Lesson #5 – Timing and Spacing

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/Alya2

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…


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Timing and Spacing RECAP

In this lesson we will see the main principles Timing and SpacingTiming_Spacing01 A GOOD TIMING makes the difference and can really give an edge to your animation!Timing_Spacing02.png

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.

  • If you have to reproduce a fast movement you need less frame
  • A slower movement….more frames

Timing_Spacing03.pngTiming_Spacing04.png

Example of different type of ball, a RUBBER ball, a BALLON and a BOWLING ball, with their different timing!

RUBBER ball

rubber_ball

BALLON

ballon.gif

BOWLING ballbowling_ball.gif

So…Timing_Spacing07

The ball falls from point A to point B. It takes 10 frames to fall on the ground, this is the timing!Timing_Spacing08

this movement is generated by the gravity that push the ball on the groundTiming_Spacing09

 as it get closer to the ground it has an acceleration due to the decrease of air resistanceTiming_Spacing10

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.Timing_Spacing11

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 upwardTiming_Spacing12

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.Timing_Spacing13An other physic phenomenon that happens during the bounces, is the Timing_Spacing14.png

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!

But…

Timing_Spacing17.png

And…

Timing_Spacing18.png

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. Timing_Spacing19.png

“Ok, but…”Timing_Spacing20.pngTiming_Spacing21.png

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!Timing_Spacing22.png

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 itTiming_Spacing23.png

And… Timing_Spacing25.png

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 itTiming_Spacing24.png

A quick example of timing applied to character animation: a character that turn its head.

Head_turn_fast_REFINEDShe 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 aroundHead_Turn_Slow_REFINED

So, the same action, a simple turn, but the different amount of frames makes the two animations completely differentTiming_Spacing26.png

An other thing that we can manage during the turn, is the spacing. When we create the first and last pose the software creates the linear interpolation between this two posesTiming_Spacing27.pngHead_turn_fast_LINEARNot very interesting, right?

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…Timing_Spacing30.png

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 eyeTiming_Spacing31.png and if we also add some details like the overlap of the hair…

Head_turn_fast_REFINED

much better! 🙂

Let’s do the same with the slower turn, at the beginning we have just the two key poses, and the linear interpolationTiming_Spacing32.pngHead_Turn_Slow_LINEAR then we add a breakdown, pretty close to the first pose where she also makes an half blinkTiming_Spacing33.png

the slow in and the slow outTiming_Spacing34.png

 the moving hold at the endTiming_Spacing35.pnghair overlap and…

Head_Turn_Slow_REFINED…now the two turns have a  much more interesting spacing and the character looks more alive and appealing!Timing_Spacing36.png



Timing_Spacing37.pngNow you can watch the two tutorials “How to Animate a Bouncing Ball” and “Animate a Character Turn” and start to handle with timing and spacing!

after that I suggest you to create the two exercise based on this lesson

Exercise #1Exercise #2

Timing_Spacing40.png

In the comments add a link to your exercises and I’ll provide you a feedback! 😉

Timing_Spacing41.png

Exercise #2 Animate a Character Turn

This exercise is connected to the Lesson 05 where I explain the principles TIMING and SPACING and the Tutorial 05  where I show how to animate two different turns with different timing: a Fast Turn and a Slow Turn! 😉

This exercise is perfect for BEGINNERS, you can learn how to manage Timing and Spacing on your character shot and also start to became familiar with character rig, facial expression and a bit of acting!

In this Tutorial 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…Alya

You can add a link to your exercise in the comments to receive my feedback 😉

Exercise #1 Create a Bouncing Ball

This exercise is connected to the Lesson 05 where I explain the principles TIMING and SPACING and the Tutorial 04  where I show how to create a Bouncing Ball Animation! 😉

This exercise is perfect for BEGINNERS, is very used in the animation world (is one of the first exercise you will find in any book, course or animation school)  because is perfect to learn the bases of Timing and Spacing!

You can add a link to your exercise in the comment to receive my feedback 😉

Ref_Lesson #4

Lesson #4 –Principles of Animation RECAP

here the LESSON

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! 😉principlesAnimation.png

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)keys1.png

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. keys3.png

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”. keys4.pngAfter 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.keys5.png

Clear? 🙂 Let’s sum it again:mainterms

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:illusionLife1.png

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Let’s start …!

timing1.pngThe 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 movementtiming1.pngtiming


spacing1.pngThe SPACING is the variation of the speed during the change of position

SLOW SPACING: less change in position

FAST SPACING: more changespacing2.pngspacing.giftiming_spacing.png


slowInslowOut1.pngSLOW-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.slowin_slowout


squash_stretch1.pngA 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.squashStretch2.pngsquashStretch3.pngsquash_stretch


anticipation2.pngThe 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. anticipation1.pnganticipation1anticipation3.pnganticipation2


follow1.pngIf 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.follow2.pngfollow_trough.gif


secondary2.pngTo 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.secondary4.pngsecondary1.pngsecondary_actions.gif

 


exaggeration.pngWhen 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!exaggeration2.pngexaggeration


appeal2.pngAPPEAL 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!appeal.png


arcs2.pngAny 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.arcs.png


staging.pngWhen 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!staging1staging2staging4


poseToPose.pngThere 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.streightahead.pngIf 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.posetopose1.png


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!

