Personal Development Portfolio

Pose/expression thumbnails




Character development


Character Design


Rough animation


Animation clean-up


Background Design


Character concept image (also used for colour palette)


Final Animation

Audio from Jenna Marbles YouTube video – I Gave Myself A Claire’s Makeover:

Personal Development – Reflection

Final animation:

Audio from Jenna Marbles YouTube video – I Gave Myself A Claire’s Makeover:



This was a refreshing and fun project to work on. I was able to develop my 2D animation skills by bringing in performance, lip-sync, audio and principles into one 8 second animation.

I am very happy with the outcome of this project. I was determined to try my new and old skills in one project and it combined well. My style of animation was inspired by how animators are able to produce traditional looking sequences that look sketchy and fluid. I enjoyed researching peoples approaches such as entries from the 11 Second Club website, show-reels of work from a variety of artists, and studio projects from the likes of Studio Meala. These inspirations helped me grasp a look, a setting and a unique approach to my chosen audio.


Both my reference of study and my reference of performance helped tremendously. From the YouTube videos by Bam animation and Toniko Pantoja, to the linked-in course on photoshop animation, I learnt lots of skills to produce good 2D animation throughout this project. I attempted to make use of anticipation, overshooting and squash & stretch (smear frames), based on my previous experience and from what I learnt in these videos.


The reference I recorded was super helpful in grasping the motions and expressions that I was looking to show. it was definitely beneficial to use my own reference, as It would have been difficult to find reference that fit what I was looking for.

What I like most about this animation is the natural and casual motion/expression I was able to capture in these two characters. I am happy that I was able to create a scenario that fits in context with this audio, as it makes it more fun to watch. I am also proud of pushing myself to be able to handle two characters to animate.

If I were to complete this assignment again, I would have spent more time on the motions to look more fluid, or worked on my ease ins and outs more. What I wish I could have done better was the flower placement on the characters shirts – they are animated differently to the rest of the animation and look slightly off along side them. I would have also worked to make the hands look better than they do right now – I feel during the production I may have neglected the hands quite a bit, just so I could keep going to further stages. Overall, I am still very proud of the work I made and am excited to show it around.

In conclusion, I enjoyed making, and successfully produced a 2D animation highlighting development on lip-sync and performance.

Personal Development Project – Post-Production

Once my line-art pass was finished, I started to think about the visual and colours for the scene. I also made sure I had different versions on my work saved on multiple files so If I lose anything I can go backwards.

For example, my first photoshop file has only the line-art final animation. My second file will include this and my colouring, and my third file has my rough sequences and thumbnails. This helps to ensure I have saved my work multiple times, and my files won’t become too big to work on or download.

File 1

File 2

File 3

After this, I wanted to design a simple background. Like before, I imagined this audio is something that could take place in a dressing room, trying on wacky clothes. So I looked for a simple dressing room reference to go from, that also fit the same perspective as how my characters are standing.

These references worked very well and in this specific perspective. I also liked the yellowish tone of the images as seen in most dressing rooms, giving that sense of familiarity.

With the reference I painted this dressing room. After this I ended up adding small details to the back like a hanger and some slippers, then added into the Photoshop file.

This is how the background looks with the image sequence of my line-art animation applied.

In my own time, I painted a piece of the two characters, I decided I could use this to reference my colour scheme in the animation.

I painted the animation on a separate video layer for each character. I went over them in one solid colour then coloured them same as the reference drawing.

I wanted to give them their flower prints on their shirts so I went back to animate them on. While doing this I went over the colouring one more time to see if it was neat and in the line-art.

Since the mouths are in a different pace than the rest of the animation, I had to make a new video layer to paint them.

I added some more touches and polishes to the animation such as cleaning up any off-looking line-art, some colour alterations, and to the flowers on the shirts as I animated them differently to the original animation.


After all this, I had finished my animation. The result is below.

Personal Development Project – Production

Now that I have chosen my audio clip it is time to do some research on how I would like to approach the performance of the animation. Below is the audio clip script written down for reference.


