The bouncing ball is crucial in animation because it can be used to give weight and life to a character. It is essentially just a trick or formula, but once learnt it can then be applied to a million different things.
I’ll be showing in detail how and why it works and what happens when it goes wrong. I’ll then go on to show how it can be applied in animation.
Still bouncing I hope!
Bredon Body has a nice webpage (three actually) dedicated to the bouncing ball. It’s worth checking out, and it’s worth looking at how he does the spacing. It varies from reality, but it works. This is an important concept going forward.
Again keep in mind that animation is an artform. You may be asked to alter the reality of physics slightly to make something feel right. After all thats what animation is all about. :)
Probably one of the most consistent comments from leads and animation directors during review is that a character ‘needs a little more weight’, and frustratingly it’s not always easy or obvious how to rectify this.
This goes a little beyond the bouncing ball. But it’s all related!
As this is a carry on from last week, there isn’t a lot more to add here. So here are two tips.
Unless the ball is on some rough surface like grass or carpet. The ball will continue to roll quite a distance. Remember back in school when you lost your ball onto the road. That thing didn’t want to stop!! Ensure you have plenty of room on screen for the movement otherwise it will look unnaturally as though the ball put on the breaks.
When dealing with lateral movement (generally the x axis). Remember that although the ball does slow down over time, and the x axis should curve to a stop overall. The ball is not going to be slowing while it is in midair. Doing so will mess up the bounce arcs. So to fix this, make sure it looks good first. Then put a key on the x axis for every frame the ball contacts the ground. Finally make the curve linear and it should still follow the overall shape but looked jagged.
If that doesn’t make sense. Here is an animated gif showing what I mean: