Animation week 3- weight and balance

We looked at animations of bouncing balls and the difference between a short mid and long period of squash at the bottom of the bounce, 4 frames is better than 1 and 6. We learnt how to animate the bouncing ball better and quicker by blocking first using clamped and stepped tangents in the animation preferences. A great help was the auto key which keys anything you move without having to press S which keys everything, but at first you must select the ball control and then highlight only the attributes you want to key, then right click on the the highlighted bit and choose ‘key selected’. Another cool trick was in the animation menu set click ‘animate’, ‘create editable motion trail’ which shows the path of the ball in the scene. I liked how you could select all the bottom keys of the curves and at the top of the graph window click ‘curves’ then ‘weighted tangents’ then click ‘tangents’, ‘free tangent weights’ and then the tangent arms could be lengthened and shortened to affect more or less of the curve near it. Better even when the tangents are broken so you could easily alter each side of a bounce separately. We looked at the dope sheet again but I can’t get much use out of it yet, click ‘window’, ‘animation editors’, dope sheet. After lunch we looked at where the centre of gravity is on people and things. Then we found people poses on the net and drew some poses and spent the rest of the time posing package man which had been modelled and rigged beforehand. I chose a muscle man and ‘the thinker’. At home I have been playing with these poses on the man trying to getting them better weighted, and also with the ball animation graph.


Happy Bouncing ball references. I looked for these on YouTube and I liked how the dog was very happy and bouncy and thought I could use his action in my animation. He wants to get up high and see what’s up there. The slow motion movies of bouncing balls show how it squashes and stretches and how it is fast near the bottom of a drop and slow at the top of a bounce. I included 2 videos which talk about how to animate a bouncing ball which were helpful too.

In Walt Stanfield’s book ‘Drawn to Life’ I read in his ‘Basics’ chapter about how considering anatomy, weight and the use of squash and stretch are used to portray realistic movements as in an example of Tigger which is a bouncy character too, and how follow through and drag are used also to create lifelike believability. (Stanfield, 2009)

(Buzzy272, 2011)


(superslowmotionvids, 2011)


(idaedheloth, 2008)


(Weinhold, 2012)


(ranjan, 2011)


(hermonir, 2008)


(DarkmaneTheWerewolf, 21 Mar 2011)


Works Cited

Stanfield, W. (2009). Drawn to Life. Oxford: Elsevier Inc.

2008, h. U. ( 2008, Dec 2). Retrieved March 19, 2013, from YouTube:

Buzzy272. (2011, Feb 19). Retrieved Mar 19, 2013, from YouTube:

DarkmaneTheWerewolf. (21 Mar 2011, 21 Mar 2011 21 Mar 2011). Retrieved March 19, 2013, from YouTube:

idaedheloth. (2008, Apr 4 ). Retrieved Apr 12, 2013, from YouTube:

ranjan, m. (2011, Sep 15). Retrieved Apr 12, 2013, from YouTube:

superslowmotionvids. (2011, Oct 16). Retrieved Apr 12, 2013, from YouTube.

Weinhold, W. (2012, Apr 29 ). Retrieved Apr 12, 2013, from YouTube:

animation week 2- Planning and Maya tools for animation and Homework

We discussed how to plan an animation, planned a bouncing ball animation, pretended to be a zombie and drew some zombie poses.

In planning you plan a character, personality traits, history, look at references,  timing- how long a move will take, spacing- space between key frames. The more you plan, the earlier you can find and correct mistakes and the easier it is.

bal planzombie

Then we covered tools for animation in Maya. The 2 main tools are the graph editor and dope sheet.

We made 6 spheres and keyed the same 3 poses for each,  then we assigned the different tangents to them and watched how the animations differed, broke and unified tangents and the saw the difference between weighted and un-weighted tangents and how they changed the curves in the graph editor in different ways.

Finally we looked at the dope sheet for the animation and discovered how to select whole objects or part there of to alter the curve in 1 piece, by selecting the parts we wanted and scaling.


I started to play with the ball rig and ended up spending the rest of the day animating the bouncing ball because it was fun. I looked at examples online and saw some good tutorials that I have included, I also saw in ‘the Animators Survival Kit’ by Richard Williams some good examples and teaching on animating a bouncing ball. I love Disney animations where things have a lot of squash and stretch.

I also played with the stuff we learnt in rendering with mental ray and had cool chrome reflective surfaces and a globe with a nature scene for the setting when I rendered the scene but we just had to playblast it so I replaced it all with plain colours. The lights were hard to get right until suddenly they were.

Anyway I started by putting key frames all along the bounce path, or translate Y, then deleted and changed the curve with the tangents, trying the different kinds but mostly breaking them and adjusting each side individually.

I had a straight line downwards for translate x so that it moves across at a steady rate. I think it might be better to slow it towards the end as the bounces get smaller.

I found the top of the curves needed to be flatter so I added more key frames there. At one stage the ball was hovering at the top of the curve so I raised the top keys a little.

The squash and stretch and rotate z were timed to change with the bottom of the bounce. I put extreme squash there and let it slowly un-squash going towards the top of the curve and re-squash towards the bottom of the next curve.

I discovered that scaling curves with the dope sheet made the keys move off the frame timing lines