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Mastering drawing and creative techniques: a graphic culture and an artistic eye sharpen to adapt to any type of projects.


Usually, the 2D animation production pipeline starts by the design based on the script, and followed by the storyboard.
This part of the production is done at Xilam studio in Paris.
The layout department at Armada studio Vietnam begins their work at the start of the animation production, right after receive the storyboard and the design pack from Xilam.
Most of the time the layout artists work in small teams (5-10 artists) directed by a layout supervisor.
At the moment in our studio, we have two layout teams and 2 supervisors.
Both teams works on different productions.
The layout artist works with the storyboard that has been done by the storyboard artist.
The layout artist will follow the composition and action of the storyboard, he will draw all the action poses and follow perfectly the model.
Sometimes he can create additional poses to precise a specific acting.
He's also in charge of the hook up in action in between the scene in the sequence, this HU or raccord are not precised in the storyboard.
For each scene the pose start and cut should match perfectly with the previous and next scene.
For the layout it's extremely important to know how to read and understand a storyboard.
In this video you can see the storyboard for one sequence of "Oggy", we call it animatic.
The animatic is the storyboard with the exact timing of the movie, it allows the movie director to see if the sequence works well.
The layout artist will adjust every poses at the model and create the HU, in this page you'll can see the same sequence after the layout work.
The layout artist works also with a design pack including all design references (characters, BG and FX)
Most of the time a movie or a TV show like Oggy have 2 kinds of design packs.
The main model design pack and the show design pack.
The main model pack contains turns around of the main characters.
In Oggy's show, it will be Oggy of course, Jack, Olivia, the cockroaches and Bob.
For the main characters, the main model pack can also include some additional poses or expressions.
As well as details like hands...

Evolution of Oggy's model

Entre parenthese...For a show like "oggy" have so many seasons on several years, the design and style had evolution, until the recent 3D version.
In the main model pack you will also have the main locations of the show, for example Oggy's house inside and outside, associated with some close up important details.
The main model pack will also include the main props like Oggy's car or his fly swatter.
The main model pack will also include color reference for characters, backgrounds and props.
One example of BG line reference
-The show design pack is the references for each episode of the serie.
It contains the specific designs for each show, also characters, backgrounds and props, as well as special FX or acting.
It's really similar with the main model pack, but the designs are specific for this episode.
Sometimes we can reuse a specific design from a previous show in a new one...For example Oggy in middle age costume.
And of course the specific backgrounds of the show.
In 2D animation , layout artists define the composition as well as the main poses of the animation.
The layout artist must understand the storyboard perfectly to create the final design of a sequence by following the compositions of the storyboard and also the emotions and acting of the characters.
For 2D animation production, the layout (BG and posings) is very important to communicate the storyboard information very clearly to the animators and color BG artists.
The layout Harmony file contains the proper camera move and the right size of the scene.
It also includes the character's main poses ( posings) from the storyboard following the official design from Xilam Studio.
With the posings and BG, the layout artist will also design the FX and all the other information necessary to the animator and other departments.
It consists in creating all the information needed to complete the final scene: Background, overlay, underlay, camera and key poses.

In our studio, the layout posings and BG are done by the same artist to avoid potential mistakes in the interaction in between animation and BG.
In the following example, the cockroaches runs followed by Oggy slide IN.
The cockroaches runs OUT of the frame, Oggy run sliding after them and OUT too.
The layout artist gives all the necessary poses for a clear animation, as well as the background design.
In this next video, you can see the sequence previously seen in animatic, but after the layout artist work.
The team supervisor analyses the storyboard and shares the sequences in between the members of his team.
He will share the scenes according to sequences and hook ups.
It can be by location or actions in the storyboard.
The layout supervisor ensures the consistency of the film.
Layout artists work closely with the layout supervisor to translate storyboard and animatics into polished frames that will be the final design of the scenes.
The layout artist work is critiqued by the layout supervisor before his work goes to the next steps, the animation and color background departments.

The LO supervisor will follow every scene of the film until the final validation by the movie director in Paris.
Sometimes the directors from Paris ask us to modify or correct something, we call it "retakes".
The retakes will be fixed by our team and sent back again to Xilam for validation.
When the film is completely validated at the layout stage, it pass to the rough animation step.

