Lesson: Biomechanics and Balance

This is part of a series I have started of lessons from my class lectures. I will choose a topic from time to time to expand on. If you have ideas for a topic please contact me with topics.


86ee44796df1e3663dfc28a73e80e3b3****One of the biggest issues I find with newbie animators to CG is understanding balance in their poses.  Balance is the only way to illustrate weight.  if your character looks like they are going to fall over in their pose, you have not done your job as an animator to illustrate weight.  before describing weight and it’s relation to balance, I need to explain a few more facets of biomechanics.


Understanding Kinematics: You must ask yourself these questions to understand how far to push a pose and find the balance line within the pose.

  • How limber is the individual?
  • How long are limbs?
  • Stamina?
  • Weight and Balance?

There is an invisible line that runs from your character’s head and neck to the feet.  This plumb line defines the balance in your poses. To check this line in CG you must look at your poses from all angles.TIP5

b32c18043671651a155350d812afa16d standing-postures


  • Gravity is constantly affecting the body in both static and dynamic movement.
  • Gravitational downward pull on an object.
  • Understanding gravity, the COG (Center of Gravity) will help you create solid poses.

20120708-001859 Cirque-Du-Soleil gravity-with-hip-flexion

COG and Balance:

  • The COG is the point of a body at which all the mass may be concentrated.
  • The force of gravity acts vertically downwards from this point.
  • Basically, the body balances around this point.
  • The COG of a body is at its geometrical center.



muybridge jump




Some tips for posing:

  • Don’t move anything unless it’s for a purpose.
  • Don’t move anything unless it’s for a purpose.
  • Don’t create a pose without knowing why.
  • Do get the best animation poses by exploring all avenues.
  • Do picture in your head what it is you’re animating.
  • Do think in terms of creating an entire pose, not just the head or eyes, etc.
  • Do keep a balanced relation of one part of the character’s pose to the other.
  • Do stage the camera for the most effective poses.

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