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Chris Derochie
(@chris_derochie)
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Yeah, I know the room is empty and I'm talking to the walls but this room will hopefully fill up someday and the conversations will grow and linger.

Come on in! Introduce yourself, look around and relax. New to the animation industry? Start a topic and reach out to everyone else that is just getting started. Want to post some work for people to critique or comment on? I've just made a forum for that. Have any suggestions for new forums? Let me know and I'll probably add it!


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rontarrant
(@rontarrant)
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Joined: 3 years ago
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Okay, as per your suggestion, here's my animation question. (likely the first of many)

A bit of preamble:

I’m (finally!) taking an online 3D animation course and just hit the exercise on adding squash and stretch to a bouncing ball. Seems there are four schools of thought relating to positions of the stretched ball in the frames immediately before and after the squash position/floor hit.

Our instructor wants (we'll number this one a) the stretched ball touching the floor in both the frame before and the one after. I'm not sure where this originated, but it's not the first time I've heard it.

The others have the ball touching the floor in b) only the frame before (which I believe is Ken Harris's variation), c) neither frame (Preston Blair), and d) squash and stretch aren’t really necessary unless the ball material warrants it. That last one is from Richard Williams's Survival Kit book.

So my question is: now that you’re as experienced as some of the ‘old men of animation’ were when they came up with these variations, what’s your take on this?

Is there a be-all-end-all answer to this century-old question?


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rontarrant
(@rontarrant)
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Oh. I would have added illustrations, but I don't see an image tool in the kit up there above the text input (^).

 

Also, please tell Philip I'm not seeing the links to Library, Community and Classroom in the latest version of Firefox. On a whim, I fired up Chrome and, voila!, there they were. But I may not be your only patron who prefers Firefox.


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Chris Derochie
(@chris_derochie)
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Joined: 7 years ago
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Thanks Ron!

We'll have Manjit look at the code and see if we can get it working for Firefox. 

As for images, look below the text input area and you'll see an "Attach File" button.


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Chris Derochie
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Well, like many things in animation, the answer is, "It depends".

Richard Williams is correct about the material being a factor. So is the style and intent. Is it meant to be cartoony? If so, then you want it to stretch on both sides of the contact frame. Is it meant to be more realistic? Then it should only stretch after the contact and make it subtle. If the ball is meant to look rubbery or alive, then having it touch the ground in the frame before the squash pose but not afterward will give it a crisper bounce or make it look like it has some life.

If this is not a rubber ball - if it's a pool ball, a golf ball, or some other kind of hard ball that bounces, then you'll want to make sure that it does not touch the ground before or after the squash pose and don't stretch it at all. The squash pose should only have minimal squash, as well.

I hope your instructor told you why you're animating a bouncing ball. Many teachers don't. This is a physics exercise and it's meant to be one of the simplest examples of Newton's 3 laws of motion. Were you taught about that? If not, go look it up online.

Once you get your head around those, you'll understand why the ball's path of action is a parabola. You'll understand why it accelerates downward at 9.8 m/sec/sec and where the energy comes from that makes it bounce back again and again at exactly the opposite angle that it hit the ground at.

Oh, and before you can decide how long it will take to hit the ground, you need to know how high off the ground it is. It has nothing to do with its weight whatsoever, as you will discover when you learn about Newton's second law.

Interestingly, I just wrote about all of this a few weeks ago. I'm working on my second book right now, which is all about Physics in animation.


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rontarrant
(@rontarrant)
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Posted by: Chris Derochie

Well, like many things in animation, the answer is, "It depends".

LOL. I wasn't expecting you to say that.

I hope your instructor told you why you're animating a bouncing ball. Many teachers don't. This is a physics exercise and it's meant to be one of the simplest examples of Newton's 3 laws of motion. Were you taught about that? If not, go look it up online.

No, he took a 'black box' approach to the physics, just mentioned the basics and that was it.

A few years back. I found Alejandro Garcia's site where he talks about physics in animation. But frankly, my observations didn't match his "Odd Rule" and so I didn't read the rest. I just reread it now and I'm still not seeing how it applies.

He says (and I'm assuming he's talking frame to frame) that slow-in is measured as 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc. In Photoshop, on a strobe photo showing a basketball's bouncing movement over a number of frames, I placed guidelines at the base of the ball for each frame and did the math. What I got was not 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, but rather 1.75, 2.6, 3.8, 5.18, and 6.8. So I started over with the strobe photo of the golf ball from Richard Williams' book and got: 3.6, 6.1, 8, and 11.4 which also doesn't match the Odd Rule.

I'm sure I must have misinterpreted what Garcia was saying, but I can't figure out how I misinterpreted it.

