Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to handle with “Squash & Stretcht”!
(In the Lesson I used the “Eleven Rig”)
Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to handle with “Squash & Stretcht”!
(In the Lesson I used the “Eleven Rig”)
Let’s continue with the Principles of Animation … let’s see how to smooth our animation with “Slow In & Slow Out”! 😉
(In the lesson I used the rig “Pete” by Long Winter Members)
Slow In & Slow Out RECAP
The Slow In and Slow Out principle or Ease In and Ease Out is so important but also really easy to understand and put in practice!
The concept is:
an object doesn’t have a constant speed during a movement. It will have an acceleration at the beginning and a deceleration at the end
So, will starts slower, SLOW IN, increase the speed in between, and ends slower before to stop SLOW OUT
To add a Slow in and Slow out to a movement we need to change the spacing of the in-betweens at the start and the end
If we have an object that moves from A to B and the tangent is linear, so we don’t’ have any variation in the speed, we would have a stiff and mechanical movement
But…if we have the same movement, but we just change the position of the in-betweens near the first key pose and the last one, the movement result more soft, smoothed, and realistic
Always remember that we are doing cartoon, so to have a more appealing animation, we can also exaggerate this principle!
This doesn’t mean that you have to encrase the timing of your animation to have more in-betweens at the start and the end. It’s always based on the speed of your action. In a faster action you will have few frames but you still can manage them in order to have a slow in and slow out
Changing the curve in the Graph Editor is very easy to achieve the result we need, using a FLAT tangents we already have a smoothness on the extremes
if we use the SPLINE tangents we can reach the same result using the handles
We can also add an in-between near the first pose, and an other near the final pose, and move them on a value closer to the extremes, until you don’t reach your desiderata effect
When you adjust the handles don’t create this type of curve, where it goes on a higher (or lower) value compared to the last pose value otherwise you will have a backward and forward movement. So, if you just want to smooth the forward movement, the curve should be like this one below
look how smoothed is the movement on the two extremes. SLOW FAST SLOW
with the same key poses and timing, but with a different spacing, we would have a linear movement, that is really unrealistic
As you can see in the graph editor , I created a Loop animation so I have the two poses at the beginning and the end with the same position, and an other extreme in the middle with the pendulum in the opposite direction, in this case the tangent is LINEAR, that’s why we have this stiff effect, the interpolation has a uniform velocity, so all the in-betweens have the same distance between each other
…just switching the same curve in FLAT, the spacing of the in-between change and the movement is more realistic
If we create the same movement with a character, the principle doesn’t change, we will always have a movement that start slow, takes speed and slow down again
So … use this principle, with all its variations, for your objects and characters animations! It’s easy and quick to achieve and your animations will change a lot! 😉
I’m really enjoying doing this blog! And I’m happy to receive good feedback from you and your enthusiasm for my teaching method!
As I already said I can just create stuff for the blog in my free time, but my Big Dream is to be able, on day, to do this… full time and also do private on-line mentoring! Because…I really love to follow and guide other animators or those who need some tips and suggestions to improve their skills! 😛
So, what can you do to help me to realize all this? Continue to do what your are doing! Follow this Blog to don’t miss my Lessons and Tutorials, Subscribe to my Youtube Channel, my Facebook page or Twitter! Likes, Share with your friends! 🙂
After the Introduction to the Principles of Animation in the Lesson 04 I will now explain Timing & Spacing using the example of a Bouncing Ball and the Animation of a Character Turn! 🙂
In this Lesson I used this lovely Rig “Alya” by Eyad Hussein https://eyad.tv/home/
It’s really a great rig and I suggest you to check it when will be availabe (you have to wait the first quarter of 2017 :P). But you can fill the pre-registration form on this link and you will receive an email once the rig is ready for download https://eyad.tv/home/alya_pre_registr…
In this lesson we will see the main principles Timing and Spacing A GOOD TIMING makes the difference and can really give an edge to your animation!
As I said in the Lesson 04, the TIMING is the speed and the rhythm of your animation, how many frames you use to make a movement, the SPACING is the variation of the speed during this movement.
Example of different type of ball, a RUBBER ball, a BALLON and a BOWLING ball, with their different timing!
The ball falls from point A to point B. It takes 10 frames to fall on the ground, this is the timing!
this movement is generated by the gravity that push the ball on the ground
as it get closer to the ground it has an acceleration due to the decrease of air resistance
So we have more frames when the ball is high in the air and less frames before the contact. This is the SPACING, the variation of the speed between point A and B.
