What Can We Learn from the 'King of the Hill' Do's and Don'ts Animation Guide?

King of the Hill Animation GuideIf you've ever worked in animation, whether it was a short web series, TV show, or film, creating a cohesive and consistent style, especially if there are multiple animators, is quite a large task. Even something as small as what the characters' eyes do when they drink from a cup, or whether or not to use the frosted glass effect on windows are carefully determined, creating an overarching style for all animators to follow. You can see for yourself just how intricate and particular these things get in the Do's and Don'ts animation guide created for the King of the Hill animation team. Continue on to check it out.

Sure, these images are entertaining and fun to look at -- get a little inside look at what makes King of the Hill what it is -- even try to watch the show with your new, keenly aware eyes. However, there is so much to learn from them, and not just for the animators among us, but all filmmakers.

Of course, if you're an animator, things like how hands should look and how liquids should appear on skin are at the forefront of your mind, because you're the one creating them. A narrative filmmaker doesn't have to think about it, because those things just -- exist and do what they naturally do (most of the time.)

But one thing that we can all take away from King of the Hill's animation guide is just how detailed and specific a character can be -- Boomhauer doesn't smile or laugh, Dale doesn't flip his shades up, and the guys definitely do not high-five. It definitely made me ask myself if I took too many aspects -- motions, expressions, etc. -- of my characters for granted. Do I ever focus on minute details? What would happen if I put away the hammer and pulled out a fine chisel?

These guidelines were definitely compiled after a lot of trial and error, which means that these things aren't decided upon or even noticed from the beginning. That's part of the fun anyway, right? Learning and growing along with your project?

What do you think of the King of the Hill animation guide? Do you use something similar for your animations (or narratives?) How specific do you get with your characters/environments?

[via Filmmaker IQ]

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Your Comment


"Don't extensively use comic sans no matter what the context is"

November 11, 2013 at 6:24PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Did they make this to send to the animation team in Korea that the studio outsourced to?

November 11, 2013 at 10:11PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

john jeffries

Everyone in animation uses inbetweeners if they actually intend on releasing a show every week.

November 12, 2013 at 11:49AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


I think it teaches us about attention to detail, no matter how small. As an editor a lot of these rules would also apply for live action.

November 12, 2013 at 1:28AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


Agreed. One of the things that separates the real pro outfits from indies and amateurs is the intense attention to detail and quality control. The bar is just astronomical. When I was working in the biz that was always the one thing I admired the most about my peers, that their ability to keep quality high was unparalleled. Now that I'm more in the indie scene it's kind of appalling how sloppy some of the work out there is.

November 12, 2013 at 10:47AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM


"Don't draw Peggy too shapely" is my favorite.

November 12, 2013 at 9:22AM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM

Oakley Anderson-Moore

Love this! Cheers. I'm always fascinated by this stuff. I've managed to glimpse a few writing and directing bibles from FRINGE and CSI:MIAMI (I know - they bothered) but hadn't seen a production one for an animated show.

November 12, 2013 at 12:10PM, Edited September 4, 8:21AM