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Animating overlap and follow-through

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Animating overlap and follow-through

Overlap, follow-through and drag play a big part in almost every type of character animation you are going to do. Even something as simple as moving a character's arm will have a lot of overlap, follow-through and drag. Let me show you what I mean. Here I have a simple character and I have animated her arm raising up and down over the course of about 20 frames. Now as you can see, the arm is moving, but all I have done is I have rotated the arm at the shoulder. I really haven't included the other joints of the arm.

Animating overlap and follow-through

Overlap, follow-through and drag play a big part in almost every type of character animation you are going to do. Even something as simple as moving a character's arm will have a lot of overlap, follow-through and drag. Let me show you what I mean. Here I have a simple character and I have animated her arm raising up and down over the course of about 20 frames. Now as you can see, the arm is moving, but all I have done is I have rotated the arm at the shoulder. I really haven't included the other joints of the arm.

And when I do this, it looks very mechanical. It doesn't look natural at all. Let me play it one more time. You can see how the arm looks really stiff. In order to give this more fluidity, we need to start animating the joints of the arm and incorporating some overlap, follow-through and drag. So, let's go ahead and focus on her forearm. Now as it raises up, this arm is actually going to be fairly stiff because remember the elbow does not bend back too far at all.

So, if I bend the elbow back like this, it would be very unnatural. So, what I am going to do is I am going to keep the arm stiff until she gets up to the top of her shoulder rotation, which is at frame 10. Now as she lowers the arm, this forearm is going to want to stay in place. So, it is going to drag behind. So, I am going to keep that dragging about a few frames, so I am going to go here to about frame 13, and so now you can see the arm breaks because we are having some drag here and we can even drag it behind even a little bit further and then as she relaxes her arm, this will actually drag behind.

So, this isn't going to settle until a few frames after her shoulder stops. So, her shoulder stops at frame 20. I am going to go two frames forward to that and then just settle in her forearm. So, now I'd get something like this and this is actually a much more fluid motion. But this is only one of two joints in the arm. We've got the elbow but we are still neglecting the wrist. So, let's go ahead and animate the wrist as well.

So, all I need to do is as her arm comes up, we are going to actually create drag, because this wrist actually will bend down, and we can actually drag this behind. So, I am actually going to drop her wrist down. So, now as she moves up, you can see already we are getting a much better motion. So, as it bends up, we can do this and then as it comes down, again it's going to drag behind. So, it's actually going to kind of flip up like that.

So, now we have this motion and we can even accentuate that a little bit more. Now, notice how we are getting a nice kind of an arc just in this arm itself. If you actually drew the arm as an arc you are almost getting it like a blade of grass blowing in the wind or something like that and again this just shows how arcs play a role in animation and this is also what's called a line of action and the line of action plays a big part as well. So now, as this wrist settles in, again we want to settle it in just a little bit later than when the arm settles in.

And I am actually going to push that back to about frame 23 or 24 and now [00:03:32.4 4] we have something that looks a little bit like this. Now you can see that gives a much better sense of motion. But we still have to consider the character's weight and balance, because when the arm is straight out like this, we have a very heavy weight out here trying to pull the character to her right. So, in order to compensate for that, she kind of needs to lean to her left in order to balance out.

So, when you put the system out of balance, the whole system needs to readjust to stay in balance. So, I am actually going to take her torso or her shirt and I am going to animate that to give her a better sense of balance. So, as she comes up and has her maximum extension at frame 10, I am actually going to rotate her a little bit to the side here and that's just to give her a sense of balance. So, now I am getting her entire body into the animation and it's looking a lot more natural.

And again as she comes back down, I am going to settle her body back into a more normal position. Now, as the body comes up like this, we also have another pendulum here. We have the other arm and the other arm if it's relaxed is actually going to act like a pendulum. So, let me go ahead and animate that as well. So, we are going to take the left arm and I am going to animate a little bit of rotation here as well. So, as it comes down, this is actually going to rotate out, just again, just to stay fairly vertical.

