1. Finding References

To get the best idea of how you want your animation to look like, it’s advisable to find a reference.

References are videos with the movements you want to animate. They can be found online or you can make them yourself. The final animation doesn’t have to be exactly like in the reference, but references help to get a better understanding of how the body should move. 

Let’s take the following reference for a jump animation:

  • Find references for the jump animation, or use the one above. 

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2. Idea development

There are basic elements in every movement. For example, an illustration of a workout exercise may consist of only 2-3 images, but it will be enough to make clear how the entire movement should look.

For our jump it will be the following images:

  • Find frames with the main poses in your reference.

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3. Blocking

Blocking is a stage where you set the main character’s poses taken from the reference. 
You can slightly change the pose of the character to make it more expressive than in the reference.
To practice creating your first animation you can use Chibi.casc scene - it’s one of the simplest models. 

  • Create keys (F) on the timeline and set character poses in them based on the reference.
The distance between the keys at this stage doesn’t play a big role and can be determined approximately.
Create keys in this way with all the basic poses selected in step 2.

Note: for a jump animation, it is critically important to create keys with a lift-off pose (the last moment where the legs touch the ground), a flight pose, and a landing pose (where the legs have just touched the ground again)

  • Poses can be created faster if you use selection groups. For example, in the chibi.casc scene, you can press numbers from 1 to 9 to quickly select the desired body parts of the character. You can learn more about selection groups from the tutorial or documentation.

  • Use Ghosts to always see the position of your character in neighboring keys. 

  • Use the Silhouette tool to check the clarity of a pose. If in silhouette mode it is clear in which pose the character is, where his arms and legs are, and what he is doing, then the pose is expressive. The more expressive the poses are, the more beautiful the animation will look.

You can find an example of a ready-made blocking in Sample scenes - Chibi_jump_02_keyframes.casc

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4. Adding interpolation

Once the keys with the basic poses are ready, you can add interpolation. With interpolation, character’s poses and positions between the keys will be set automatically.

  • Go to the first frame of the animation, hold down the LMB and drag the mouse along the timeline selecting all frames.
  • Open the interpolation selection menu and select Bezier (hotkey Alt + B).
  • Hit Play and watch the animation. Notice the times when interpolation does not work as needed. 
  • Select different frame intervals and character points to see their trajectories - this will help you understand how different parts of the character behave in animation.

* You can learn more about how to use the different trajectory modes in the tutorial or documentation.

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5. Correcting arm movements on interpolation intervals.

Usually, interpolation alone is not enough to achieve the result needed. So it will be necessary to change the interpolation types at different intervals, edit the distances between the keys, and adding additional keys where needed.

For example, the character was supposed to make big sweeping movements with his arms, but in the resulting animation his hands move to the next keyframe in a straight line. That looks unnatural.
There are 2 ways to solve this problem:

  1. Adding another keyframe in the middle and setting the hands’ positions manually.  Sometimes you may need several keys like that, however, we do not recommend creating too many at this stage.

 2. Change the interpolation type of the arm’s track to FK on that interval. (If your character doesn't have body part tracks, you can create them).
You can learn more about the principles of IK and FK interpolation in Cascadeur from the tutorial, video or documentation.

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6. Correcting feet movements in interpolation intervals

Sometimes, you can see that the character's feet go underground before the take off.
This is because the Bezier interpolation makes the character's feet move along the arcs.
You can quickly fix this by setting Linear interpolation on the feet track. However, have in mind that this can also affect the knee and is not always a good solution.

So, if your character’s feet go under ground:

  • Find the feet track (if you don’t have one, you can create it) 
  • Select the interval where the problem occurs
  • Set Linear interpolation

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7. Timing corrections

The distance between the two keys affects the speed of movement on this interval. The fewer interpolation frames between keys there are, the faster the movement will be.


  • Play the animation and notice where the speed of movement should be corrected. 
  • Move keys or groups of keys by holding down the mouse wheel to change the distance between them.
  • Add additional frames between the keys or delete existing ones using the + and - keys.

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8. Adding keys to perfect the movement

Interpolation may still not cope well enough at some intervals. Also, you may want to add additional elements to the main movement.

  • Create additional keys between the existing ones and slightly edit the poses in them to match your idea.

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9. Adding a ballistic curve

If animation needs to be physically correct, then it’s timings will depend on the laws of physics. For example, our jump happens in ordinary Earth’s gravity, so the time it will take to reach its height will be strictly defined.
The higher the jump height, the more time it will take, and therefore the more frames.
The lower the gravity, the longer the jump will take at the same height.

  • Select frames on the timeline, starting with the take-off pose and up to the key with the landing pose.
  • Click the Ballistic trajectory button.
  • Drag the green dot in the middle of the ballistic curve to adjust its height
For more information on the ballistic curve tool, see the physical instruments tutorial or documentation.

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10. Jump timing adjustments to match physics

Ballistics is displayed on the timeline as a black line. The start and end of this line must match the start and end frames of the jump.

  • Select the created ballistic curve in the viewport and see what frames it takes on the timeline.
  • If the end of the ballistic trajectory does not coincide with the end frame of the jump, then add or remove frames between the keys so that they match.
  • You can also select the jump interval, press Ctrl + T and stretch or shrink it to match the ballistics.
If you add or remove frames at or before the jump interval later on, then the start and end frames of the jump may not coincide with the ballistics again. In this case, it will be necessary to move the frames or the ballistics itself to make them match.

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11. Snapping to ballistic trajectory

Now that you have the ballistic trajectory, you can simply snap your character to it. His poses will not change, but his center of mass will move to match the points of the ballistic.
However, correct rotation during flight is also important for a realistic animation. By default, the rotation in flight is calculated so that the character's position in the first and last keys of the ballistic interval remains unchanged or as close as possible to the original.

  • Select a frame interval with a ballistic trajectory and click on the Snap to ballistic trajectory button.

  • Turn on the Ballistic Ghost button - red silhouettes will show the expected physically correct position of the character.
  • If everything is fine, select the ballistic curve and click the Snap to ballistic ghosts button.
*If you don’t like how the character is deployed on silhouettes, you can use the Set physics priority frame button to manually assign frames to be used for calculating the rotation. For more information on how to correct the rotation of the character, see the documentation.

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12. Matching animation to a ballistic curve

To make the jump animation look realistic, it is important to work on both the jump interval and the moments before and after it.
The smoother the center of mass trajectory, the better the animation will look. Make sure that the trajectories have smooth lines and gradual changes in speed.

  • Select the center of mass and click the Fix all trajectories button.
  • Select all the animation frames and click the Set trajectory interval button. This way you will see how the trajectory of the center of mass will change while you move other parts of the character. 
  • Check center of mass trajectory, paying close attention to the frames before and after the ballistic. The trajectory should be smooth and without sudden changes in speed.
  • If the trajectory of the center of mass does not transition smoothly into ballistics, then it is necessary to correct poses or timings or add additional keys.

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13. Polishing animation

A good center of mass trajectory is a very important part of a good animation. But it is equally important to keep an eye on other parts of the character.


  • Play the animation to see if you like the result.
  • Watch the animation in slow motion to better see the small nuances. To do this, select the Time factor value in the Settings box on the right side of the screen.
  • Use different trajectory modes to track and adjust the movement of different parts of the character's body.

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14. Exporting animation

Finished animation can be exported in a video or .FBX and .DAE formats to be viewed in other programs.

Share your animation with us on our Discord channel!

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