CH 1: ‘Does that feel good though?’

CH 2: ‘Yeah I kinda feel dope right now.’

CH 1: ‘You look dope!’

CH 2: *Heavy breath*

CH 1: ‘What was that?’

CH 2: ‘Breathing…’

 CH 1: ‘Oh…’

Following the advice I got from Toniko Pantoja’s video, and Dermot O’ Connor’s course, I will start analysing my audio clip. I will then pick out key words that are best to express the performance, then thumbnail all my ideas of posing and expression.

First of all there are two characters to analyse. I will start with the voice that talks first (which is Jenna in the video). She says:

‘Does that feel good though?’ ‘You look dope!’ ‘What was that?’ ‘Oh…’

I have highlighted the words That, good, look, and oh; I feel they would be where the emotion is most impactful.

I sketched out different emotions and reactions that can tie in with this audio line for character 1. I have gone for four types of pose and expressions for each word, and I’ve made it so each number links with a similar recurring emotion. e.g. 1 is an enthusiastic character, 2 is quite grumpy and sarcastic. This was a great way for me to put onto paper what I imagine the kind of performances this audio can create. I mostly used myself to reference from acting out these poses to make sure they make sense.


Next is the voice that speaks second (which is Julien in the video) He says:

Yeah I kinda feel dope right now.’ *Heavy breath* ‘Breathing.

I have highlighted the words yeah, dope, ‘the breath’ and breathing; Again I feel they would be where the emotion is most impactful.

I sketched out different emotions and reactions that can tie in with this audio line for character 2. This time I went for three types of pose and expressions for each word, and I’ve made it so each number links with a similar recurring emotion. Again this greatly helped me put on paper the ideas I had in mind of how this audio will play out.


Next I sketched out some of these actions in a storyboard format to get an idea of how the performance will play out. This helped to figure out where the characters could move and position themselves, and how I could plan it so they face each other to communicate. I think I will go with the second sequence as it is a lot simpler and eye contact would be present.


Now that I had these options I started to record myself for my own performance reference, which will give me a great guidance to work from if get the right actions.

I played the audio on loop so I could keep attempting the type of actions I thumb-nailed before, and recorded myself with a phone. In time I got the actions and a few videos. I clipped out the better performances from them; for the first character I had three attempts, but chose the second one as it looked the best to me. for the second character I only had one attempt that I thought looked best, so I stuck with it.

Next I brought each video into Premiere Pro along with the original audio sound. I slightly edited the clip to match the sound – first the clips were too slow so I changed the speed duration to 120%, and this matched well. I held frames at certain areas if the breaks between words were too short to fit with the audio. Since I was planning the first character to face right, and the second to face left, I had to horizontally flip the first clip to get that same position to reference from better. Lastly, I altered the brightness and contrast of each clip as bringing them into Premiere Pro they became too bright and difficult to see.

After this I had two performance references to use as my guide for my animation:

(I cannot act sorry XD)

Lastly before I start animating, I wanted to produce design of the characters so I have them ready for when I clean up my work later on. I made sure to stick to a two day deadline to do this so I had plenty more time for animating the performance.

I also wanted to stick to a theme, and go original with the visual of the characters. In the context of the audio, I thought it suited to be taken place in a fitting room where the characters are trying on clothes. Going on from this, I wanted the characters to have cool outfits that they are trying on to correlate with the theme. I started with making a mood board on Pinterest to gather some reference and inspiration.

I am really interested in the Bang on the Door brand that make this cute groovy style of characters in cool clothes. I was inspired by the way they dress, so I searched around and combined an outfit for the two – mainly from the two cropped images above.

Then I got some regular reference for the type of people/visual I wanted to go for, and for additional clothes reference. I wanted one of the characters to be wearing cool sunglasses, and one to be wearing a long skirt.

Next I started to sketch out some design ideas. I experimented with some poses and face shapes to see how they looked.

Once I was happy with the sketches I drew out a full body design of the two characters. This reference will help me in capturing the style and look of the character later in the animating stage.

