15 Best Tips to Create Lively and Realistic Character Animations

Jan 19, 2023

3D Design

7 minute read

Tips to create 3D character animations
Tips to improve character animation

Character animation has increasingly become an impeccable tool to inventively express and communicate even the most complex of ideas with ease and poise. It has an innate ability to help propagate and channelize effective interactions across diverse audiences.

If you also think that using them will be beneficial for your business, then yes! You are right!! However, you need to know the best character animation tips so that you can learn how to create realistic animation for your projects.

Generally, animators play a crucial role in bringing the characters to life. Once they craft the characters, the artists strive hard to effectively leverage the possibilities of basic animation principles of clear staging, squash and stretch, follow-through, timing, and secondary action along with anticipation to give a unique identity and endow life to the characters.

It is important that a professional 3D animator must always be at the best of his game to stay ahead of the competition. This brings us to the most important question of how one can improve their 3D character animation skills. What can be the best strategy to learn how to make realistic animations that can improve the value of their projects? Well, that’s what we are about to discuss in this article. Let's start with what is character animation first.

What is Character Animation?

Character animation is the process of animating characters and bringing them to life. The character animators breathe life into the animated characters by making them move in a 2D or 3D context. In addition to that, they also create the illusion of personality, thought, and emotion in those characters.

Character animation has evolved throughout the years. At first, artists used to create characters and present them with certain characteristics and traits on the screen. This required a lot of technical drawing and ideas on how the character will move, behave, think, etc. To get better at your animating skills, one of the best ways is to find your inspiration.

However, today, it involves character rigging and the development of object-oriented frameworks to create character sequences. Also, now, voice dubbing is done by celebrities and advanced profiles are used to create the character’s persona and background. Now, let’s take a look at the different 3d character animation tips that can help to improve your character animating skills.

15 Tips to Create Realistic Animations

  • Tip #01: Explore the disposition of movements

    Character movements disposition
    Disposition of movements

    If you need to mimic the movement of a person perfectly, the best way to do so is not just understand the actions but also the emotions that triggered such actions in the first place.

    As such, animators that want to gain exceptional work quality can dig a little deeper into the character's thought processes to create distinct and befitting movement patterns that will go along with it.

    This will undoubtedly help the animator create realistic movement patterns which is one of the most important animation tips for beginners.

  • Tip #02: The magic of real-world inspiration

    Inspiration from real world character
    Real-world inspiration

    Placing the inspiration on real-world examples is one of the best ways to improve 3D character animation especially when animating faces using Computer facial animation for best results.

    There are several techniques to do it. Animators can use their own face as references to know the way face moves while delivering dialogs.

    Some animators in anime studio also use the facial expressions of voiceover artists as a reference to animate the realistic 3D characters.

  • Tip #03: Learn the effect of gravity

    Gravity effect on the object
    Effect of gravity

    Except when you are in space, gravity always has an effect on you. As such it is really important that the 3D design company always understands how gravity affects the animated characters. It will help them animators understand how characters of different masses will have different footfalls.

  • Tip #04: Time the character movements

    Proper movement of the character
    Character movements

    If there is one element fully under the control of animator, it is time. Inappropriate utilization of time can lead to irregular shots and ill-timed events that can take away the emotional impact of the scene.

    Most of the times, happier moments are typically quick and sharp while moments of sorrow and mourning are illustrated using slow motion.

    Understanding the same will help the animators to create better moments that audiences can relate to.

  • Tip #05: Body movements

    Proper body movements
    Body movements

    The body movements of a character can define its personality and it is imperative that the animator understands this from the initial moment itself.

    There are certain elements that have to be kept in mind, such as the movement to an element that catches its attention starts at the eyes then it is followed by the movement of the head, neck and other parts of the body.

  • Tip #06: Basic animations need to be saved for future

    Basic animation saving
    Save basic animations

    As the character's chief movements, poses, and diverse key frames are applied, they may be saved for various future uses.

    Having basic computer animations as standby will certainly provide the animators with the flexibility to bring more characterization and subtleties to the character.

  • Tip #07: Acknowledging elements of actions, reactions and anticipation

    Acknowledging all the elements
    Acknowledging elements

    There are three major elements such as action, reaction, and anticipation to all major character movements. These elements must be clearly understood by the animators and integrated carefully into the movements.

  • Tip #08: Offsetting the Keys

    Keys offsetting
    Offsetting the Keys

    At times, attaining the natural flow of an element that is a part of the character is often tougher than anticipated.

    As the movement of the same needs to feel natural, an animator must create the base and implement the same to all other joints. In order to create the desired movement emulative of a wave, each frame has to be edited later.

  • Tip #09: Observing real characters

    Observing real characters
    Observing real characters

    In order to create the best and most effective animated characters, it is important to use advanced 3D character animation software. It will probably have all the necessary features that can help you with the 3D animation workflow process.

    However, it is also crucial for every animator to understand how the characters intermingle with others, express themselves, and the ways they move. Observing real-life people is an important step if you wish to learn how to animate a 3D character with perfection.

  • Tip #10: Record yourself

    Record yourself
    Record yourself

    If you would like to have the most comprehensive understanding of how a character moves, then one of the best ways is to record yourself performing the same movements.

    It will give you plenty of inspirations to make your character more lively and realistic. This will provide you with the opportunity to rewind and pause the recording to understand the much-needed details.

  • Tip #11: Key poses needs to be created in the beginning

    Key poses needs to be created in the beginning
    Creating key poses

    As the animators need to comply with a layered animation workflow process to save time, the very first layer of the animation should have swift poses at required frames.

    This will help to have an effective sense of time and progression. Once the process is completed, the animator can always go back and begin perfecting them as much as required.

  • Tip #12: Avoid forming each letter to depict the speech

    Avoid forming each letter to depict the speech
    Minimal lip movements

    There is no need to animate each letter for portraying a character’s speaking patterns. It is best to animate minimal lip movements to provide a more natural and realistic feel to the animated character.

  • Tip #13: Make the rig simple

    Make a simple rig
    Make the rig simple

    One of the most important aspects of the 3D animation workflow process is the effective utilization of the rig. In order to make the entire process simple and effective, the animator must customize the rig to by using the features of best video animation software.

  • Tip #14: Character balance

    Balancing the characters
    Character balance

    Another important aspect that must be kept in mind during the process is to ensure that the balance of the character is always maintained naturally.

    The center of gravity must be shifted naturally to balance the weight as required just like people do in real life.

  • Tip #15: Use a basic model

    Use a basic mode
    Use a basic model

    Working on full-resolution models can be tougher and time-consuming Therefore, it is always important that you have a basic 3D character model to work on and it will certainly improve one's 3D animation skills, when it comes to developing impeccable character animations.

So, now that you are aware of the best tips to create character animations like a pro, hopefully, you are ready to create your first animation.

These 3D animation tips will save you from implementing hours for creating realistic animated characters and provide you with proven techniques to make your designs stand out from the crowd.

Related Article : A Simple Guide to Learning Everything About Anime and Traditional Animation

Overall, it can help you to deliver high-quality work and improve your brand name in the industry. Apart from that, you also need to choose the software you are comfortable working with.

Do you have any further suggestions on how to create realistic, detailed character animation? Please share your valuable thoughts in the comment box below. Besides, if your business requires expert assistance in this, feel free to reach out.


Sushmita Roy

A seasoned 3D professional with a creative focused, and a knack for diverse 3D designs, software and the technology. She's associated with ThePro3DStudio for long enough to prove her mettle and make every 3D projects successful. When she’s not busy working for a new project, she shares valuable insights from her own experience.