My Animation Corner

I will be posting some of my animation practices that I will take using the resources that have been provided throughout these forums. Please beat me down or bully me with your criticisms, I wont learn anything otherwise.

Starting with the bouncing ball animation:

@sumit_makwana Well it looks actually very nice for a first try. However I think there’s a small issue with how your ball deccelerates towards the top at every bounce; it looks like it’s staying there more time (frames) than it has to. So I downloaded the video to see what could be improved, and I just managed to make a correction to the first 10 frames, the rest follows the same idea.

I noticed you animated and exported the bouncing ball using 12fps, and if you try to make it 24fps, youll notice it looks proper, so the exmaples are in both 12 fps and 24 fps.

My main problem after analysis, was the spacing -the distance between each drawing- and how the drawings were placed at every frame. I’m not saying the drawigns are wrong, but the position where they occupy are not helping you to fully convey the idea of a bouncing ball.

What I did was to try to replicate within the same 10 frames a similar bouncing motion. Depending on the material and the height of the ball it will go faster, or slower, and jump more, or less. This is one of the first things you have to take into account, and look at real life reference. Is it a tennis ball? is it a ping-pong ball? is it a bowling ball? Those are questions you have to answer before making the first line.

The following is just ONE example of what can be accomplished in the same time, with different spacing (distance between drawings) and timing (in which frames the drawings appear and are held)

12 FPS

12FPS No Chart

24 FPS

24FPS No Chart

If you notice your original excercise it’s spacing seems like it’s more going for “thirds” than halves when coming down. And when the ball goes up there is one wasted frame to the top where it tries to slow out but it’s already at it’s maximum height, so it appears as if it was a held drawing (that means it appears floating for 1 more frame)

In my example I used the last frames to cushion-out or slow-out the ball, because gravity is pulling it down. However when falling I tried to give it a “contact” drawing so there would be more change when the ball squashes against the floor.

All of this is kind of difficult to explain in text, but i would have taken at least 2 hous in video to explain this properly, sorry.

Bottom line before you create an animation try to see how much time you need to show the motion on screen. Then breakdown which drawings are your most important drawings, your keys, then create your important inbetweens, also called breakdowns, and so on. Be careful with how your drawings move from one point in space to the next.

For example moving the ball great distances between only two frames can look like an act of teleportation. But moving the same ball between the same two frames for only a fraction of that distance may make it look possible and not choppy or instantaneous.

Usually it is good to try to animate a motion with a frame limit to try to become more creative, but at first try to animate complete movements with as many frames as you need to according to a real life reference. After that you can then work to stylize the movement and you’ll have both knowledge of fluid motion and “snappy” cartoon motion.

Apologies if my explanations lacks clarity.

@sumit_makwana I also suggest getting the free quicktime player since you can preview frame by frame videos you download using your arrow keys.

Here are the links to the youtube videos so you can see them with your computer:

@Jose Moreno Thank you for the reply, it seems to me the first squash itself determined the remainder of my animation. I see what you’re trying to convey and I will remember when I’m doing this exercise again.

As far as the fps is concerned, I myself chose to render them at 12 over 24 because it actually showed the speed of my animation. 24 fps was doubling the speed, and seemed to be fast rather than accurate, although fluid but felt more like gimmicking my way out of the rather inaccurate animation.

Back to the animation, I should’ve taken something for reference. I think now the problem would me trying to animate from scratch(memory), which I forgot about. I wasn’t even looking at any tutorials while doing the animations, that’s another mistake. And my drawing skills are still so low, cant even do proper circles. Sigh.

Thank you again, and will work on the next exercises.

Btw, how do I tag people in this forum, like how you did to my name? I just inserted a link to your profile with your name as the text to be appearing.

PS: 50+ exercises is one long list, but I want to complete them all :smiley:

@sumit_makwana Hehe I know what you mean. I only included the 24 fps one because when you work for broadcast most of the time you do it at 24, so if you want it to feel like 12 fps you have to work with double exposures (holding each drawing an additional frame)

It is always important to have reference, every professional animator starts with reference. All of them. Unless you’re Richard Williams, no wait, even he acts the motions and observes nature. So yeah, it’s important :slight_smile:

Regarding the drawings, don’t stop yourself because of that. Make a circle in a vector program, and move it with pencil’s selection & move tool.

Right now although drawing has a particular importance in classical animation, Is more important that you learn how movement is communicated through drawings. While you do that you can also work on your drawing skills. So don’t worry about those things.

To tag people in this forum you write the “@” symbol and then you write the username (not the display name) for example my username is “morr” and my display name is “Jose”.

to know the username just go to the avatar display name, and on the web adress you’ll see something like this:

Which is the address to my profile. The part after “members” is the one you need.

Keep up the great work!

I just worked on the second exercise of a bouncing ball across the screen. I wanted to work more on the spacing and timing, so I didn’t work on any squash or stretches, think of it as a ping-pong ball. I hope it feels the same.