Now that I have gotten my character design, I was ready to start my animation. I first watched through my reference videos and screenshotted the main key poses I do in each performance, so I can transfer these poses into my drawings in photoshop. These poses will guide my animation and act as the most important poses in the sequence.

Character 1

Character 2

When I opened my file and set it up for animating, I drew on a thumbnail layer my plan ahead. I sketched out the key poses for both characters in a separate layer so I can always go back and revise my work to this plan.

I had a change of plan going into animating in photoshop and decided the ‘video timeline’ is more useful than the ‘frame animation timeline’. This is because in the video timeline I am able to add in my audio clip in line with the frames I’m working with, and I can turn on onion skinning in this timeline, whereas in the other timeline I cannot. So for now I drew out my key poses again this time in 1 frame each across the timeline.

I timed the poses to the audio clip of where they would be placed based on my video reference, and got this first version below.

The timing is rough at this stage but further on I will focus on the timing using the audio line very carefully.


Using my video reference, I looked over what kind of first in-betweens I could sketch out. I mainly focused on where I lift my arms, when I bring them down, and where there are slight arcs in the movement.


Between these two videos I had developed the key poses and added in-betweens where necessary to plan mostly how the arms are moving from each pose, and their anticipations.

I wanted to start the next character at this stage so I could see where to position them/how it looks with both characters in the scene. I got my references on the side and got working.

I started drawing out the main key poses for the second character. Again using my video reference and the screenshots of the key poses, I am able to add this in following the audio line.


The two above videos are my development with the key poses and adding in-betweens, again planning how the arms are moving from pose to pose, and their anticipation. I spent quite some time on this stage to get the arms moving e.g. from pointing to themselves, to sitting on their hips. It was quite difficult to predict it by eye so I made sure to look over my reference deeply to find a better motion.


At this stage I am missing a starting motion for the second character, because I decided I would like to see them walk in while pushing a door away – as if they’re walking out of a dressing room. This meant I had to make a new video reference to help me out with this.

I started the same thing I did before with my other reference, trying to get this ‘walking through the door’ motion right. After a while I had one or two videos that had good motion in them. I cropped out one motion that I liked most and stuck with it. I edited it a similar way to the other reference videos relating to the speed duration, and the brightness/contrast. After this I had a new performance reference for the second characters entrance:


For further reference, I wanted to screenshot the main motion of this video, where my hand moves over to the door.

I wanted to capture its arc by drawing over and arc line on top of these images, and to picture how my hand makes contact with the door. I started this motion without looking into this before and it did not look right. However with these images I am able to understand where the hand is moving to and correctly capture the motion.


Using this reference greatly helped with capturing this motion. I first drew in 2-3 key poses from this action, then used reference to see how they flow into each other with in-betweens. I polished up any other poses in each character and now I have a good rough base to use for my clean-up.



In these drafts I started drawing out the characters I made onto the main key poses of each performance. I made sure to have my character model sheet on another tab to refer to, but I also made use of it inside the animating file to ‘trace and shift’ the structure of the character into each pose – what I learnt from the video that Bam Animation created.

At the moment the characters feel lifeless as there is no face expressions yet. I will try start the rough lip-sync process at this stage. To the left is page 307 of the Animators Survival Kit book where they go over the uses of vowels in dialogue.

Looking through these images will help exaggerate the expressions and personality in my characters moving forward. It will also help indicate how I can tie the facial expressions and body movements so they look well together.


To plan my lip-sync, I set up the script on a photoshop file and placed down mouth shapes from this lip-sync model sheet by ‘Wolf-shadow77’ on Deviantart, to help structure how each word will be pronounced. I will follow this, starting on my key poses then branching onto the in-betweens.


So far I have only placed down the key mouth expressions throughout each of their dialogue in the main key poses of the body. This will give me a good structure to work on for developing the lip-sync later on.


In this draft I was focused on getting some arcs correct by drawing an arc line in a separate layer to guide my motions, for example the arms in the girl character moving up and down. This trick I learnt from Dermot O’Connor’s tutorial greatly helped my arcs flow better than before.

