What is Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose? Guide For Beginners

OMG, you guys! I can’t believe it’s finally animation week! First up, we’re gonna differentiate between Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose animation techniques which is the fourth Animation Principle out of 12 Principles of Animation.

Both methods have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s important to choose the one that works best for your project. This guide will help you decide which style is best for you.

So let’s start.

What is Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose Animation?

Whoa, did you know that there are two different ways to animate your movies and cartoons? Straight ahead action and pose to pose can make them look really amazing! Straight ahead action is when the animator creates a scene by drawing each frame one at a time. This technique is often used in live-action movies to give the appearance of realism!

Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose Animation

Pose to pose is when the animator creates a scene by creating keyframes, which are the most important frames in the scene, and then filling in the gaps between them. This technique is often used for cartoons because it gives the appearance of more fluid motion.

What is a pose to pose animation method?

A pose to pose animation method is a technique that can be used in character animation. This involves the animator creating poses for the character, and then transitioning between the poses using interpolation.

Credits – Alan Becker

This method is perfect for animating dialogue or facial expressions, Character Animation,creature Animation, as it allows you to have precise control over the timing and movement of your character!

How do straight ahead action are animated?

Straight ahead animation is a technique that animators use to create the illusion of realistic movement. This type of animation is were used for character movements, such as walking or running but now pose to pose is widely used by Animation Studios. To create a straight ahead action, animators start by creating an initial keyframe.

Credits – Skitty Animates

This keyframe shows the character in its starting position. Next, the animators create additional keyframes that show the character in various stages of its movement. These keyframes are spaced evenly apart, and the resulting animation looks smooth and realistic.

Which is better straight ahead action or pose to pose Animation?

Straight Ahead vs Pose to Pose Animation
Which is better? This has been a topic of debate among animators for years. Some people swear by one method while others think the other is the only way to go. So, which is better?

Which is better straight ahead action or pose to pose Animation

Straight ahead animation is created by animating each frame in the sequence. You start at the beginning and animate to the end. This can be done in either 2D or 3D software. The advantage of straight ahead animation is that you get a sense of continuity and movement. It’s also great for creating realistic motion because you’re not guessing what something will look like based on a static pose.

Pose to pose animation starts with keyframes or poses, and then fills in the frames between them. This can be done in 2D or 3D software, but it’s so much cooler if you do it in 3D! It gives you a lot more control and flexibility over the final product.

Pros and Cons of Straight Ahead Animation


  • straight ahead is where you draw the first drawing, and then you draw the second drawing, and then the third drawing, and so on.
  • Straight Ahead animation, on the other hand, is good for animation that is unpredictable.


  • Also, using straight ahead animation can lead to the character changing size
  • and then realizing that one pose is off, you would have to change several drawings to fix that one pose.

Pros and Cons of Pose to Pose


  • Pose to Pose, is where you draw the beginning and end of each main pose
  • and go back later to fill in the drawings in between.
  • Pose to Pose is generally better for most actions because it gives you the most control.
  • you have a good idea of what the action is gonna look like very early in the process
  • So instead of worrying if the character is going to end up in the right place, you decide where they end up from the beginning and work backward.
  • But with pose to pose, you do the main poses to see if it feels right and you can catch problems early on.


Examples of Straight Ahead Animation

Straight Ahead is so amazing because there are laws of physics that work at a constant rate and it’s impossible to predict how it will work from one pose to the next! So when animating fire, for example, you just go with the flow based on what you know about fire and let the fire kind of create itself. If we were to look at the beginning and end, we wouldn’t even know how to in between them.

Examples of Straight Ahead Animation
Credits – Alan Becker

However, you can still use the pose to pose to make the general shapes and fill it in between to make it smoother. Another example of unpredictable animation is overlapping action.

Examples of Pose to Pose Animation

When you work pose to pose there’s some vocabulary that goes into it! There are main poses called Keys, secondary poses called Extremes, and further broken down poses called Breakdowns. Make the keys first, perfect them, then decide the farthest the character will go in each direction using extremes and then decide how you want the extremes to connect, using breakdown poses.

Examples of Pose to Pose Animation
Credits – Alan Becker

At this point, you can start in-betweening. Working with the sort of hierarchy will give the most control This is like pose to pose within a pose to pose because you’re perfecting the poses at each level So that’s all I’ve got for Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose.


In conclusion, Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose are two very different ways of Animation. Straight Ahead Action is more spontaneous and fluid, while Pose to Pose is more methodical and precise. Both have their own advantages and disadvantages, so it is up to the individual Animator to decide which one works best for their project. Keep Animating!