Video Reference for Animation- Your Best Friend or a Misleading Guide?

"Animators are encouraged to do as much planning as possible before they start a shot. Indeed, planning ahead and putting effort into the beginning of a shot is the best way to ensure a smooth ending. So why is video reference so dangerous?"
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In computer graphics and video images, the pixel resolution is the number or pixels in the display. Resolution describes the detail an imageholds. The term applies equally to digital images, film images, and other types of images.  

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So what title reflects? Personality- who’s personality?  And what it has to do with animation?

Yes, Personality animation has to do things with a CHARACTER. A Character could be anything. It can be a chair, lamp, tree, animal or a human.  A character’s personality is all about who the character is; how he thinks, how he acts, and probably most importantly: how he reacts to the things that are happening around him, to him, and to the other characters around him.”

In 1914 Winsor Mc Cay drew ‘Gertie the Dinosaur’ and McCay himself performed "live"in front of the projected animation, holding an apple in front of Gertie and inviting her to eat. Gerties lowered her long neck and swallowed the fruit- astounding the audience; this was the first 'personality' animation- the beginning of cartoon individuality. It was so like life that the audience could identify with Gertie. It was a sensation.

In the twenties 'Felix the Cat' became as popular as Charlie Chaplin. These short cartoons were visually inventive, doing what camera can't do. But more importantly a real personality emerges from this flurry of silent, black and white drawings and Felix 'himself ‘connected with audience worldwide. 

Felix the Cat is a cartoon character created in the silent film era. His black body, white eyes, and giant grin, coupled with the surrealism of the situations in which his cartoons place him, combine to make Felix one of the most recognized cartoon characters in film history. Felix was the first character from animation to attain a level of popularity sufficient to draw movie audiences.

As quoted by Animator keith lango ( “Chaplin was a genius in his medium and he knew, “...that nothing transcends personality.” If you study his films, as the Disney animators did, you will find many rules that pop up again and again. One of them is: the personality of the victim of a gag will determine just how funny the whole incident will be. If a dignified person slips on a banana peel, it’s funny. If it happens to a person who is already down and out, it’s not.

In animation, as in life, personality is relative and powerfully unique. The best way to point out personality is to contrast it with another personality. So when you have two characters with distinct personalities in the same movie/setting it's easier to see their personalities (if you do it right). Even so, you can still show personality in isolation as well. If you want to imbue your characters with a strong sense of personality, then there are a few little tips you can keep in mind. One of them is to define you character's default power centre, and to use it to help define their unique personality.”

Disney's ‘Three little pigs’ had major impact on developing 'personality animation'- clearly defined and believable separate personalities acting so convincingly that the audience could identify with and root for them.

Objective of personality animation is to make character believable and acceptable by audience. Character is the heart of a story and gives flow to the story. If characters personality will not be defined properly; each character will look same while acting.

So what an animator should know for a personality animation? Following are the most important rules for making personality animation believable.

  1. Movement- every movement of character has to be for an obvious reason.
  2. Action- Every action must have a meaning and relate to situation, story and emotions.
  3. Mood and the attitude of a character should be reflected clearly. Walt Disney said, "In most instances, the driving force behind the action is the mood, the personality, the attitude of the character—or all three. Therefore, the mind is the pilot. We think of things before the body does them."
  4. Anticipation
  5. What character is thinking? His thought process while acting.
  6. Principles of animation like time, weight, secondary actions, volume, Appeal.

The objective is to give the characters in an animation a personality those appeals to the viewers. The different principles should be applied in a fashion to produce a consistent personality. This means that the animator must have a good idea of the desired personality before beginning the animation.


Lasseter, John, "Principles of Traditional Animation Applied to 3D Computer Animation.
Thomas, Frank and Johnston, Ollie, Disney Animation— The Illusion of Life.
Whitaker, Harold and Halas, John, Timing for Animation.

Article by

Smita Pandey
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Tears of Steel- Fourth Open Movie by Blender Foundation explores an Open VFX Pipeline

For over half a year an international team of 3D visual effects artists worked in the studio of the Amsterdam Blender Institute on the short film "Tears of Steel", written and directed by Seattle talent Ian Hubert. This independent production was financed by the online user community of the free program Blender and was supported by the Netherlands Film Fund, the Cinegrid consortium, and by corporate sponsors such as Google. Tears of Steel is 4th short film by Blender foundation for exploring an Open VFX Pipeline for making Blender more efficient and better opensource software.  

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Paper Art and sculpture

Paper sculpture is a form of art used in Sculpturing building, making solid figures, designs, structures. Paper art is also a medium for stop motion.  To most people, making a paper plane could be one of the simplest things to do. It’s the simplest and easiest form of paper art, for this case a flying art. However, there’s a special minority who takes thing to the next level. They can turn the basic form of origami – which is folding a paper in half – together with a little cutting, folding, bending, shaping, and more paper folding, into an utmost creative artwork and animation you have ever seen. 

                          paper art   paper art quill  paper pastel art

Image source: Wikipedia

Paper sculpture is used for Creating sculpture out of paper is simple, but there are many different techniques for the sculpture. People can form the sculptures using different types of paper. Cardboard, newspaper, magazines and art papers are used in creating sculpture. The sculpting material is bound together using a variety of different glues and binders. The completed pieces are painted and sealed, so the finished sculpture lasts for long time. 

