Thursday, September 24, 2015

Bouncing Balls and Weight

The Bouncing Ball exercise uses the animation principles known as:

  • Arcs 
  • Ease Ins and Outs
  • Squash and Stretch


Here is a link about setting up an animation scene. 

For the bouncing ball exercise, we need a path of motion and the Key poses of your Ball. Keep in mind, the smaller the ball size, the more balls you will be drawing. Keep the ball the same size throughout  the scene.

Layout the Scene: Define the Field of view, say a 10 Field.

1) Start with a 10 field size and determine the horizon line. Figure out the Arcs on the Ball's motion path. The Ball will follow the Line of Action.

 Horizon Line is your Background layer or BG. on separate paper.

Put your Line of Action on a separate paper (Layer 1)

Make sure the Line of Action does not have the ball landing on the Horizon line. Keep Ball landing below it to help create dimension.

Add Key Poses of the Ball to your the Path of Action! (Layer 1) 

Breakdowns are the half way drawings between your Key Poses.

As you are setting up these Key drawings, you want the ball to fall and pop up faster by using less drawings and more spacing between those drawings.

When the Ball Arcs upward and the down, the Ball should slow down, more overlapping drawings or less spacing between those drawings.

After the Breakdowns are in place, you can add the inbetweens. Here you can see the animation Spacing and Ease In and Outs in one drawing. To save your sanity for later, Trace your Key Poses and Breakdowns on separate sheets of paper and then
add your inbetweens one piece of paper at a time.

You can then add those Squash and Stretch drawings when the Ball is about to hit the ground (Stretch), hits the ground (Squash) and then Recoils upward (Stretch).

Noticed that the Squash position is the most extreme on the first hit, the Ball looses energy and on the second Arcs up less then the first Arc. Students always Squash the Ball the same throughout the scene, which looks odd because the Arcs are getting smaller, but the Squash poses are all the same.
This occurs with the Stretch poses as well, notice above how the first Stretch pose is more extreme than the other Stretch poses. The Ball is loosing energy and speed, and so less Stretch is needed.

Squash and Stretch are used to exaggerate a drawing to speed up or slow down motion or how an object in motion reacts when it hits something. In real life, Squash and Stretch happens very quickly and can be seen with high speed photography. 

Watch the Tennis and Golf ball below to see the squash and stretch.

Even a hard surfaced Golf ball squashes and stretches.

Squash and Stretch helps the audience understand what the ball is made of. The more squash and stretch, the more rubbery the ball will appear.
Be sure to keep your Squash and Stretch poses with the same volume as the original Ball. If the SS poses are too small or big, it will look odd.  

Here's the Bouncing Ball... 

Wait! Wait!!  What about Weight?

Can you draw two Ball drawings of the same size, but show the audience they have different weight?

By using spacing and timing as well as Squash/Stretch,  you can show the differences in a lightweight ball and a Heavy ball bounce side by side. The Lite weight ball is more bouncy with more squash and stretch, while the Heavy ball falls faster and has less bounce, with no squash/stretch. Even a heavy bowling ball will have a slight bounce and vibrate to an abrupt stop.

Always test, revise your drawings and reshoot your work. Use your exposure sheet to write down the final timing for the final animation.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

7300 Page views!

Wow, is this true???  I guess you like this blog?

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Thank You!!!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Gumby Fest 2015

I remember as a kid watching Gumby on TV and wondering how these toys could move and talk by themselves. I even had a toy Gumby and Pokey, but could not figure out how these characters came come to life.

This week, I learned that, after all these years, Gumby is alive and well at Gumby Fest in Glendora, CA.

Joe Clokey, son of Gumby's creator Art Clokey, helped organized this event which was held this weekend at Citrus College.

It was a really hot day, the kind that can melt clay into a liquid goo, but not even the heat could keep true stop motion fans away from this 3 day event. A family friendly atmosphere with many activity tents, food trucks and live music that filled the air. 

I went on Sunday, the last day to see several panel discussions beginning with Stop-Motion Puppet Makers.  Panelists Liz Allen, Nikki Rice Malki and Margaret Meyer all shared stories about how they began their careers, showed the puppets they made and briefly explained the process they used to make their puppet actors.

Margaret Meyer showed her puppets from "Coraline" and stressed the importance of taking pictures of your creations for your portfolio.

Liz Allen from Bix Pix talked about painting with pastel powder to give a softer look to her puppets. Below she shows how she embedded a magnet into the character's face to allow for easier use of replacement mouths.

Below are several puppets made by Nikki Malki of Stoopid Buddy for "Robot Chicken". The puppet builders at her studio are responsible for a puppet's creation from the beginning design to the final product.

During early episodes of "Robot Chicken", a variety of toys were purchased through Ebay and reassembled with stop motion armatures.

The next seminar, Stop-Motion University, featured a few colleges that offer Stop-Motion classes. Jim Ovelmen of California State University, Matthew Manning of Woodbury University and Musa Booker of USC talked about their early stop motion careers and showed samples of student work.