I know the start may be a little bit off, but I cant seem to figure out what I must do there, so I left it as I felt it looked best.

Please Criticize!!!


I believe that the key ingredient to animation aside from aesthetics or drawing skill is in the method & the planning. Milt Kahl, legendary Disney Animator, was said to tell others that he didn’t always manage to enjoy animating, because by the time he had finished planning the work basically his shot was already animated. This is not an exaggeration. The more work you put into planning, the less re-takes you’ll have to do, and the elss mistakes you’ll have to fix. Of course, this sounds like an obvious thing, but the problem is that animation is hyper-sensitive regarding planning. Redrawing a whole cut can be quite expensive and time consuming if nothing is certain.

From this exercise you submitted I’m concerned, as a teacher, that you might not be following any particular method, and even more, that you might be developing habits that won’t be necessarily healthy in the future. Of course I’m not saying that you are doing it on purpose, in fact I think you might not be aware of this, but such are the dangers of being self-taught in such a difficult field.

Nevertheless there is no “best” way to do animation “right”, but there sure are general work principles & methods to get things done with (hopefully) the most efficiency. I’m not talking about the principles of animation, although these too are helpful to use as a checklist.

The bouncing ball, in all it’s variants, is one of the most complete exercises to determine a proper understanding of weight and simulated motion.

Now onto your exercise:

The first thing I noticed after analyzing the animation is that your path of action seems all wonky and does not resemble the trajectory of a bouncing ball, particularly that of a ping pong ball.

Even with my crude outline of it’s trajectory, I pretty sure I just have a margin or error ~0.3mm to ~0.5mm from the center of mass of the ball drawn each frame, and despite that, the arcs the ball follows are not properly spaced or shaped (the crossed lines represent the frames, similar to a timing chart).

If you look at proper reference for bouncing balls (physically accurate energy loss bounces) you can see the trajectories often resemble “hills”, not “peaks”. Sometimes they might be “tall hills”, but never pointy or straight at their sides.

(This is just a “model graph” example of bouncing ball energy loss)

From here the problem begins to snowball, because if the trajectory isn’t properly planned out, frames can’t be properly placed.

You must also invest time into researching what physic principles are applied into the motion that you are representing. We are indeed portraying our perception of reality, but we can’t do this without a solid understanding of the laws of nature (Classic Mechanics will suffice).

I can see you are applying the knowledge of the slow-in & slow-out on the maximum height for each bounce, that’s good, but some frames seem to be drawn without no solid reason backing their placement. That’s why the motion seems to vary in speed at odd intervals.

Sorry if my tone seems harsh, by all means I’m not trying to be mean here :slight_smile: although this could be really long, and to be honest is almost 6 am in the morning and I haven’t slept. So before I go further, tell me what learning resources are you following exactly? and I’m not talking about the exercises page. I’m talking about which books or videos are you looking at to learn. Because that would be directly affecting your development and my response might be longer or shorter according to that.

@morr Thank you for the response. And I appreciate harshness, hence I asked to be criticized :smiley:

Anyways, regarding the bouncing arc, well, I guess I see the problem. I drew a rough shabby arc for the ball to follow through, I guess it finally came to bite me :frowning:

As far as resources goes, I’m mostly going through anything I could find regarding animation or the particular exercise. The first book I purchased was to improve my drawing skills, Keys to Drawing by Bert Dodson, and I still haven’t completed that but I feel I can do some kind of drawing atleast. And I am halfway through it. And I have watched some animation tutorials by Aaron Blaise too. I feel this is what I would expect from having low knowledge on animation.

My current plans are to get the Animators Survival Kit and also the Complete Animation Course as soon as possible. Thanks to one of the posts you created, I found access to even more resources. Most, or every book that I need needs to be imported to my country, which has ridiculously increased the cost, but I m willing to bear it, it will just take time :slight_smile:

So by the time I get that, I thought it would be time to atleast start some animation. You can see I am starting from zero experience here, so like these are all my first tries in animation.

@sumit_makwana I see, Keys to drawing is a great book for observational and to draw from imagination. I think it’s a good book to begin with for drawing, however later on you should look into The Vilppu Manual of drawing which deals with the human figure from a method that he implemented (and most animators follow nowadays) to draw the human figure.

Regarding animation. Please DON’T purchase every book there is about animation just yet. Purchase one or two and study them thoroughly until you’ve mastered their contents before jumping to the next. At this moment in time, I’d suggest getting Preston Blair’s book and Richard William’s book. If money is of essence Survival Kit is the way to go.

The first one is geared towards drawing for animation, particularly construction drawing for cartoons, but this knowledge is applicable to all drawing styles that are used for animation, everywhere, believe it or not. The second half of the book leans towards understanding core principles of animation from a hands-on perspective, from rythm to gesture to timing, dialogue and more.

