Week 5

Assignment: Flour sack


Animators have used the “flour sack” exercise for decades to practice weight, timing, expression and exaggeration. The fact that a flour sack’s design is very simple is key: we cannot rely on facial features or elaborate limbs. We have to get to the essence of animation – the 12 principles – to imbue the character with personality. 

A page from “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation” by Ollie Johnston & Frank Thomas

Pick one of the following expressions and apply it to a flour sack:

sad – happy – proud – shy – anxious – frightened – tired – confused – surprised – excited

Use the principles we covered in our bouncing ball exercises to give your object personality. NO eyes, mouth, or other facials features allowed – the expression must be conveyed through movement. 

Draw a few key poses  before starting to animate to get familiar with the sack’s design (you can use paper or your favorite drawing app).

Act out the emotion yourself and take note of your body language – which parts of your body change when you are sad/shy/tired etc? Are your movements fast, slow, tentative, assured etc.?

As usual, apply the 12 principles of animation.

For inspiration on conveying emotion through motion, look at Michael Dudok de Wit’s Father and Daughter (2000), Pixar’s Luxo Jr (1986), and the Magic Carpet in this sequence from Disney’s Aladdin (1992)


Use the following file format: 24fps, width: 1920px | height: 1080px. Save your .fla file and export your animation to Quicktime (review exporting instructions on the week 2 page). Upload your animation to Vimeo or Youtube


Create a new post on your Open Lab portfolio. Your post should include a link to your Vimeo or Youtube video as well as a short description (reflections on your process, challenges, goals etc. are also welcome), and your key poses drawing.

This assignment is due next week. Submit the following files on the following platforms:

  • Blackboard: .fla file and a link to your Open Lab post.
  • Open Lab discussion board: Reply to the “Study#5: Flour sack” discussion post with a link to your Open Lab post

The grading rubric for this assignment can be found here.