After the contact we have a reverse of the acceleration, now the ball is pushed upward and it lift from the ground, moving fast at first and then, when it reach the high point it slow down its movement due to the opposite forces, the gravity that pull it downward and its own speed going upward
As it get closer again to the ground it accelerate again and we have al the consecutive bounces. Any bounce lose speed and force. The timing slow down at any bounce so do the high of the bounces.An other physic phenomenon that happens during the bounces, is the
The ball deforms its volume during the bounce. Stretching before and after the contact and squashing during the contact! Why? cause The gravity push the ball against the surface causing its deformation.
This is reality, in animation we can exaggerate to reach a more cartoon effect!
When the ball bounces moving forward, it follows an elliptical path in the air, an ARC!
This gives to the bounces a natural feeling. The forward movement starts linear and slow down in the last part, before the ball stops its movement.
The choice of the timing is finalized to make the performance perfectly readable and interesting, thats why is also important to don’t create all the beats and accents with the same disance, intencity and speed! Add variations in the timing and rhythm to make your animation more interesting!
A good tip is to use a stopwatch to time yourself doing the shot, in order to have a realistic reference to start with and to see how your body reacts to different actions and how you reach a certain position or how fast you do it
This is my method, I always “see” the animation in my mind first, so that when I start to animate I already have clear in mind what to do and HOW to do it
A quick example of timing applied to character animation: a character that turn its head.
She turns fast cause she heard something, we have few frames… it’s a very fast movement
But, if we use more frames, we can have a totally different turn, she’s now very relaxed, and she’s just looking around
So, the same action, a simple turn, but the different amount of frames makes the two animations completely different
But, let’s put into practice an other principles SLOW IN AND SLOW OUT, if we slow down the spacing in the last part, creating an in-between close to the final one, and we do the same at the beginning…
and…we also add a moving hold at the end, so the movement doesn’t freeze but continues to move just a little bit, enough to be perceived by the human eye and if we also add some details like the overlap of the hair…
much better! 🙂
Let’s do the same with the slower turn, at the beginning we have just the two key poses, and the linear interpolation then we add a breakdown, pretty close to the first pose where she also makes an half blink
the slow in and the slow out
the moving hold at the endhair overlap and…
…now the two turns have a much more interesting spacing and the character looks more alive and appealing!
after that I suggest you to create the two exercise based on this lesson
In the comments add a link to your exercises and I’ll provide you a feedback! 😉
The secret of animation is enclosed in the Principles of Animation!
That you will have to learn, understand and well “impress” in your mind if you want to became a good animator! 😉
but let’s quickly see “how animation works” first. The first thing you should understand is that animation is composed by:
A timeline (the series of frames that compose each seconds, sequenced over the time)
On this frames we create some KEYS (the poses that we create and impress in the timeline, in the software are represented by the red stick)
we start setting the KEY POSES, the most important and stronger poses that describe the action (in case you are doing an Acting animation) or the EXTREME KEYS (in case we are doing an action or something connected to body mechanic like a walk cycle) this are the pose at the start and the end, or the extreme lower and higher position, or the forward and backward.
Between the Key poses (or the extremes) the software will create an automatic linear interpolation, too avoid a mechanic and linear movement we add some BREAKDOWN KEYS approximately in the middle of the 2 key poses, and can be called also Passing Positions cause are the poses that we have during the movement from A to B, “how we reach position B from position A”. After the breakdown, we go to create some IN-BETWEENS KEYS (it’s not necessary to have a key on each frames, but just the strictly necessary to have a nice movement). With the in-betweens we take control of the interpolation created by the software: adjusting positions, spacing, arcs and so on.
Clear? 🙂 Let’s sum it again:
Ok! Let’s see all the Principles of Animation, that were showed in the amazing book “Illusion of life” by two Disney Animators in 1981:
Let’s start …!
The TIMING is the speed and the rhythm of your animation, it change depending on where you set the Extreme Poses.
MORE FRAMES: slower movement
LESS FRAMES: faster movement
The SPACING is the variation of the speed during the change of position
SLOW SPACING: less change in position
FAST SPACING: more change
SLOW-IN & SLOW-OUT are used to soften the movement at the start and the end. To make it more fluid and nice to see, we manage the position of the in-betweens, if we move the in-betweens closed to the starting pose, the extreme one, the movement will starts slower, and if we do the same for the in-betweens closed to the final pose, the last extreme, the movement will also ends slower.
A bouncing ball would STRETCH its volume before the contact and would SQUASH when it’s on the ground. During a walk the body chest would squash when the body go down, because of the weight, and would stretch when the body go up. In facial, when a character close his eyes (especially during a big change of expression) it would squash the head when the eyes are closed, and would stretch for few frames when it open the eyes again.
