A04   INTRODUCING LIFE

Bouncing Ball B.

This Gif tends to run rather slowly.

Bouncing Ball B

In the previous exercise squash and stretch were used to accentuate the motion of the ball as it reacted to natural forces, including gravity.   In this sequence you will use squash and stretch to show that this ball is self
motivated, can think and take decisions for itself.   Another three principles of animation (as defined by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston in their book "Illusion of Life") should be introduced which are anticipation, follow through and, where possible, overlapping action.
This exercise will include a character that is capable of executing its own will and can be capable of thinking.   It will not totally rely on natural forces like gravity but will be able to move using its own free will, but it is, just another ball.   This ball is rigged so you don't need to worry about re-grouping, but it does have a friend which is perched on a plinth.   The plinth and this second ball also have a simple rig with some animation already applied.   Use this animation of the second ball and the plinth as part of your choreography.   Of course you may move this animation anywhere in the time line but try not to disturb the nature of the movement.
Refer to moving animation curves along the time line.
Refer to using the exercise rigs.


Anticipation is vital to lead the audience into an oncoming movement.   It prepares the audience for the full thrust of the action to come. Without it, the impact of the action that follows is reduced.   Anticipation can be characterized as the gathering of energy before an action.   The raising of a hammer before the blow is anticipation. Bringing the arm back before throwing the ball is anticipation.   It is even used as a grammatical tool for things that would not behave that way in real life, such as a car that reverses slightly before accelerating off from the start line in a race.   I do not think there is any advantage for a car to reverse up in this way but if it could compress itself like a spring then there would be.

This is what John Lassetter says about anticipation:
"An action occurs in three parts:
First is the preparation for the action - this is anticipation

Second is the action itself.
Thirdly the termination of the action
Anticipation can be the anatomical preparation for the action, e.g., retracting a foot before kicking a ball.  It can also be a device to attract the viewer's attention to the proper screen area and to prepare them for the action, e.g., raising the arms and staring at something before picking it up, or staring off-screen at something and then reacting to it before the action moves on-screen.   A properly timed anticipation can enable the viewer to better understand a rapid action, e.g., preparing to run and then dashing off-screen.   Anticipation can also create the perception of weight or mass, e.g., a heavy person might put their arms on a chair before they rise, whereas a smaller person might just stand up."

Follow through is the counter part of anticipation.   When an action comes to a stop, there is an implied over run or over shoot.   For example, when a person is throwing a ball their arm will continue moving on its trajectory or arc after the ball has been released.  The natural energy within the limb has to be brought to a gentle finish at the extreme of the move before it is brought back to its natural position or continues with another part of the choreography.   The more flexible parts of a character may continue on when the character itself has come to a stop. Overlapping action is where actions can partly or wholly overlap.   Not all actions have to start after the last action has stopped.

This is what John Lassetter says about Follow Through and Overlapping Action:
"Follow through is the termination part of an action. An example is in throwing a ball - the hand continues to move after the ball is released.   In the movement of a complex object different parts of the object move
at different times and different rates.   For example, in walking, the hip leads, followed by the leg and then the foot.   As the lead part stops, the lagging parts continue in motion.   Heavier parts lag farther and stop slower.   An example is in the antennae of an insect - they will lag behind and then move quickly to indicate the lighter mass.
Overlapping means to start a second action before the first action has completely finished.   This keeps the interest of the viewer, since there is no dead time between actions.
Here is a quote about overlapping from Walt Disney:
"It is not necessary for an animator to take a character to one point, complete that action completely, and then turn to the following action as if he had never given it a thought until after completing the first action.   When a character knows what he is going to do he doesn't have to stop before each individual action and think to do it.   He has it planned in advance in his mind.""
THE BRIEF
Bouncing Ball B:

Artistic Elements Covered: Timing, Squash, Stretch, Anticipation and Follow Through
Technical Elements Covered: Using a simple rigged character.   Key Framing and Using the Graph Editor


Scene file "Bouncing Ball B".   Sequence Duration 6 to 8 seconds

Use the scene file to produce a scenario using the rigged ball on the floor and the ball on a pedestal.
Include squash, stretch, anticipation, follow through and where possible, overlapping action.
You may move the animation curves of the ball on the pedestal along the time so that this fragment of animation happens later, but do not interfere with their timings or values, unless you are confident.



Using the Graph Editor it is possible to move your animation curves accurately along the time line without sliding them along with the mouse.   For example, if you need to move animation curves or specific keys down the time line, so that they start 50 frames later than they do currently, then select the curves or keys by highlighting them, then place your curser in the left hand Stats window and overwrite what is there with +=50 (plus equals fifty) and press enter or return, your curves or keys should have moved exactly 50 frames down the time line.   Try -=25 (minus equals twenty five) or *=2 (times equals two).   You can also use the right hand stats window to accurately change the parameter value of keys or curves.

Most of the rigs provided share some common factors.   All of them use wires (curves) which can be selected from the geometry window to control the character.   Make sure your geometry window menu bar "Show" has "NURBS Curves" ticked (switched on) but when you execute your final playblast then make sure "NURBS Curves" are un-ticked (off).   When you select the biggest wire, which usually includes the word "ALL" in its name, it has some extra un-keyable channels at the bottom of the channel box.   The function of these channels are as follows:-

Smooth:
Controls the smoothness of the character and should be set to "smooth" or "very smooth" for your final play blast.
You can set it to "off" if, in the unlikely circumstances, that the character slows the frame rate down.

Display mode: (Display Override)
Normal mode means that the character's geometry is selectable from the geometry window.
Reference mode is the preferred mode and prevents the character from being selected from the geometry by accident.
Template mode displays the geometry as a template.

Guides:
When these are on, they serve as a guide to the rig's operation.   They should be turned off as soon as you are familiar with the controls and for your final play blast.

GUIDES show the controls on the rig


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