Appeal in a cartoon character corresponds to what would be called charisma in an actor.A character who is appealing is not necessarily sympathetic – villains or monsters can also be appealing – the important thing is that the viewer feels the character is real and interesting.There are several tricks for making a character connect better with the audience; for likeable characters a symmetrical or particularly baby-like face tends to be effective. A complicated or hard to read face will lack appeal, it may more accurately be described as ‘captivation’ in the composition of the pose, or the character design.


For the brief we have been set I started researching whatever people had written about appeal and creating an interesting character. I have posted links to several below:


The most noteable things that i took from the links were:


Pleasing construction: One strategy for creating a likeable character is using symmetry, and smoother curves or shapes in their composition. This tends to create a character that is easier for a viewer to process. Baby-like characteristics, such as large eyes, tend to yield positive results too.


Proportions: cartoonists magnify the things we find interesting and shrink the things we find ugly or boring.  A good cartoonist draws emotions rather than precise accuracy or realism.


Control of variety of shapes



Below I will post some of the worlds most famous characters and see how they relate to the notes made above:

Best-Animation 7_cartoon clip-art-tweety-914516 images (1) images Mickey Mouse





Here is the initial brief that we have been set


I chose to develop a character around the name “Mort”

Below is the definition of the word:

mort 1  (môrt)


The note sounded on a hunting horn to announce the death of a deer.
[Middle English, death, from Old Frnch, from Latin mors, mort-; see mer- in Indo-European roots.]

mort 2  (môrt)


A great number or quantity.
[Perhaps from mortal.]


From this i will research some possible directions and influences.

Below are my notes on avenues that I could explore:

what is ani9 what is ani8

So I decided that I was going to create a vampire or mad scientist in the style of Tim Burton, Below are my initial sketches:

what is ani6 what is ani7

Before deciding on below as a final design:


Next I coloured it,


The next part of the brief can be found below

My criteria for redesigning the character were,

  • protagnonist
  • aimed at young children (barney, smurfs etc)

Below is my initial design:

appeal - part 27

Next I coloured it:

appeal- new- plain

appeal- new- lasso




As part of my degree course we have been learning how to use some 3D animation software called “Lightwave”, I must admit that this part of the course is the area in which I have the least interest and I have no interest in really pursuing. However saying that I did actually find it very interesting and below I have started to compile examples of the animations tests that I have created.

I must apologise for the rendering, for some reason the PCs that we are using don’t have the appropriate AVI software.


This was basically just using the “move” options and the timeline.



Here’s a very simple animation showing the different parts are the body are parented and eventually connected to the torso (apologies for the immaturity of the animation)












PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION – Exaggeration & Timing



Timing is the number of drawings that make up the action,  this translates as the timing of the action. For example if a ball was bouncing and was made up of 6 frames, this would be twice as fast as the ball bouncing in 12 frames. This helps create the illusion that objects and characters apply to the law of physics. This also allows you to create the illusion of weight to an object, for example a balloon would float slowly and have many frames, contrasting with a bowling ball which would be the opposite.

You can see below the frames for a bouncing ball, more frames are used as the ball reaches its highest point, showing that like in real life the balls movements would slow at this point before descending down and gaining speed again (using less frames).

09_timing-and-spacing-richard williams

Timing is also very important in terms of establishing a characters mood, emotions and reactions.


Exaggeration is an effect especially useful for animators, often a realistic recreation of real life can be static and dull, adding exaggeration can make this a lot more interesting.  The level of exaggeration depends on the style the animation,  The classical definition of exaggeration, employed by Disney, was to remain true to reality, just presenting it in a wilder, more extreme form.








Here is a quick animation test that I made demonstrating the principle.



We are currently creating animations based on 3 of the principles of animation, see the link to previous post on this mini project  >here<

I started by working out the extreme points of the movement, and once I had thought about the movement of the inflatable dinosaur I worked out how it would move just as a ball. These diagrams can shown below: I paid particular attention to “bounce, stretch and squash” as I wanted to emphasise the fact that it was inflatable.


I was fairly happy with the movement of the ball so next I looked to add the limbs to the ball and animate the full character. Below is the key frames that I worked out for the initial test.


