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Friday 26th June

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Good Morning and we have finally made it to Friday.  It's okay, okay, you're welcome....which Disney movie is this lyric from?


Everything you need to know - the task and tutorial videos can be found on the website below.  Today you are going to complete - Lesson 3 

Try and be as creative as you can be.


Day 5 Lesson 3: Build your own character

This lesson addresses the question: who do you want to meet in your land or attraction? (Who lives there?) The lesson introduces a variety of ways that Walt Disney Imagineering brings characters to life and explores the process of character development through character sheets, performance, costume design, armatures, actuation and control (with a focus on animatronics).

You'll walk out of this lesson with a character sheet, a costume, a simple physical armature design and a digital actuated armature.

Material requirements: Includes activities that are computer based and activities that require the use of physical materials found at home.

Time requirement: 3 hours minimum (Friday's lessons)


Exercise 1: Who is your character?


Throughout the exercises in this lesson your job is to dream up and design an animatronic character for a land or attraction of your own design.

Activity: It’s important to get to know who your character is on the inside in order to better understand how they will look and act on the outside. Here are some brainstorming questions to get you started.

  • What is your characters name?
  • Where does your character live?
  • Is your character from the past, present or future?
  • What does your character want or need?
  • What does your character fear or dislike?
  • What does your character eat for breakfast, how do they eat it?

Activity 2: Create a very rough sketch of your character to get a sense of their shape and size. Feel free to use any materials to create this sketch whether it’s by hand or on the computer. Do this quickly and don’t worry about making it look beautiful.


Exercise 2: Costumes


Before building your character in detail it’s helpful to create a rough costume of what they will look like. Keep in mind you can use your whole body for this costume...

or just a part of your body such as your hand.


Activity: Imagine you need to go to a costume party as your character. What would you wear?

  • Demonstrate how your character moves using a simple costume.
  • Try to create different emotions using your costume (sad, happy, curious, scared...)


Exercise 3: Character Sheet


Here is an example of an actual character sheet for an animatronic Grumpy used at Walt Disney Imagineering. Notice how his key actions are defined:

Activity: Using a blank page make a simple character sheet for your character. It should contain:

  • A rough sketch of your character in one or more key poses
  • Draw the key motions you want your character to perform (does the head need to turn? Do the eyes or mouth need to move?)
  • Describe the Personality of your character in one or two sentences.
  • Describe the Story behind the character in one or two sentences.

You can layout your character sheet as follows:


The next three tasks are optional as they are asking you to build.  It would be create if you can complete them, but the choice is yours.


Exercise 4: Prototype armature


Activity: Make a simple armature (the bones of your character) from simple materials (such as lego, tongue depressors & pins or even paper cutouts) which demonstrates the key motions your character needs to perform. The goal isn’t to make something beautiful but to demonstrate the motions of your character.

In the next exercise, you’ll have a chance to recreate this armature using a digital modeling tool.


Exercise 5: Digital armatures


Activity: Your job is to use the digital tool to recreate your armature design from the previous exercise and bring it to life with an actuator.

Now it’s your turn. Have fun creating your own digital actuated armature!



Exercise 6: Control


Activity: Get some practice with controlling animatronic figures using the digital tool below.

Congratulations! You now have an idea of how we plan, design & prototype animatronic characters. We hope you will use these principles in the creation of your own animatronic characters.


We hope you have enjoyed our project learning this week.  Send in your final designs to


Have a lovely weekend!








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