Powerhoof! doodling a combo anim...

Key Poses

Initial doodle where I rough out the key poses- mostly just the anticipation and the end-position poses for each attack. The main thing for flowing combos is having the “end position” of each attack work as a good “anticipation position” to telegraph the next attack.



After putting the key poses on their own layers and making a frame for each layer, I playback, tweak timing and start doing inbetweens.


Most inbetweens I just grab the frame before or after it (depending on which pose it should be closer to) and tweak that instead of drawing a new one from scratch.

Some of them are “overshoots” of attack end-positions (pushing the previous attack end-pose to be more extreme to make a better windup for the next attack), but most are just “cushioning” into/out-of the anticipation frames for attacks- just copies of the anticipation frame tweaked slightly towards the previous/next frame.

Very few are ever real “inbetweens” (where you do a pose half way between the previous and next positions). This kind of exaggerated animation works nicely when you linger on the extremes (anticipate and end-pose) for each attack, and just rush through all the inbetween stuff, usually just hinting at it with a big swipe.

Hope someone finds this interesting 🙂


  1. Darren

    Nice dude. love the bend in the blade in the frame before key pose 4. The squash and stretch effect you get in your up and down poses is nice. Why do you make his legs chunkier when in the air?

    • cheers 🙂 those subtle bend things are fun- i got to do that on the spear combo a bit too which was fun!

      the thicker legs are to try and help them read with foreshortening- in the pose at the top of the jump with his legs squished up, if i kept them 1 pixel i think they’d look more like they were side on but just a bit short

  2. I found out about this game just a few hours ago and I can’t get over how fluid and visceral the animations look — you guys are incredible.

    Can’t wait to see more.

  3. Andrada

    Hey John. I’m holding a wkosrhop on animation at the local (small) Film festival. It’s kinda interesting that you’ll be talking about this in your blog (i’ll also tell the kids to go read this thing, as it’s a great place for info), as i plan to tell the kids about pose to pose vs. straight ahead as well as combining them. I hope to read the entry before the weekend, so i can get some pointers 🙂

  4. Omg i love this, i mean everything, the game, the process, the artworks!
    thank you for sharing! I’m trying to be a 2d pixel artist and this will be very inspiring <3

  5. Alberto Fernandez



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