The layout supervisor will also ensure the training of the new members of the team.
The layout artists level in drawing must be very good and they must know what looks good and why.
Have very good knowledge in composition, perspective and advanced notions of animation.
Understand camera and lighting techniques, know how to use them to affect emotions, know how to tell a story through a shot.
Communication: Work with the director, be able to pick up an idea from the storyboard and work with other artists.
Be adept at using relevant softwares, in our studio we use ToonBoom Harmony.
Watching animation, feature films and having a passion for the cinema.
Playing with the model
In general the layout team must follow exactly the approved design references.
For example if the proportions of the character are not right, we call it "Off model", and the pose should be fixed.
It's the same for the background references and all other designs.
But one point is important to notice in the case of "Oggy and the cockroaches": If for most of the films the model sheets should be followed exactly, in Oggy's cartoon style, it will be possible to play with the proportions of the character according to the scene or acting in the storyboard.
Like in the traditional cartoon style, extreme poses and deformation are possible, but Oggy must stay Oggy.
It will be the layout artist who knows where the limits are...But in this specific style the possibilities of deformation are huge: hands and arms can be longer or bigger, facial expression can be totally extreme.
Understand cartoon acting and create good posing adapted to the style of the movie...
In the case of "Oggy and the cockroaches" the layout artist must be really creative on the facial expressions and posing.

Layout poses for " Oggy & the cockroaches"

Oggy layout examples


In this next example, the action scene is horse and rider climbing a mountain path.
The characters moving in the background perspective according to the horizon line.
The main difficulty in this scene is to keep the volume according to the perspective.
We also need to understand to way of horse walk...We can searching for references.
The first step is to create the composition of the scene and the background. In this scene the perspective path will be very important to place the horse steps.
We also place our camera movement following the characters.
In rough drawing we fix the volume problems and construction.
Then when everything is OK in rough drawing, we can focus on the model and the details...But this part of the process is the most difficult.

From rough to clean...

In layout, it's not necessary to clean our poses perfectly, but it should be precise...
For the background also, a rough drawing will be OK, but all the problems of composition and perspective should be fixed...Details should be precise.
The storyboard give the direction of the action, but we must improve it...
We focus first on composition and background...
Then focus on acting according to STB and model...
Understand and build the basic shape
Control volume and structure according to the perspective, camera angle and action
Very important point
When you draw, you must create virtual lines of perspective according to the position of every parts of the character.
Those lines don't have to be drawn, with experience, this construction will be only in your mind...But you must give the habit to your eyes to see in 3 dimensions and understand the volume.
To finish, this is the same sequence previously seen in storyboard and layout, but after the key animation work.


Learning to draw characters, objects and backgrounds


- The different types of perspective
- Rules of perspective
- Measures
- The reflections
- The shadows

Character design and posing

- The styles: Realistic, cartoon...
- Creation and method (rough, rendering, presentation
- Understand and hold the volume without loosing the model.
- The personalities
- Attitudes and acting
- Silhouette

Background design

- The styles
- Composition
- Readibility
- Depth of field
- Model sheet and references
- Integration of animation and characters

Advanced perspective notions

- Full control of the rules
- Learn to cheat with the rules
- The deformations
- Drawing in perspective without building 
(accustom your eye to see the errors)


This program will allow new layout artists to acquire a mastery of drawing, volume and perspective, as well as the first notions of animation.
- ToonBoom Harmony
- Wacom Cintiq and use
- The rough drawing
- The final render

Living model

- Dynamic attitudes and body language
- Lines of strength and construction
- The rough and rendered
- Anatomy
Living model


Give life to your characters and poses with realistic acting sessions.


Study and practice the human body in action to create natural movements and acting.
Acquire the fundamentals in drawing and anatomy to avoid mistakes in your construction and movements.
Drawing will take place on both paper and digital Graphic work on dedicated software


Understand the volume and structure, mastering perspective and space...
Character design is so much more than a character’s physical line.
A huge part of drawing process is portraying who they are as a person, their personality, emotions and feelings.
⁠In our training we will teach to the new layout artists how to do that, breaking down the concepts that will transform characters from flat lines, lifeless drawings to ones that tell a story through their dynamic poses and lively expressions.
CONCEPT : with this training program, our students will learn the advanced drawing techniques from sketching to final drawing. 
This program is mainly oriented on drawing.
Audience: ideal for students looking for jobs that require a high level of design, such as animation and layout.

Perspective: Courses and exercises
The different types of perspective
Rules of perspective
The reflections
The shadows
Cheat with perspective
Background design

-COMPOSITION : The rules & broke the rules

-CHARACTERS DESIGN : from cartoon to realistic style
Advanced concepts of living model and anatomy:
Fast poses
The sketch
The styles (realistic, cartoon, caricature …)
Creation and method (rough, rendering, presentation)
Understand and hold the volume without losing the model
The personalities
Attitudes and acting

We are going to give to our students all the keys to a full artistic development.
This program will allow our students to have an international level in drawing, in order to integrate our studio, without being limited by their own skills level.
Just send us your portfolio with drawings and sketches...No graphic design or logos please.
Life drawings, illustrations, comics, traditional sketches are perfect.
You don't have any experience in animation, not a problem...We provides the training.
You needs more information or wants to send your portfolio


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Design by Paolo Web Design - Drawings by Fred Serra

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