There are following techniques used in Paper sculpture 


Layering paper in a topographical method for creating a pyramid, you cut a multiple number of squares, making each one a fraction of an inch smaller than the last. Then you glue the squares on top of each other, starting with the largest on the bottom and working your way up to the smallest on top. This process works well for making bases for sculptures or easily designed pieces.

Cut and Glue

Cut and Glue is very popular paper sculpture technique by using cut and glued shapes. Cut out pieces and then roll, bend or form the pieces into the desired shapes. Is most common art craft we learn is schools.


Adding quilled paper pieces to a sculpture lets you add mass to a sculpture without using solid layers of paper. Quilled paper works well for hair, flowers and intricate designs on sculptures.


People build armatures for sculptures. An armature is like a skeleton in a person. It supports the sculpture and keeps everything in the right place. People make armatures by gluing paper tubes, wire, boxes and rolled newspaper into the desired shape followed by painting in different colour give look of metal. It’s very amazing art technique of creating very light weight models with ethnic look.

Paper Pulp 

Artists take old newspaper or other discarded paper and turn it into paper pulp then this paper pulp is used for creating sculptures. 

Paper Clay 

Paper clay is created by using paper pulp, glue, vegetable oil, white floor and joining components. Paper clay is another medium for sculpting models, structures which last longer. 

Cast Paper Sculpture 

Cast Paper sculpture is done by using paper pulp in moulds made out of plaster, polymer clay or silicone. 


Origamiis the traditional Japanese art of paper folding, which started in the 17th century AD at the latest and was popularized outside of Japan in the mid-1900s. It has since then evolved into a modern art form. The goal of this art is to transform a flat sheet of paper into a finished sculpture through folding and sculpting techniques, and as such the use of cuts or glue are not considered to be origami. Paper cutting and gluing is usually considered kirigami.

Paper craft is one of the amazing things, there are so many variations, some time, it’s really hard to believe that sculptures and models are made up of paper in combination with other materials and it looks so beautiful. Paper Models were first to be used as dummies for stage, showing cities and landscapes in films. Paper Models were also used for Special effects. So let’s see how paper models can be created with very less cost. 

Artist Mohit Lakhmania is one of the CG Artist who take very much interest in producing Paper Models. His work shows his enthusiasm and passion for paper craft. He shared with us his artwork which he often does for sake of 3d modeling and personal interest.  

                    paper lamp by mohit  paper lamp by mohit  paper lamp by mohit

Paper Lamps made by Mohit Lakhmania 

paper lamp by mohit

Mohit Lakhmani a CG Artist with GEON STUDIO (Sahara India Pariwar) & Picasso Animation College CG Artist & Trainer has worked with various studios and has gained enormous knowledge and learned a variety of Art Forms. 

During his school days, he was very much a part of every Science and Exhibitions held at school level. After stepping into the animation world, he got interest into stop motion animations. Use of Small miniature models for stop motion animation impressed him a lot & he got intrigued to it.  As an artist he has done many projects in 3D and Graphics. He has done a couple of 3d & Graphic oriented projects with working on miniature models, Single paper cut,  fold flip models and made many cardboard and paper lamps. He was also chosen as a National finalist for Red Bull Paper Wing Competition. 

So, Here Mohit share with us Making of Miniature model made by Single Paper. 

paper structure

Basically, the idea was to make a miniature model with less cost and using a single material. I simply used Paper, cardboard, pencil, scissor, eraser and glue.

Initially, I made a 3d model of this paper miniature art and then executed it by building small parts of the building to get an idea on the ratio of other parts. 

           paper structure   paper structure

Also I studied in depth about molding a paper in various shapes. The main challenge was to hold the tangible model & keep it clean. 

                      paper structure   paper structure   paper structure

Once basic structure was done, I clubbed all parts together for final touch. The model was made in 36 hours in small shifts over a period of 10 days. Hence, I had to put it in a clean place free of dust after working on it every time. 

Finally keeping model safe for long term is also important so I made cover case for my model by using cardboard.

I did photo shoot of model from different angels and now my model is ready for use. 

Some of the CG Effects and Digital editing of miniature model photographs give it dramatic look and this can be now used as background for project. 

So friends, my passion for art and craft drives me to explore newer things and make myself more open to experimenting so why not you, try out some paper craft, it’s really fun. 

Mohit Lakhmani 
Graphics/3D Artist


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I’ve been trying to study the styles of animation from quite long time, but couldn’t actually found some core material on it. So I decided to write an article by my own. I have gone through lot of animation materials, so I am jotting it all down here by adding my own view point towards it.
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Pallbillwill Success Story 

A Stop Motion Short Film by “DREAM IN GROUP” won 2nd runner up -- AnimationCategory in "MOVING MEDIA FILM FESTIVAL 2012 Detroit-USA". Film is made by group of students from Jayanagar Arena Animation Academy. Talking about the film, instructor Chiranjit Ghosh who directed film shared the success story of film with  

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