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Character Movement:

In the first lesson on center of gravity we showed how when a character is standing still – an imaginary line runs vertically through to the feet. (fig. 1)


Because they are standing with their weight equal on their two feet, the character is centered or balanced on those two feet.

When a character moves they will try to stay balanced. If they lift a leg they will shift their weight over the center of gravity to compensate or counter-balance for the movement. Sometimes an arm or leg or both will be used to counter-balance the movement and weight shift. (fig. 2 and 3)



Unless you want the character to fall then it has to be balanced ( as in a stumble or walkor run).

Again, when a character moves it will try to stay balanced. Say the character jumps…

…their center of gravity becomes their path of action (the arc they follow). (fig. 4)


Here, the weight of the character is centered on the arc. Obviously, this center point of the character will vary depending on the proportions and weight distribution of the character. (fig. 5)


If the character does a somersault or flip…these movements will have their weight centered on the arc (or path of action). If the character is centered some where else …or instance the head then the movement will look unnatural. (fig. 6)


Here is another example…a favorite animation exercise of mine…the Tarzan assignment (fig. 7).This exercise involves an anticipation (or antic) and jump, antic and grab, a swing across, a delayed action, a fall and the action/reaction and recovery of the landing.

Each movement follows an arc (or path of action) with the weight centered for natural movement.


To Review:


Center the character’s weight – on balance(except on certain movements where you want the character off balance).


When a character shifts weight – they will try to counter-balance themselves with an arm or leg or both to maintain balance.


During movement the character’s weight should stay centered along the arc (or path of action).


If you don’t center the weight the movement will seem contrived and unnatural.