The Animated Survival Kit, is a great book but is not as “introductory” as one might want. You have to read it with utmost concentration particularly because the basic steps and methods are implied within the first 60 pages (along with some attempt of Disney’s history of animation and motivational speeches). The working method outlined in that book is the one that most animators use today, either having a traditional or CGI approach. The rest of the book is about how to create all types of walks, which will allow you to understand many of the principles of animation through a hands-on approach as well.

The complete animation course from Aaron Blaise has a great review of the principles of animation, however I think it makes some assumptions on the viewer’s knowledge of animation, so to me, you’d still have to kind of know already what these principles are before watching those videos so the knowledge can thoroughly “sink” in your system. The strength of that course is that it allows you to watch him animate a walk, a run and his approach to dialogue scene, which truthfully almost no other animator exemplifies. Ever.

If you’re short on cash I’d suggest first watching these introductory videos to the principles of animation by Alan Becker, which, in my opinion, completely solve the need for understanding them,

In order to squeeze the book’s potential I suggest you have a look at these other videos in youtube.

Please Watch this TED explanation on Timing & Spacing.

Also Watch this explanation on keyframes, breakdowns & inbetweens by Richar William’s son, Alexander Williams, who’s an animator in his own right.

Also watch this 30 minute lecture from Animation Powerhouse on Timing & Spacing

With this working through the book will be much more satisfying than just jumping right in.

@morr Thank You so much for the video links. Apart from Alan Beckers video, I haven’t watched any of those. I will be studying a bit before doing the next exercise.

The brick falling from shelf was a bit difficult to do. The change in weight of the object made me cringe myself. But I pulled it off… somehow. I don’t want to pull my hair now. LoL… anyways, please look at the video and help me, I have a feeling something might be off, but cant quite notice it yet. CRITICIZE ME!!

This is my try at doing a head turn with anticipation. @morr if possible, could you please say what it lacks? I couldn’t identify what the anticipation should be for a head turn, so I made the eyes move first and then turned the head. Even added some text to give it some depth.

PS: I know my lines are shabby, I’m working on it.


@sumit_makwana I’ve seen your message, but I’m a bit busy this week. Please give me some time to review it. Judging after a quick glance, I’ll say you need to create the breakdown (the first inbetween) pose by following an arc. Also in the future you could make a gif and post it directly so it will loop. that was we don’t have to re-play it on youtube many times to see it’s fault. I made a new tutorial to create GIF’s here:

Ahh, this is way better… it was a pain for me to upload stuff on youtube. But Gif works well for some short stuffs like this.

I like your idea and enthusiasm about learning animation. Trust me, if you keep doing simple things like this you will be the one to look for some inspiration…

About the animation of the brick, I think the brick has its own life, and should behave as it is, a piece of matter. When it reaches the ground it seems to “walk” by its own a few steps forward of the place it first reached. :slight_smile:

Keep animating!

BIG, BIG THANKS @morr for this video!

I was really straggling to get any kind of video here, and didn’t like the idea of adding them to Youtube and coming back here.

Glad you knew how to do this, in an easier manner!

Voted up to your explanation :slight_smile:

@kaiko Thanks for reply on the brick falling. What you noticed about the brick moving ahead a bit after hitting the ground was intentional. Watch this video:

I took the second fall as reference where the brick does move a bit ahead after hitting the ground.

Btw, is it ok if I tag you in my future posts for my animations? I would appreciate the insight from as many people as possible.

Of course you can tag me in your future posts for your animations.

And, now let us move to your brick :slight_smile:

I have noticed that you took the falling of the brick and the hitting of the brick as your main reference. Still, there was something “wrong” that caught my attention within the last part of your animation. It was not natural…

And here is what I learned:

If you just watched the video as it is, as a video, in youtube for instance, you are most likely to be tricked by the last part of the “walking brick” where it appears to be moving as you did in your animation, but using a video-player capability, watching frame-by-frame, you will be more accurate about your animation

Doing so you may realize that what you have done was a brick with a simple movement to the right, just straight forward… The video you use as reference shows the brick reacting to the flour, subtle, moving “slightly” in different directions up and down while hitting the flour with its corners/sides, trying to gain an horizontal position of balance, and “walking” to the right while loosing speed

That is what an animation is all about

Check it

I may be wrong but try animating it again and see what emotions it will bring back to you at the end


@kaiko Actually, I had done exactly that at the first try, but I wasn’t able to pull it off properly. So I changed it a bit to the one I have shared. But just to clear even my own doubts, I re-did the frames after the brick fell down and here is the result. I have a felling that some positioning might be off, but cant seem to figure out what. Any help is appreciated.

I can feel it is better now. I think it brings a better illusion now.
About some positions being off, I would just let the ground to do its job, I mean a ground with some small stones here and there will help you on that?..

I do not feel comfortable working with Pencil2D right now, too many small issues for me. So in the future I will help you trying to animate the same animation of yours but with my own ideas. Maybe it will help you in some way