Blocking in Animation

Blocking is a technique used in animation in which key poses are shaped to set up timing and placement of props and characters in a given specified shot. There are many different ways in which blocking can be performed some of which are Stepped and Spline Blocking. In 3D animation designing, there are many steps that are involved. One of these steps is blocking which tends to put many animators in the difficulty of which specific technique to use in designing.

Stepped and Spline Blocking in Animation

Stepped and Spline Blocking refers to the way your keyframes are interpolated in an animation. Stepped blocking means that there is no change in values between two keys while in spline blocking method, the computer automatically adds in-betweens values between two keyframes.

Let’s take a look in detail at the difference between each method for blocking in animation and its benefits.

Difference Between Stepped and Spline Blocking in Animation


Stepped Blocking in Animation

In stepped blocking phase you can focus on the key areas of the animation. Creating an animation is a lengthy process and it involves different elements to bring it all together. During the blocking stage of animation, one of the most important things to get established is the key poses for a shot. Being that in stepped blocking mode the software doesn’t interpolate between two keyframes it allows you not to be distracted by how the computer is actually moving between keyframes, but rather the poses for the character. One of the most important things to get established is the key poses for the shot. Stepped blocking also allows you to keep your scene very clean, and you are able to tell the animation story with a minimal amount of keyframes.

Click on Below Video: Blocking Stage – Stepped

Advantage of Stepped Blocking

The main advantage of stepped blocking method is that it is faster and have the option of correcting and rectifying the mistakes. If any change is necessary for it, then it is easier to do it in the rough state.

Spline Blocking in Animation

Spline blocking technique helps the animator to assume a vivid understanding of who the characters are and how they are supposed to move. Spline Blocking allows you to work more in a straight-ahead way. Depending on the shot, sometimes just going at it full force can be the way to go, and with spline blocking mode you are able to get a feel for how animation is going to be played out very early on in the blocking stage. Since the computer is actually interpolating between each keyframe, you are able to get a strong grasp of how the timing is actually going to look at the animation. If the timing doesn’t work, you can immediately shift keyframes around until you get what you are looking for. In the beginning of an animation, you can basically work in stepped blocking mode as you create the key poses by simply flipping through your keyframes without playing the whole animation. That way you can still focus on the posing, and not worry about the animation. It’s also much easier to incorporate things like overlapping action and follow through.

Click on Below Video: Blocking to Spline 2.0 Animation Tutorial

Advantage of Spline Blocking

Advantage of working in spline blocking mode are that you can get 70–80% of the way there in your first pass, and finishing off the shot can be a breeze.

Click on Below Video: 12 Principles of Animation



Stepped and Spline Blocking technique is used in animation. The only way you decide what works better is if you try both the method and determine what you find easier for workflow. There are some situations where stepped blocking is better and there are situations when blocking in spline technique will work best. It’s up to you to decide when to use one over the other.

For students who are interested to learn more on stepped and spline blocking technique and would like to experience more on a professional level, please sign up today for our Animation Course.


Stepped vs. Spline Blocking in Animation

Stepped or Spline?

Blocking (Animation)

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