Other fest events included art workshops about drawing, background painting, creating a bendable armature, screenprinting and creating stop motion with digital media. There were various Gumby items for sale and the Gumby Museum, temporarily housed in the Citrus College library, will continue to be accessible to the public for another few weeks.

Dyane Duffy, a Citrus College' art instructor, introduced the final lecturer, lead puppet maker Julie Zobel, who discussed puppets from Jim Henson's Creature Shop. She showed the various types of puppets and gave a brief description about how they were put together. She talked about her career and gave us a lot of insight into working at Jim Henson's Creature Shop.

Before I left Citrus College, I ran into Joe Clokey, the man with the green hat, and thanked him for helping to put this three-day event together.

Can't wait until next year!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

42nd Student Academy Awards

Last night, I went to the 42nd Student Academy Awards Alumni party held at the Academy Library. Academy members, past winners and this year's new winners gathered to meet one another. I usually get nervous at these kind of things, but everyone was so nice and I got a chance to meet some of the winners, even though I hadn't seen there films.

Man, I'm feeling elderly, because I just realized my film "Cat and Rat" won 1st place in animation at the 15th awards and now there up to 42! Time sure does fly when you're going senile. 

I'm going back to the Academy Library because they had many one of kind piece of animation history on display. I saw an original Windsor McCay drawing of Gertie the Dinosaur! I had thought the library was only for Academy members, but was happy to learn its open to the public. I will take you inside this amazing library of film and animation history in a future posting. Let me know what you'd like to see and I'll see if they've got it!

While I was there, I was handing out business cards with the "Meet the Patel's" image on them to see if I could drum up future animation work. I'm sometimes bad at this, but many people I met had either seen or had heard of the film.

I met a young live action director from AFI named Bennett, who made a film called "Stealth". A film about a transgender child, born a boy, but lives in stealth as a girl. A very real and touching subject shown from the child's perspective and handled very professionally. 

Bennett (above) gave me a copy of his DVD, instead of a business card at the time. He is a very likable and interesting person and I had wanted to talk to him more about his film. I was intending to go to the awards ceremony the next night, but unfortunately, all the tickets were all sold out.

Today I watched Bennett's film and thought he handled the story and subject matter quite well. When returning the DVD to its box, I realized that Bennett's last name is... Lasseter. 

Doing my very best Paul Harvey imitation, " And now you know the rest of the story, Good Day! "

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Glen Keane Steps into the page!

Here's an amazing look into a new way of drawing in 3d space demonstrated by Disney Legend, Glen Keane. This is first step into a new animated art form. Please let me know what you think of this and watch your step!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

More Horn tooting

Meet the Patels is a documentary that I designed the animation for and is now in a theater near you. Here is a recent article, which mentions the animation. Visit the Meet the Patels website and support this film. Its really fun!

Here's an interview from WGN in Chicago! 


Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Smear Animation

One of the best things in animation is the use of animated smears or motion blurs. These are used in scenes when the character makes a quick motion, so fast that one drawing replaces several to achieve a snappy movement.

Warner Brothers animation is famous for using this technique and even Disney used it in their animated features. Here's one frame from Disney's Jungle Book. It is so quick, the human eye can't see it, but the viewer can feel the motion which is shown.


Here's an example of smear animation, which occurs in one key pose inbetween several other key poses. It works best when the action goes into an anticipation and then pops to the extreme smear and then to settle into a normal pose.

D56 - D59 Anticipation, before going to D60.

Below D60: 1 Frame Animation transition.

D61: Key Pose Stretched

D61 - D63: Settles down into final pose.

A century ago when I entered the animation field, I worked at an animation studio in Chicago where an animator I was working for, first introduced me to this one frame transitions process. We were working on an educational film for Disney and this animator would draw these multi eyed, multi headed drawings to achieve a quick head turn or other snappy motion. 

This was back when VCRs had freeze frame abilities and you could scroll through the animation frame by frame. We soon got notes from the people running the Educational division asking why their character kept going off model. They sent us still frames of the crazy transitions and asked us to fix them right away. We tried to explain the process that their Studio, who pioneered this technique and that no one would be viewing it frame by frame. In the end, we had to take it out to satisfy someone in charge and the animation was a lot less fun to watch.

Here are a series of frames from "The Dover Boys" by Chuck Jones. Notice that body parts can stretch and change quickly to create a very snappy piece of animation in fast motion using only one frame transitions.

Smear Animation can be used in CG animation as well. The animation rig can have controls added allowing the animator to scale the character's different body parts, without breaking the rig. Motion blur helps blend fast moving parts as well.

Motion Blur

Stretched Facial Control

Facial settles back to normal

Check out all the facial controls on Dave Gallagher's AnimSchool Giacomo character rig.

To learn more about these techniques, visit Michael Sporn's Splog and Jon K's Blog

Here's also a great article about the women of Disney's Ink and Paint dept.

Learn something? Leave a Comment!