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How do I get a good inbetween?

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How do I get a good inbetween?

I'm going to do a test at a studio as an inbetweener. I'll appreciate any help. Thanks.

Alan Camilo's picture

well, you take a look at the keyframes and the notes that the animator put on them in regard to timing, make sure you ease when necesary...and stay on model. No real secrets I guess...

Thanks Ender.

I have dificulty inbetweening head turns. Is there any trick to do it better?

As far as head turns remember arcs. Also remember arcs don't always dip down but the head may arc out (Z axis if you were a CG artist).

Consider the overall action first and the path of action of the scene, in otherwords, don't take it an inbetween at a time, know ahead what you're going to do.

Think volumes not lines. The lines only describe that volume.

Taking into consideration what the movement is supposed to be , be analytical about the breakdowns (the very central inbetween). It is rarely a perfectly centred drawing due to drag, overlap, secondary actions and so on.

Heeding the animators notations is excellent advice...but be aware of what they are not telling that they may take for granted that you know.


All we can do here is summarize what's already been said before by others. To get the full coverage on this, Richard Williams' Animator's Survival Kit and Tony White's Animator's Handbook both have good demonstrations and explanations, in ways so simple they make it seem like you could have thought of it yourself.

Cartoon Thunder
There's a little biker in all of us...

Head turns front to side:

Remember that the basic head is wider on side view than front view. 3/4 is midway between the two.

The eyes maybe round but they are masked by diamond-shaped eyelids, which turns to triangles on side view. As it turns the far half of this diamond

Eyes are also deeper in the face than the nose, so the distance from the middle of the nose to the eyes may increase slightly as it turns, then decreases as it approaches side view.

Avoid having the eyes (the one disappearing behind the nose as the head turns) jut out from the side of the face. It's hard to pull this off convincingly and it looks amateurish.

Remember that as the head turns the NOSE quickly takes dominance-- theoretically it is at its most prominent at 3/4.

The second dominant factor is the cheek line. Make sure you remain faithful
to where the curves turn in and out.

Realistic lips also follow the diamond principle-- the farther half disappearing
as the near triangular half remains.

The more important thing is the teeth. It is more recessed than the lips, so as the head turns make careful not to extend the teeth line up to the lip line.
Leave room for the inside lips/mouth.

Of course take care of preserving axis lines. Do not introduce dips or arcs in movement unless explicitly indicated-- that's the animator's job.

Having taken care of it technically, go over it again and fix it visually-- even introducing quirks or mistakes if you have to as long as you capture the essence of the face.


Professional in-betweeners take the sheets off, line up the drawing elements and do the in-betweening there. They fasten it with clips. Good for non-stationary and wide actions.

Good luck alan.

Don't worry.  All shall be well.


Professional in-betweeners take the sheets off, line up the drawing elements and do the in-betweening there. They fasten it with clips. Good for non-stationary and wide actions.


"Shift and trace"
Yes this is done alot esp for the smalll screen. Inbetweening can go faster and directly in clean-up. Although, depending on ones drawing ability there's a danger of getting in a groove of just puttting lines between lines and forgetting the volumes. That's why I shy the explanation, drawing crosshairs on each drawing as a point of reference...or using the corners of the paper (only if it is cut exactly) gets a little complicated to explain in words alone.:)

when i do the head turns, i add one eye blink also. make the key frames and while doing that you have to imagin how your character's head will look like from differnt sides. if you have made the 3/4th and the profile properly then the inbetweening is not difficult since you have got 3 key frames. inbetweening is like disecting something from its center. and ofcourse ease in and out is important depending upon the action. thats what i do and i still have to learn alot.:)