What Is Blocking in Animation and Why Is It So Important?

Posted by | April 13, 2021 | animation jobs

Learn about this technique and how it is used in 3D animation projects

When it comes to working on a 3D animation project, not only do you need a strong concept, you also need to work out scale, volumes, and proportions in order to best position the characters and props within a scene.

In this context, blocking is essential: it saves time and prevents mistakes. But what exactly is it?

What Is Blocking in Animation and Why Is It So Important? 1
Blocking is an animation technique that enables you to adjust sizes and proportions quickly and efficiently.

Blocking is a 3D sketch showing the poses and positioning of elements and characters in a particular scene. It is an animation technique that enables you to adjust the sizes and proportions quickly and efficiently, without your device having to process too much information. It is a crucial part of the development of any animated scene.

To put it simply, it is the most basic structure of your animation to which you will lately apply colors and details, such as textures, expressions, lighting, etc.

Large-scale projects require blocking to be fully approved in order for the next steps to be carried out efficiently. This draft version gives the animator, supervisor, and director a clearly defined idea of the direction and focus of the animated film or project.

What Is Blocking in Animation and Why Is It So Important? 3
Blocking is a technique that places characters and other elements in a 3D-animated scene.

Why is it important?

Given that animation is such a time-consuming and resource-intensive process, blocking enables changes to occur before a project gets to a late stage of production. Of course, changes can occur at any point when working on digital animation, but if blocking is done well, it will result in a much smoother production process.

This technique, also known as stepped animation, is carried out in low resolution for efficiency. This is where the first stages of a scene and key concepts are defined. At the end of the project, everything is converted into high resolution.

What Is Blocking in Animation and Why Is It So Important? 5
Blocking enables changes to occur before a project gets to a late stage of production.

Blocking is also a technique used in theater to define the positioning and movements of the actors and objects on stage. It serves as a script or guide of what will be presented.

Did you enjoy this explanation? You can learn how to use blocking with 3D artist Albert Valls Punsich in his course, Creation of 3D Scenes from Scratch in Maya.

English version by @eloiseedgington.

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