So, now we have got, she is going out and then coming back again. So, now the animation is complete. We have not only added follow-through and drag to create realistic arm motion. We have also shifted her weight a bit to create a realistic sense of balance. So, let me play this one more time. So, as you animate your characters, pay attention to drag, follow-through. Try and get a wave action in your arms and also pay attention to your character's balance.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for 2D Character Animation
2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 22057 viewers

George Maestri
Author

 
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  1. 2m 18s
    1. Introduction
      1m 2s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 16s
  2. 48m 21s
    1. Designing characters
      3m 22s
    2. Tracing characters
      4m 32s
    3. Creating joints that work
      3m 53s
    4. Working with outlines
      4m 0s
    5. Accessorizing your characters
      2m 21s
    6. Creating parts for replacement animation
      1m 41s
    7. Rigging hierarchies in After Effects
      5m 33s
    8. Rigging replacement animation in After Effects
      5m 52s
    9. Rigging with the Puppet tool in After Effects
      3m 16s
    10. Rigging Flash characters
      5m 50s
    11. Rigging replacement animation in Flash
      4m 25s
    12. Rigging with the Bone tool in Flash
      3m 36s
  3. 55m 29s
    1. The first law of motion
      3m 3s
    2. The second law of motion
      3m 45s
    3. The third law of motion
      3m 19s
    4. Using slow in and slow out
      5m 34s
    5. Arcs and smooth motion
      5m 4s
    6. Understanding overlap and follow-through
      5m 16s
    7. Animating overlap and follow-through
      5m 46s
    8. Understanding squash and stretch
      3m 10s
    9. Animating squash and stretch
      4m 40s
    10. Squashing and stretching characters
      5m 16s
    11. Understanding weight
      3m 27s
    12. Understanding anticipation
      4m 54s
    13. Animating anticipation and weight
      2m 15s
  4. 45m 50s
    1. Internal vs. external forces
      4m 45s
    2. Bringing characters to life
      4m 57s
    3. Animating blinks
      4m 37s
    4. Animating changes in eye direction
      2m 43s
    5. Animating head turns
      8m 1s
    6. Creating a strong line of action
      4m 16s
    7. Creating strong silhouettes
      2m 19s
    8. Pose-to-pose animation: Blocking
      4m 32s
    9. Pose-to-pose animation: Animating
      4m 21s
    10. Pose-to-pose animation: Finalizing
      5m 19s
  5. 46m 53s
    1. A walk in four poses
      2m 27s
    2. Motion of the head and body
      1m 32s
    3. Walk cycles and backgrounds
      1m 40s
    4. Skeleton motion and walking
      4m 2s
    5. Animating a walk: Contact position
      3m 0s
    6. Animating a walk: The feet
      9m 10s
    7. Animating a walk: The body
      5m 19s
    8. Animating a walk: The legs
      8m 21s
    9. Animating a walk: The upper body and arms
      3m 46s
    10. Animating a walk: The head
      2m 50s
    11. Animating a walk: Squash and stretch
      4m 46s
  6. 26m 52s
    1. A run in four poses
      4m 10s
    2. Animating a run: First pose
      4m 39s
    3. Animating a run: Second pose
      3m 45s
    4. Animating a run: Third pose
      3m 27s
    5. Animating a run: Fourth pose
      5m 1s
    6. Animating a run: Upper body
      5m 50s
  7. 37m 6s
    1. The basics of dialogue animation
      4m 35s
    2. Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes
      5m 33s
    3. Phonemes and lip-syncing
      8m 36s
    4. Animating dialogue: Animating the body
      6m 27s
    5. Animating dialogue: Assigning mouth shapes
      4m 10s
    6. Animating dialogue: Finalizing
      7m 45s
  8. 1h 27m
    1. Animating a scene
      2m 0s
    2. Setting up the scene in After Effects
      3m 2s
    3. Animating the feet in After Effects
      10m 40s
    4. Animating the legs in After Effects
      4m 21s
    5. Animating the upper body in After Effects
      9m 44s
    6. Animating the mouth and blinks in After Effects
      7m 5s
    7. Setting up the scene in Flash
      4m 6s
    8. Animating the feet in Flash
      9m 0s
    9. Animating the body in Flash
      5m 23s
    10. Animating the legs in Flash
      7m 24s
    11. Animating the hands in Flash
      11m 54s
    12. Animating the mouth in Flash
      12m 26s
  9. 33s
    1. Goodbye
      33s

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