The ANTICIPATION is used to make a movement more readable or to create a more cartoon funny effects, it’s a movement that happens before the main one, usually in the opposite direction.
If the object moves forward, we add a backward movement 3 or 4 frames before.
If we are animating a character turning from right to left and the head leads the movement, the rest of the body follow the head. So the head moves first, then the chest, then the arms and so on. This parts FOLLOW the head movement. During this movement we can have different reactions of each parts: before turn on the left, the arms could bend in the opposite direction, OVERLAPPING the ACTION.
To make the action more interesting, or to make the intentions and the emotions of the character more clear, we can use SECONDARY ACTIONS to intensify the general feeling of the animation. During a walk, the main action is the movement of the feet and hip, but we can make the character turning his head looking around or the arms swinging, this are secondary actions.
When we create a pose, we can EXAGGERATE it to make it more appealing, or during a movement we can make it stronger and extreme to emphasize it. NEVER BE AFRAID TO EXAGGERATE! 😀 Always think, is interesting or readable enough? Take inspiration from reality but always add your creativity!
APPEAL MAKES THINGS INTERESTING!
The APPEAL of a character mostly depending on the design and the story, but…we can make it more strong with poses and animation. Emphasize a pose to make the appeal of the character instantly readable!
Any movement we create, follows a path and generate an invisible ARC.
A smoothed, circular arc makes the movement fluid, more realistic and nice to watch. A straight path makes thinghs more mechanic.
When we create a shot, first of all we need to plan what where are going to show and we will try to focus the attention in the correct way, so we need to work on the STAGING. Setting the camera, the character and any other assets in the scene in a way that the main action is clearly readable and with a good rhythm, so that anybody can follow the scene and well understand what’s going on!
There are two way to start an animation: STRAIGHT AHEAD & POSE TO POSE
If you chose for STRAIGHT AHEAD means that you start creating the first pose and you go “straight ahead” up to the last one.If you chose for POSE TO POSE means that you start creating the main poses, the ones necessary to tell the story and better describe the main actions, and in a second time you go to add the other poses, breakdowns and in-betweens.
This was just a quick explanation of the Principles of Animation, in the next lessons I’ll go trough and deeper to explain each of this principles !
So… don’t miss the next lesson: TIMING!
This is the most common question I receive so I decide to make this very fast introduction to the Animation World and guide a bit those who want to work as 3D animator:
Be a Character Animator…is GREAT! I love this job and I wouldn’t change it even if sometimes it makes you angry or frustrating, but all the emotions that this job can give you (whether good or bad) …worth it! 😉
But, any other job, it have his Positive and Negative aspects, so…let’s make a list!
————-Are you still motivated and convinced to go ahead? COOL! Let’s see what’s the first steps to do…
I always suggest Maya! It’s probably the best if you want to do animation and is very used in production companies. (3D MAX maybe is more suited if you want to specialize in Modeling IMO)
TIMING / STAGING / ANTICIPATION / FOLLOW THROUGH / ARCS / EXAGGERATION and so on…
…let it BOUNCE….and bounce………and bounce again…
Lines of actions / Silhouette / Appeal——————————————————————–
DON’T start to do too complex animations before you learned and well understood this principles!——————————————————————–
The process to create a 3D Project (like a movie or a tv shows or a short film…etc…) is classified in 3 different stages:
When a concept, the idea of the project, is approved… we have the permission to move forward. This is a phase called Green Light!
So now we can start with the Pre-Production, this are the main distinct phases:
It’s time to define the design, the aspect of the characters and the environment and props. The concept artists create illustrations and sketches with different design for the characters and everything that need to be defined in terms of design.
In this step the storyboard artist create a visual description of the entire project divided by sequences and scenes.
Let’s see the difference between a SEQUENCE and a SCENE:
A SCENE is a part of the story with a specific camera take, any time the camera framing change we have a new scene! So, until you don’t see a cut in the camera, is the same scenes. A group of scenes compose a SEQUENCE, this sequence takes place in a determinate location and time of the day. When we have a change in the location or time, we have a new sequence, but the number of the scenes is still progressive.
A cast of voice actor dubb the script so that we will have a voice track to use for the production.
The design is approved so we can go forward to create the 3D models.Using a 3D modeling software, the modeler start to literally sculpt the mesh, following the design based on the illustration of the concept artist.
In this phase, a texture artist create the texture, the surface that wll be applied on the character. He create this 2D image, for example with a software like Photoshp), after that, this image will be assign to a material which in turn will be assigned to the mesh.
