LABAN FOR ANIMATORS

Laban for Animators teaches you about how we express our inner intentions outwardly through movement. Animators can use this to help them make acting choices and design authentic character animation performances. Laban for Animators is the glue between acting and animating!

Why should I study Laban for Animators?

There are two main sources available to character animators who want to develop masterful character performances: Animation Principles and Acting. Animation Principles offer a framework that teach the fundamentals of animated movement, but do not get into details of acting and how characters express themselves through movement. Acting addresses the primal impulses of expression, and the process of characterization, with movement emerging spontaneously through performance. How do we bridge the gap between what actors and animators do? Laban for Animators fits in the middle. It is like the glue between acting and animating. It teaches animators how to uncover a character’s expressive impulses, and then how to design and create movement that conveys the character’s thoughts and emotions to the audience.

Learn laban for animators online!

You can study Laban for Animators online with Leslie Bishko! The program is structured as a series of modules. Each module reveals another layer of movement. Study each multifaceted layer to become a master of animated movement!

Each module consists of a series of video lessons and short animation assignments. The full series will give you a comprehensive dive into the LMA system, delivered especially for animators who are ready to take their character performances to the next level!

Here are the modules:

effort and phrasing

Effort describes how our inner intent manifests outwardly as qualities of movement, consisting of the four motion factors of Weight, Space, Time and Flow. Phrasing is how we organize our movement over time to create sentences of movement communication. Put them together and BAM! You're ready to animate what your character is Sensing, Thinking, Intuiting and Feeling!

In this module, you will complete four short animation exercises, exploring Weight, Space, Time and Flow.

effort states

What happens when we combine two qualities of Effort at once? Hold onto your hat because this is where things start to get interesting! These subtle States, or inner attitudes, show up as transitional qualities between more pronounced actions. The six States are Awake, Dream, Remote, Rhythm, Stable and Mobile.

In this module, you will complete three animation exercises. Each one will explore two of the six States.

effort drives

Effort Drives: What's next? Combinations of three Efforts! These are called Drives, and show up as the main action of a movement phrase. Many folks who have heard of Effort know about the Action Drive, which includes the eight Effort combinations known as Float, Punch, Glide, Slash, Flick, Press, Dab, Wring. But wait, there's more! We've also got Passion, Spell and Vision drives!

In this module, you will complete four animation exercises, exploring each of the four Drives.

body

This category of LMA deals with how the body is used in movement: Posture, Gesture, Body Attitude, Initiation and Sequencing, and the Developmental Patterns of Total Body Connectivity. These topics will teach you how our brains and bodies are wired together to coordinate the body mechanics that we use throughout Functional and Expressive action.

In this module, you will review and revise any one of your previous animation exercises, or an animation you've created outside of this course. You will identify elements from the Body category that you used in your animation, and find ways to enhance and develop your work further based on what you learned in this module.

shape

Get ready to take Squash and Stretch to a whole new level! Shape is all about how we adjust our breath and overall body shape in relationship with the world and other beings around us. Breath LIFE into your characters, and go the distance when you blend Shape and Effort in action!

In this module, you'll complete one animation exercise exploring how your character changes their overall body shape in response to an external stimulus. Those who want a more advanced challenge can animate a two-character dialogue using these concepts.

space

The Space category is all about WHERE action takes place, and how movement tends to form certain types of spatial patterns. This will be very familiar to 3D animators, but goes deep into how bodies move in space, and will help animators bust loose from the X, Y and Z axies! These concepts will help 2D animators conceive of more three-dimensional posing and movement transitions.

In this module, you'll animate one exercise that really gets your character moving in Space! From subtle to broad, to single directions, to combinations of two and three directions, you'll have fun getting your character to make a statement in Space!

principles and themes

Once you've learned all the basics, we'll zoom out to look at broader concepts that help you understand the organization of movement, and reflect further on how movement communicates.

In this module, you'll review all your animation exercises and note how the Principles and Themes of LMA were used throughout your work. You'll work on descriptive writing to elaborate on how the Principles and Themes are meaningful to your creative process.

observation in action

This is a fun module that you can dip into at any point in the series. We'll take a look at memorable moments in animated character performances, observe all the layers of Body, Effort, Shape and Space, and see how they come together to bring forth the character's intent through movement expression. You'll see how plotlines and character arcs are reflected in character movement. You'll learn how each character has their own Movement Signature, which is their unique expressive movement palette.

In this module, you'll choose your favourite animated character performance to analyze using everything you've learned about LMA! You'll see how performance analysis is the inverse of the creative process, and you'll come away with fresh ideas for how you can easily rely on LMA as part of your own animation process.