Keith Lango: Posing Weight and Staging Hands

I bought Keith Lango’s Video Tutorial series at the start of the year but haven’t put enough time into going through them yet, and more importantly putting them into practice! I’m almost finished going through the first 11 which deal with posing and timing – topics which apply to a lot of our projects!

These are my notes for VTS 04-05:

Keith Lango (May 2005) VTS04 Poses Part III

Don’t simply plan the pose according to silhouette. Think of natural postures that convey weight. Animation is a contrast of motion against stillness. Try out the pose and see if your body protests.

Think of the weight in hands, how far out the elbow is, the slope of the shoulders. Build some sort of curve in the torso to give a sense of compression. Contra hip direction.


Weight added:


Keith Lango (June 2005) VTS04 Poses Part IV


Only show it if you use it.

Staged at an angle is usually the most natural staging of a character – keep in mind the visibility of both eyes versus a profile view. Emotions are read through the eye area. Similarly take into account the angle at which the character enters the screen to act. Also watch out for gestures that cover the body such as offering a hand – use the hand furthest from the screen. Do you want the audience to see what the character is doing?

Thumbnailing weight in poses: Think of the head, the chest and the hips as three weights placed on the line of action. See the pose as you would in life drawing – make the line of action dynamic as opposed to stiff and straight. This works for all character proportions.


Use both introverted and extroverted poses for contrast. e.g. a pose where the character has her/his limbs close to the body, thinking versus a pose with the arms open in a wide gesture while expressing what’s been said. Think of the body as been contained in a bounding box which the character can move in and out of. The extroverted movements can also be expressed by moving closer to the screen.



The audience is generally more comfortable with characters that know how much space to give and aren’t always super close.

Pose the lower body with weight even if it will remain off camera – the weight/absence will be felt throughout the entire body.

Don’t crowd a close up with hand gestures. You know a gesture is happening off screen by the shift of weight.


One thought on “Keith Lango: Posing Weight and Staging Hands

  1. Pingback: Animatics and Feedback | Natasha Crowley

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