Once the model are done, the rigger can start to create the skeleton, the rig for the character. He add chains of bones, joints attached to the mesh so that in the Animation phase we will be able to move the character
Thanks to the rig we can select the controls of each part of the body and we can start to pose the character.
The Animators start to test the rig and create some animations, like cycles or acting or expressions test, in this phase is important to choose and set the style of the animation.
Before start the production we need a planning to set the deadlines and the plan that will guide the team during the production. In this way we can decide the time that we will need to finish the project.
The production started!! Let’s see all the main steps of this phase:
Using the storyboard as reference the layout artist create a 3D version of the storyboard. So they start to create all the single shots, setting the camera, import all the characters and the locations that the scenes request and set the length of the scene. Sometimes the layout artist also create a rough blocking with some key poses in order to give to the animators a guide for the actions and type of acting they will must do in the animation stage.
Here we are! Starting from the layout and reading the script and whatching the storyboard to have as much information and inspiration as possible, the animators start to think how to animate the characters: what type of acting, emotions and actions are more appropriate for the shot.
The animation is divided into 2 different steps, BLOCKING and REFINE
During the Blocking step, the animators create some main poses of the characters, so that they can start to set the timing and the expression, the poses and the actions of the characters.
The curves of the blocking keys are create in “stepped” mode, in order to avoid interpolation between a pose and an other. If we play the blocking animation, this appears jerky, not fluid, it’s a pose to pose!
It’s far from the final result but it’s already enough clear to have a first supervision from the Animation Supervisor, cause the intentions, the timing, and the poses are all there, so is also a good way to save time in case we have to change something.
When the Blocking is approved we move to the Refine step. Here we take all the poses curves we created for the blocking and we switch the curves from stepped to “spline”.In this way our animation looks more fluid and we can go to polish the curves and finish our animation.
During all the animation process, the Animation Supervisor receive the shots from the animators and he gives them feedback or retakes (request of changes) for the shot and he has the last decision over the animations.
We need to place the lights in the shots. The lighting artist will do that. He will decide the illumination of the scene, the lights properties, the shadows and so on. Always keeping consistency between a shot and the others.
The last process of the production. The render artist will convert the three dimensional data into a hight quality 2D images. So he go to create sequences of bidimensional images, based on the shots we crated so far, with textures, lights, shadings and the characters set in the highest quality.
The last process, the Post-Production, it’s finalized to take togheter what we have done in the production and, basically, edit, cut, add effects, adjust everything for the final export.
This are the phases:
Using a compositing software, the compositors takes all the renders, he combines them together and starts to adjust colors, lights, adding vfx in order to deliver optimized final images of the project.
Now the editor proceed to finalized the editing of the project, adjusting the length of the shots, cutting scenes depending on the request of the director, adding fade effects and so on.
The same for this process: the sound designer fixes, adjusts, adds, and edits the audio, music and sound fx.
Now the project is done, everything is finished with the approval of the directors and producers, and we can export the final project!
Quick introduction to the animation world! I will quickly explain what’s the role of an animator and the different animation techniques!
Be a Character Animator means…BRING TO LIFE a fictional characterI always says that…as animators we moves and lets speak these characters, in practice, we control their movements like “actors” and… in this way we create the…an example of an Animation (on the left) and a totally Mechanic/Lifeless one (on the right). Can you see the difference? If you do, you are on the good way… 😉
let’s see the main differences:
create asymmetric expression to give more appeal!
and don’t forget to smooth any movement with soft lines!
I drew a lot but, I can’t say that I’m a good drawer…
So, we must dispel this fake myth.
Is composed by sequences of hand drawings created on a series of pages . All the drawings are made on an Animation Desk or Light Table!
A light table has a translucent surface illuminated from behind with a light collocated into the table, on this surface you put the sequence of papers: when you draw the animations, thanks to the light inside the desk, you can see in transparence the drawings on the previous and following pages.
An animation is composed by a sequence of frames, each frame is represented by a drawing.
The Frame rate, the number of frames per second can change depending on the type of project (THIS APPLIES TO ANY TECHNIQUE)
Is the animation of objects created in a three-dimensional space.
Using a 3D Software like Maya or 3D Max, we animate a 3D object.
We start with a mesh, “the Model” that is created by the “Modeler”, on this mesh the “Rigger” will create the skeleton, “the Rig”, the series of bones, joints and the selectable controls that the Animator will use to move the character!
Selecting and moving the controls, we create the motion! 🙂
With this technique we physically move a real objects, a puppet!
Frame by frame we pose the character and we take pictures of it.
The puppet usually has a structure inside, like an iron skeleton, that allow to easily pose him.