Moving forward, I spent lots of time adding in breakdown poses and polishing key poses/in-betweens so the animation becomes smoother than before. I made sure to always refer back to my recorded reference to help with arm and head positions as they were the most difficult to work with.

At this stage I have more or less finished animating the body movements, though could require some more polishing. I am happy with the motion of it so far. I even started the first characters lip-sync on a new video group, following the structure I made earlier. The lip-sync is slightly slow at the moment however I will go backwards to fix the timing very soon.

After this I moved onto the second characters lip-sync, all while referring back to the lip-sync sheets I made. I revised the mouth shapes where needed and made sure they synced in time to the audio.

Next to do was the eyes/sunglasses on the characters. I made a new video group for each so they could follow the same frame length as each character, and drew on the eyes and sunglasses straight ahead on each pose. This was an easier approach at this stage as doing pose to pose would be tricky considering the amount of drawings there are now. They look quite well, though I may need to add more expression to the eyes of the first character such as eyebrows, and rub out the lines underneath the glasses to make the line-art look cleaner in motion.

In this final video I had added the eyebrows to the first character for more expression, I altered the lip-sync and body motion where needed, and made the line art cleaner for the sunglasses on character 2. I even added earrings to character 1 as a little touch from the character design.

Now I am happy with the overall animation, I would like to present it in a nice way, with a background and possibly a colour layer.

Personal Development Project – Pre-production

In this personal development project I am required to animate a scene to improve and build on my personal practice and development. I may use audio to influence performance/acting. I can use audio lines, music and sound fx to do this. Within this project I am required to research a style of animation to try out, animation video/acting reference for additional study, and to problem solve/self-critique my work. By the end of this assignment I hope to produce a 8-12 second long animation to an audio line that helped to improve my skills and development.

First of all, I would like to decide if I should create this animation in 2D or 3D, as this will massively determine my workflow approach. I would like to try out 2D animation again, but in a different approach with different programs. I will research the traditional hand-drawn 2D animation look within projects online to see how artists have approached their techniques, and how it is effective with audio lines or sfx.

To start, I searched through the website, 11 second club. This is a monthly character animation competition, where animators and artists animate a clever take on the provided audio line for each month. The winners chosen by vote are awarded with professional animator critiques to help them gather great feedback and improve their development. I found a couple of entries that had interested me.


September 2012 winner Aju animated this sequence of a woman performing in an audition while forgetting her lines throughout. I love the clever use of the breaks in-between the audio line to establish that the woman is looking back at her script to remember her lines again.

October 2014 winner Yonatan Tal animated this sequence of a ‘ A sugar dough racer tries to protect his car from being eaten’ with an audio line exclaiming ‘don’t eat the car!’. The artist successfully captured the desperate tone of the audio clip, and contains great exaggerated poses to further express the emotion.

July 2020 winner Johnathan Fontaine animated this sequence of an astronaut not happy about fixing the ship, as a fellow astronaut pilot, notices a warning light, not knowing it is the astronaut flying away. The first character has a very clear bothered expression that translates well with the audio, and the timing of the ‘warning light’ and the astronaut floating away works very well.


Watching through other artists 2D animation reels and projects is also great to observe their takes on principles and lip-sync. Here are a couple of artists and studio work that stand out to me.

This showreel by Daniele Dinezio has some interesting and smooth sketched and rendered animations showcasing performance, body mechanics and weight.

This showreel by ‘Sleepygrim‘ combines soft and neat illustration work into practices with animation principles, experimenting lots with walk/run cycles, squash & stretch and timing.

Studio Meala always produces extraordinary visuals and expressions with their signature sketchy look and fx designs.

I particularly enjoy the projects ‘TAILS at Animal Airport’ and ‘The Reindeer Feeder’. They both include limited frames but capture movement and expressions well.They also both have lovely colour schemes and sketchy line-art. These are parts of of a style I would like to try to capture in my work.


Next, I started to look around for videos explaining techniques used when animating frame by frame, and the approach of lip-sync. I figured since I have not attempted 2D animation lip-sync properly before, it would be good to learn a bit more before producing it.