REF_Lesson #3

Lesson #3 –Became an Animator RECAP

here the LESSON

mfq
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!pos_cons.png

————-Are you still motivated and convinced to go ahead? COOL! Let’s see what’s the first steps to do…

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  1. Download a TRIAL version of a 3D software: you can choose between different softwares available, Maya and 3D Max (both by Softimage) are the most common.

    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)trial2.png

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  2. Watch some tutorials for the software interface! This programs are pretty complex so at the beginning, just focus on the interface for Animationinterface———————————————————————-
  3. Study the PRINCIPLES OF ANIMATION

    TIMING / STAGING / ANTICIPATION / FOLLOW THROUGH / ARCS / EXAGGERATION and so on…principlesurvivalKit.png
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  4. Start to do some simple and basic animation exercise on Maya.
    Don’t use any complex character. You just need a sphere…
     

    …let it BOUNCE….and bounce………and bounce again…

    bouncingBall.png

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  5. Chose a simple character and start to create some poses! Standing. Pushing. Runnning. etcetera… Study the rules for posing a character:

    Lines of actions / Silhouette / Appeal poses——————————————————————–

  6. Now you can try with facial expression! Use some references to create some of the more common expressions: HAPPY / ANGRY / SAD / DISAPPOINTED / SCAREDexpressions——————————————————————–
  7. ASK for feedbacks! Be sure that your are doing right…

    DON’T start to do too complex animations before you learned and well understood this principles!feddback——————————————————————–

  8. Chose a nice rig on the web and create your first ACTING SHOT!
    Take a short audio track from a movie and… animate!acting1——————————————————————–
  9. Create your ANIMATION REEL! Where to mix together the best exercises ands animations you created and …look for a company that needs animators! 😉reel——————————————————————–welcome1.png

 

REF_LESSON #2

Lesson #2 – Creation of a 3D Project RECAP

here the Lesson

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:

  1. PRE-PRODUCTION

  2. PRODUCTION

  3. POST-PRODUCTION

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PRE-PRODUCTIONLesson0002_02ProductionStage.png

When a concept, the idea of the project, is approved… we have the permission to move forward. This is a phase called Green Light!

lesson0002_05productionstage

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So now we can start with the Pre-Production, this are the main distinct phases:lesson0002_06productionstage

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Screenplaylesson0002_17productionstage

One or more screenwriters are in charge to write the script for the project.
In the screenplay we have the narrated story, the dialogues, the actions and the descriptions of the environment:

  • (example beginning of a screenplay I made for my concept for a tv show for kids)
    lesson0002_20productionstage
  • Project Title (in this case it’s Puppet House)
  • Number of the Episode
  • Title of the Episode
  • Scene heading (a short description of the location and the time of the day of that sequence)
  • Action Description (a narrative description of what happen in the scene)
  • Dialogues (name of the character and his own speech)

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Character / Environment Designlesson0002_28productionstage

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.Lesson0002_29ProductionStage.png

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Storyboardstoryboard

In this step the storyboard artist create a visual description of the entire project divided by sequences and scenes.

(storyboard example)lesson0002_33productionstage-copy

  •  Title or the logo of the project
  • Number of the episode
  • Title of the episode
  • Number of the sequence (in this case this are all scenes of the same sequence)
  • Number of the scene
  • Number of the frames (the length of the scene)
  • Visual illustrations (a detailed image that show the shot, the camera take, the character actions into the locations)
  • Dialogues
  • Camera notes (for example in this case we have a track in and it’s represented in the storyboard)
  • Sound effects note (for example, i the first shot we need the sound of the rain)

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.  scene6A 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. SCEN11.png

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Vocal Trackslesson0002_45productionstage

A cast of voice actor dubb the script so that we will have a voice track to use for the production.

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3D Asset Modelinglesson0002_46productionstage

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.lesson0002_51productionstage

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3D Asset Texturinglesson0002_47productionstage

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.lesson0002_52productionstage

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3D Asset Rigginglesson0002_48productionstage

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.  lesson0002_53productionstage

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Animation Test lesson0002_49productionstage

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.

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Scheduling planninglesson0002_50productionstage

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.

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PRODUCTIONlesson0002_03productionstage

The production started!!  Let’s see all the main steps of this phase:lesson0002_57productionstage

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Layoutlesson0002_63productionstage-copy-copy

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.

layout

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Animationlesson0002_64productionstage-copy-copy

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.blk
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.ani

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Lightinglesson0002_65productionstage-copy

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.

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Renderinglesson0002_66productionstage-copy

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.

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POST-PRODUCTIONlesson0002_04productionstage

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:lesson0002_72productionstage-copy

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Compositinglesson0002_73productionstage-copy

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.

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Video Editinglesson0002_75productionstage-copy

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.

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Sound Editinglesson0002_76productionstage-copy

The same for this process: the sound designer fixes, adjusts, adds, and edits the audio, music and sound fx.

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Exportlesson0002_77productionstage-copy

Now the project is done, everything is finished with the approval of the directors and producers, and we can export the final project!

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Ok let’s sum up the main job titles:lesson0002_79productionstage-copy

and…THAT’S IT! 😉