I took the drawings above and used them to make a quick animation, this would allow me to see how the movement animates and if it captures “bouncy/inflatable” movement I was looking for.

dino - test 1

I was reasonably happy with the animation, as a whole I think it animates in the way I was hoping. This test animation has enabled me to identify the elements/areas that need to be improved or altered. The tail definitely isn’t quite right and this will be addressed with a “tail test” animation. I also think the shift in weight between the front and back of the character is also too great and this will be slightly reduced, paying particular attention to ensuring the volume of the character stays the same.


Below I isolated the tail and animated it separately, I found trying to work out the tail and body at the same time very distracting.

tail test 1

I was happy with the above test and the next step is to add this tail to some new full body drawings. I will create another test animation with double the frames to see if it looks more “inflated” when running more smoothly and slower.

PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION – Overlapping action, Ease in Ease out and Arcs


I am currently studying the next 3 principles of animation, we are looking at 3 together as they are closely linked and difficult to show examples in isolation. It was suggested that I study Richard Williams’ “The Animators Survival Kit”, pages 48 to 60 deal with these 3 principles.


This is where several similar techniques are used together to render the movement more realistic, and that the character adheres to the law of physics. For example two parts of the body may move at different rates/times. For example a person with a very large stomach, the stomach will start to bounce several frames after the character moves. As with animals that have tails, as a animal jumps the tail will follow several frames later, and as it moves back towards the ground the tail will only follow several frames later. As seen in the diagram below:



The movement of the human body and most objects that move, objects take time to spend up as they do to slow down. Like an arm swinging, at the beginning it accelerates slowly, reaching its fastest point at the extreme (in the middle of the action) before slowing down again to reach its end. For this reason animators make the animations look more realistic by using more frames at this slower point and less at the middle. As shown in the diagram below:

what is ani


Most natural movements follow an arched trajectory, this can be seen in a limb moving, or  thrown ball following a parabolic trajectory. Movement doesn’t follow a semi circle arc, but parabolic arc, meaning that as an object speeds up the arc becomes more flattened and as it slows down it becomes more curved. As seen in the diagram below.

what is ani2

I am going to create an animation that demonstrates all 3 of these principles in action. In order to decide what we were animating we picked “scenarios” from a hat.

I picked out “A long tailed, long necked dinosaur” that is “filled with helium and slowly bouncing along the ground”

The first thing I did was search the internet to find some reference, below are several videos that I found on youtube.

Daffy Duck and the Dinosaur (1939)

Gertie the Dinosaur (Winsor McCay, 1914)

Jurassic Park

My next stop will be to design a very basic dinosaur character and start some animation tests.

Stop-Motion – Test


This is a short stop motion animation that myself and several other students created. It was made in under 2 hours and was just a quick exercise, not to make anything especially good but to just understand the principles and techniques of stop motion.  We were given some plasterscene and some foam cups, what we created was recorded on camera and animated on flash. The main thing that i took away from seeing the finally animation is that we really needed to have alot more frames, to make the characters move smoother and in this case also slower.

12 PRINCIPLES – 04 Ways to Animate



The fourth principle is about the ways to animate;

there are 3 ways in which you can animate a scene

1) Frame to frame (Straight ahead animation)

2) Pose to pose (Key framed animation)

3) a bit of both

These are the different approaches to the drawing process, frame to frame involves drawing out a scene frame by frame from beginning to end. (below is a example from my tutor’s blog, i wasn’t near a scanner to scan mine in)

what is ani30002

This type of animating creates a more fluid, dynamic illusion of movement, and is better for producing realistic action sequences, dream sequences, nightmares etc. However it can be difficult to keep the characters in the correct shape and scale. Its also difficult to hit certain points and keep timing.

Key Frame Animation  involves starting with drawing a few key frames, and then filling in the intervals later. As seen below:

what is ani4

This type of animation works better for dramatic or emotional scenes, where composition and relation to the surroundings are of greater importance. It is easier to make sure that characters keep timing and hit their markers.  One advantage with this type of animation is that the main animator can draw the key frames and allow assistants to fill in the between frames.  However this type of animation lacks the spark of frame to frame and many animators choose to use a combination of both.

To use a combination of both usually the animators would produce small thumbnails or keyframes as a guide, helping to ensure characters hit contact points and timings, then it would then actually be animated frame by frame.