Friday, January 14, 2011

Ball Jump

In an effort to sharpen my skills, I have decided to do daily animations. For 1 year, I will post something new that I have worked on. At first, they will be simple 3D animation tests. Hopefully this will be a my opportunity to try out different styles and techniques.

So I realized that when it comes to animation style, squash and stretch is a great way to RUIN an animation. People have a very sensitive pallet when it comes "amount of distortion" and how it interacts with the environment around them. They try to fix things by adjusting the "intensity of effect" that an object has on one another by increasing or decreasing the squash and stretch.

NAY! I say. This is just another form of sweeping the issues under the rug. When an object collides with another, the impact should have relevance to the rest of the scene. What is the object? How dense is the object? What is the object made of? And most importantly, what would it do if it was ACTUALLY THINKING.
A friend of mine told me a while back about a "Pixar technique". It went something like this.. When objects bounce on the ground, Pixar animators will take a single frame “squashed” for impact on the surface .. then the VERY NEXT FOLLOWING FRAME the object would be fully stretched, yet still in impact with the ground.

This sort of made sense to me. When you jump in the air, your legs technically should be fully extend before your feet finally lift off the ground. ALTHOUGH, when your dealing with inadament objects in real life, (like a ball) this would NOT be true. The object wouldn't extend itself as to reach out with the incentive of lifting off into the air because it's NOT ALIVE.

This reminds me of the Richard Williams technique for adding "impact". He would move his last key frame to touch the surface, while being at its fully "stretched" state. Looking back at this this, it can sometimes make things feel like they're being sped up un-naturally. And depending on what you are going for, this could be just what you need, but personally I feel like it's moving into the realm of cliche.

Looking back at this "Pixar technique" I feel like it has a great purpose for adding life to your animations, BUT if you over do it can distract and take attention away from what matters.. The performance. Ultimately though, you should never try to use half baked fixes for complex issues, because if you do, the same mistakes will happen over, and over again.

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