I do have a basic (read: high school physics) understanding of Newton's laws of motion and I've shot lots of reference footage over the last twenty years. I've just never been able to relate any of that to what Garcia says.


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rontarrant
(@rontarrant)
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Posted by: Chris Derochie

 

I hope your instructor told you why you're animating a bouncing ball. Many teachers don't.

Boy am I slow today...

Yes, he did say (more or less) that everything's a bouncing ball... which I already knew. He just didn't go much into the physics.

I came back to clear this up so I didn't mislead you about the course I'm taking.


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rontarrant
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Okay, I just found Garcia's original paper on timing and spacing from 2011 (so glad I never throw anything away) and going over it again, I found a chart that seems to clear things up (for me, anyway).

The 1, 3, 5, 7, 9, etc. is added to the distance from the previous frame and that's where I was getting stumped. I thought those were the measurements for distance traveled, but they're not. The actual distance for each frame is 1 = 1, 2 = 4 (1 from the previous frame + 3), 3 = 9 (4 from the previous frame + 5), etc. And one unit is a third of an inch or .8382 centimetres. Laying that out using guides in Photoshop looks sane to me, so I'm going to dissect another ball bounce chart and see how it works there.


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Chris Wright
(@jpchriswright)
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Hey, just wanted to say I read your first book on my Kindle and loved it! No fluff at all, just important information that I really need. I'm still trying to get my career started and this looks like it'll be one of the best resources for me to really improve my animation. I hope to see more from you!


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Chris Derochie
(@chris_derochie)
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Thanks!

I'm glad you enjoyed it!

I'm about 3/4 through book 2 right now, which is completely dedicated to physics for animators. I'll post a sample here next week - keep an eye out for it! This one will need a lot of illustrations, though. That's going to take some time, but it will be worth the wait!


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rontarrant
(@rontarrant)
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Posted by: Chris Derochie

I'll post a sample here next week - keep an eye out for it!

Cool. Can't wait, Chris.

I'm still plugging away at walk cycles. Funny, I never realized how hard it is to find a well-rigged character out there. C'est la vie. I be doing what I can with what I have right here where I are (to misquote Roosevelt).


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Chris Wright
(@jpchriswright)
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Oh man that's exactly what I need. I've been wracking my brain trying to figure out exactly how to improve my animation with physics! I'll be keeping an eye out for that sample!

 

@Ron, there are plenty of well-rigged characters online. Long Winter Studios has a good bit, Animation Mentor has the Stewart rig and a Squirrel rig, AnimSchool has Malcolm, Josh Sobel has Bonnie. Hope these rigs will be useful for you 🙂


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Chris Wright
(@jpchriswright)
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I have a question for anyone out there; I feel really stuck in the planning phase of a shot, coming up with the idea is fun but I usually end up making it too long or slow-paced. I want to do a short and sweet shot but I'm struggling with it. What are your various methods of coming up with shot ideas and executing them? Thanks


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Chris Derochie
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Joined: 7 years ago
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It's simpler than you think!

When you first have an idea, try visualizing it several different ways. Spend time with this - it's the most important phase! Don't quit after one or two attempts and jump right into animating - that's a good way to end up with a half-baked idea.

Visualize it until you can see it like a finished piece of film, then thumbnail that idea out to lock it into your mind or it will drift away. 

After you have a roughly sketched thumbnail (it doesn't have to look good) then you can try acting it out to see how the timing feels. If you want, you can video your attempts and stitch together the best bits into a single video for reference. You can make timing tweaks in that edit to get it close to what you will animate. You don't need fancy editing software because you're just dealing with a single video track. A free editor will do just fine.

NOW you're ready to start animating!

Here's the most important part - animate from you thumbnails! Don't just copy your reference. Shooting the video reference is more about learning how the action FEELS than it is about having actions to copy from. The thumbnails will have the exaggeration and strong posing built in already, whereas the reference needs to be exaggerated and punched up to be usable. You should NOT act exaggerated in your reference or it will look clownish. Shoot it as if it was a live-action movie, then exaggerate in a later pass. 

Animate from the thumbnails but use the reference to add subtleties and acting performance.

Try it compared to what you've been doing and you'll see a marked improvement!


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Chris Wright
(@jpchriswright)
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I'm doing the visualizing now, I think that'll really help me. Picturing as a scene from a movie instead of a piece for my reel makes it more interesting! At Animation Mentor most of my mentors really taught me to follow the reference nearly verbatim but it led to a sort of rotoscope boring workflow that, for me at least, was really difficult to create good shots without turning everything messy. I want to make my shots more fun and enjoyable and I think your tips will really help!


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