the bg too.

Sorry to be dense. Merry Christmas!

Gabriele_Gabba said...


I now know why my first storyboards didn't work! Why didn't i have this explained to me sooner!

Thank you for another wonderful post! :)