Firstly, here is an insightful video on a couple principles of animation within digital 2D animation made by Bam Animation. They run through easing, overshooting, squash & stretch and anticipation. They are principles I have learnt before but getting a refresher on the subject is going to help progress my work.

I learnt about some great tips in this video such as:

Positioning in-betweens based on the ease-in action that occurs. For example, the arm will swing from left to right, adding an in-between closer to the left pose will enhance the ease-in action.

Drawing an arc guide will help pinpoint your arc flow, if it looks jittery. It also helps to guide where to adjust their position of key poses.

Drawing a stick figure version of your character will help with quickly producing your first rough poses without worrying about the visual of the character – that it can come along at a later stage.



I found this video by Toniko Pantoja about different approaches to dialogue/lip-sync in animation, more specifically 2D frame by frame. He mentions the types of approaches are:

  • Limited mouth shapes – where the mouth would usually move up and down – saves time and gets point across for an aspect that is higher priority. Is most known for being used in anime where voice acting is recorded after the animation is made.
  • Mouth chart – where a chart for each pose of a mouth based on the word/sound being spoken (ou sounds, ai sounds), is provided for animators to reuse following an audio line. usually the shapes are held for as many frames needed, and snaps to other shapes. This is mainly used for western TV series where guides such as mouth charts would be sent to animators outside of the studio.
  • Classical – Where characters are fully animated along with the mouths where they can change and morph into different shapes. Focuses on accuracy and better pronunciation of words. Mainly used by Disney, or highly animated productions.

Each one of these approaches are all quite similar in a way that it requires us to think of how the poses will communicate thought and feeling, does the sound present interesting ideas, and how do we emphasise these ideas.

Toniko expressed the importance of understanding our audio clip by analysing the key words within the clip, and produce rough ideas of posing and expression to emphasise the words impact.

When exploring our thoughts through thumb-nailing, Toniko also encouraged the idea to make multiple expressions of the same word/phrase to see if new ideas come around.


Lastly, I am making use of Linked-in learning to learn some tricks within animating in Photoshop (course made by Dermot O’ Connor). Going through these lessons will improve the performance of my animation in the software I may use.


Some ideas I learnt from this course was:

The frame animation timeline functions – How ‘exposures’ are set up and how they can connect to a layer each in the photoshop file. Here you can also set the frame time in seconds etc. 0.04 – 24 frames a second.

Thumb-nailing or planning the action before starting the animation helps to process the steps you will be taking. It also helps to plan the main key frames from start to end.


Eventually, I started my lookout for an audio line I want to animate to. I am looking for an audio that can express great emotion that I would be able to translate into body mechanic movement, and emotive face expressions. I would also like to find an audio line that I can grasp context or a theme from, to make the animation more entertaining.

I had a look around any kind of audio clips I like or find interesting from online sources.


‘You look dope’

Youtube video: ‘I gave myself a Claire’s makeover’ by JennaMarbles

This audio clip sounds quite fun to capture a performance between two characters. One personality is sassy, and the other is encouraging but concerned by the end.  I like the casual conversation between the two and how it smoothly goes back and forth from one another. I think this would work quite well with two characters at each side making this conversation. The clip is around 8 seconds long which fits the time limit. However, I am worried about taking on two characters at the same time, I would have to work a lot more on each characters performance.



♬ original sound – secret brittany

‘I can’t and I won’t’

TikTok video: Brittany Broski @lostmymarblesagain

I think this audio would be really fun to express this same kind of emotion throughout the whole audio. She exclaims she won’t and can’t do something, but we don’t know what it is, which I find quite funny. There is 19 seconds of the audio which could be cut down in certain places. It has got one character which would be great for me to use my time to express all this exaggerated ‘disgust’ emotion all the way through. It would be great to have expressive arm movements too to separate each part of the audio line.

I have decided to go for the ‘you look dope‘ clip. I think it will be a fun and interesting clip to animate to, and I already have some ideas of posing, and characters in mind.

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