Cut out character

I’ve been perfectly happy just doing my traditional hand drawn animation for almost two year now, but I set out to try cut out, and I can’t do it. I tried I had the whole thing worked out and ready to import into Toon Boom and it looked like the result of a bad lunch when I animated it. Now I’m mad at my computer because I’m convinced that it’s the culprit. Or, I’m just too used to hand drawing. Any pointers on how to make a cut out caracter that looks good?

Well, looking good - seems to be - always in the eye of the beholder…?

Please have a look at JK’s excellent tutorials:

Or check out Toon Boom:

Or check out these simple video demonstrations:


Cut out character animation is very attractive to many people. It offers a different approach to the performance interaction between the animator and the character. But in my experience many who approach this form of animation underestimate the upfront development aspects of the cut out character. The usual assumption is that a single drawn pose can be cut up and animated effectively. That would be magical but is pretty impractical.

A successful approach to cut out animating is to produce a repository of assets that can be interchanged through substitution to expand the flexibility of the character. The asset development and rigging process requires time, thought and persistence. Unfortunately most people want to jump straight to the animating, which without a properly developed cut out character, is not very practical. The “catch 22” of it all is that in order to develop cut out characters that animate well the character designer/ rigger needs experience animating cut outs. -JK