Tuesday, October 17, 2006

From 2's to 1's

I've been thinking about this for a while, and it kinda works out that I can post this now cuz I've been teaching this in my class at CalArts. There is a real danger in SOLELY thinking on 2's. Meaning, you assume that if you need to add ones inbetween those drawings all you do is simply add them in evenly spaced. Not so much-- It's a super important tool to understand the difference in spacing on ones and two's and it can be kind tricky. but the important thing here is to understand WHY you space things a certain way, not memorize charts for whenever the occasition pops up.
I thought a very clear way to present this idea would be through a little ball bounce experiment for ya'll to prove my points. I've animated 4 different ball bounces, all different spacing. 1: all 2's, 2: lazy inbetweens, 3: adjusted spacing, 4: fine tuning of spacing. The first test is completely on two's--

Ball Bounce on 2's - video powered by Metacafe

As you can see it works "OK", but it's not great-- what would give it a lot more fluidity and weight, you decide, would be to put it on to 1's. And I would agree with you, plus it's strobing! So, you just think, whelp, just throw in there 1 drawing between every other drawing and we just be set! Yeah, ummmm, THEN your results come back and you get this:

Ball Bounce - video powered by Metacafe

It's not terrible, but it doesn't have the weight you'd hoped for-- in fact, it feels kinda watery and floaty. Why? What happened-- this animator made "lazy or possibly ignorant inbetweens"... Meaning, he wasn't considering the transition of spacing from ones to 2's or he wasn't thinking period. The main parts of the test, you'll notice, is in the slow in's and out's and the contact of the ball. By the way, side note: you always need at least 2 frames of contact for it to actually read as a contact. Anyway, you think, huh, how can I fix this-- you need to respace some of your animation. You locate the problem areas and begin rethinking it. It seems floaty from 17 to 1, so you respace with place 18 as a half, 19 as a half, and 20 as a third (because that last inbetween needs to be a third to continue the slow out).

ball bounce - video powered by Metacafe

Ok, so it's looking pretty close now! That repsacing from 17-1 really helped! But man, it's still a tiny bit sticky on the contact, and it still doesn't have the punch on the impact that you wanted. What else is there to do? You've already respaced it to an extreme favor-- Whelp, just take out the drawing 10 and add one frame into your slow in at the beginning of the chart! Simple as that!

Ball Bounce - video powered by Metacafe

So yeah man, 1's can be tricky, and sometimes it's a trial and error thing to figure out what'll translate but I think the important thing here to remember is to PLAN FOR ONE'S. If you know your going to need to be doing something that requires 1's, plan for it, build it into your existing work that is on 2's. This is why I animate with the lightbox on, so I can see where my spacing is coming and going from. Spacing is one of those very important pieces of the animators tool-kit that so few truly understand. I'd like to do a whole other post on spacing when your animating your Keys on 3's: 1, 4, 7. but i'm affraid i don't have the energy at the moment! Thanks for continuing to visit everyone! I love hearing from you all, and please, feel free to ask any questions you want!


Todd Oman said...

very interesting.

Manton said...

Great points, thanks for posting that. I just started a scene with fast movement that might be about half on 1's, so I'll be keeping these in mind.

kr said...

great post matt!

for more study materials, I suggest looking at James Baxter scenes of Rafiki in the Lion King, some very nice transitions from 2's to 1's, specialy on the scene where he grabs the hairs of adult simba in the air and goes down the tree to examine them.

by the way, I think "Hand Drawn Nomad" is going to become one years old in about 4 days, perhaps a special post for that occasion could be in order?

so thanks a lot for sharing your animation knowledge with us, and keep up the great work!

LampshadeMan said...

Good stuff, man, very informative, and you have some aewsome pencil tests on this blog! Well worth the wait between posts. You are a testiment to the level of quality and skill it takes to do traditional animation and why it is still a worthy animation medium. Looking forward to the next lesson/pencil tests!

Matt Williames said...

Todd: thanks for stopping by!
Manton: No, thank you! I hope this helps!
Kaveh: Dude, i think i know Baxter a little TOO well. I have to force myself to look at other animators stuff once in a while! Wow, is the blog really gonna be a year old? huh, i gotta think about what to get it for it's birthday! thanks for the reminder, my wife would have killed me!
Lampshademan: Thanks for your generous and kind comments! I'm just a student of this artform-- hope i always am!

andy said...

Hey Matt, awesome information as always, another great installment! Thanks for posting these, they've been really helpful to me and I'm sure many others, what a blessing to have this and so many other sources of animation study and inspiration available on the net :)


Druie said...

Thank you so much for posting this! I never really understood when my teacher said my timing and spacing is too even. The suttle changes make it so much better when I look at the ball bounce

Gillian said...

slugging makes me dizzy o_0

great post thou :P

Victor Ens said...

Aaahh the good old bouncing ball !! A very good thing to practice timing and spacing ! Many beginners underestimate this exercise.

Anonymous said...

the videos have been taken down by Metacafe.

Anonymous said...

Edit: ok only the first video is missing.

arun said...

Good subject Matt. I always think it's easier to think about going from 1's to 2's when you think about going from broad spacing on 1's to a cushion or settle out on 2's.

A great scene to look at for a really unexpected use of 1's and 2's is Bruce Smith's Kerchak in Tarzan when he explodes out of some bushes, sees Clayton and comes to a dead stop. Bruce animated to broadedest part of the action on 2's and then did this amazing subtle stop on 1's. It seems backwords but it really works!

Shane P said...

Hey, I have to download the latest version of flash to see your post, But yeah man thanks , I'd love to come talk in your class. When did you start? thats great !! We'll catch up.

Bill said...

Hey Matt - could you please repost the videos somewhere else? They're all gone from Metacafe. thanks!

Matt Williames said...

seriously? geeeez, stupid metacafe. I'll try and repost them from elsewhere soon! sorry guys!