Sunday, October 21, 2012

Week 4: Timing and Spacing

“It’s all in the timing and the spacing” -Grim Natwick

Above is a quote from a well-known animator by the name of Grim Natwick. Perhaps most famous for his character Betty Boop, Mr. Natwick spent much of his time animating for shorts and TV series. So, what was he on about when he said this? Well, timing and spacing are two of the most important principles in animation. They are typically synonymous with each other; you can’t really have one without the other. So, what are timing and spacing?

Timing
Gives meaning to the movements
How the action expresses what is going on behind the movement

Spacing
Gaps between the drawings

How does timing and spacing fit together then? In animation, there are key frames (also known as golden poses) and breakdowns. Timing acts as the beats; or, in simplified terms, the key frames. Spacing determines where the breakdowns are placed between these key frames. In a perfectly mathematical world, if there are two key frames, the breakdown will be perfectly in the center: halfway between Point A and Point B. However, this makes for mechanical and boring animation. Instead, it is our jobs, as animators, to apply the laws of physics and the principles of animation to achieve a more appealing animation. Going back to what was said above, to get a more appealing breakdown, you could have the breakdown favor one key or another. By applying slow ins/slow outs (ease ins/ease outs), the spacing is closer in the beginning (or end) and spread out through the middle.

Animation is grounded in the physical world, but also has a sense of stylization to it. Animators must abide by the laws of physics (weight, gravity, momentum, and inertia); however, we can also take liberties and push the limitations of physics to get the best appeal to our work.

This brings us to the assignment for this week, which was a follow-up to the single bouncing ball assignment from last week. The assignment this week focused on timing and spacing, and how changing these two aspects can alter the outcome of the animation. The stipulations this week were similar to last week (with a few changes): from a side view only, animate a light and heavy ball that come to a settle on screen by the end of the shot. We were given a frame limit of 60-120 frames. My mentor also wanted us to note what two ball types we were using, the floor material, and include rotation in this assignment. For this assignment, I decided to challenge myself and go for a bowling ball and beach ball on concrete. After viewing reference video, the bowling ball surprisingly bounces more that I thought on concrete. The beach ball, as indicated by my mentor, was actually one of the more difficult light balls to get right. He wasn't kidding. Hopefully I managed to get it right. Below is the final ball bounce I turned in.

Planning: Bowling Ball vs. Beach Ball

Animation: Bowling Ball vs. Beach Ball

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