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Animating squash and stretch

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Animating squash and stretch

Squash and stretch is great for adding a little bit of life and interest to animation. Now, what's great for character animation that you can also use it for motion graphics or a lot of other types of animation. So let's take a look at how to animate squash and stretch using a simple ball. Now I have got this ball bouncing on the ground. Now let me just play the animation. Now when I scrub through the animation, you will see I have animated this 8 frames down, 8 frames up and 8 frames back down again for a total of 24 frames.

Animating squash and stretch

Squash and stretch is great for adding a little bit of life and interest to animation. Now, what's great for character animation that you can also use it for motion graphics or a lot of other types of animation. So let's take a look at how to animate squash and stretch using a simple ball. Now I have got this ball bouncing on the ground. Now let me just play the animation. Now when I scrub through the animation, you will see I have animated this 8 frames down, 8 frames up and 8 frames back down again for a total of 24 frames.

Now when it hits, we don't have much squash and stretch, so the ball looks very very rigid and solid. If we want to give a little bit more elasticity, we are going to have to squash and stretch. So what I want to do is just go down to this point where it hits on frame 8 and just use my scaling commands to scale this ball. So I am going to stretch it out and squash it down and then I am also going to move that ball down so that it contacts the ground. Now if all I did was animate the squash, I really would not have much of an animation.

In fact let me go ahead and play this. So when I do this, you can see the ball is squashing before it hits the ground but what is really causing that ball to squash? Well, it's the impact with the ground and what's happening is all of the atoms and all the mass of this ball is still wanting to go down. Again Newton's Laws of Motion, an object in motion wants to stay in motion. But the floor and the skin of the ball are preventing that from going down.

So it squashes out. So if we go one frame before, then the ball hasn't impacted the floor and it hasn't had anything to create that squash. So at this frame, you want to create the opposite, which is a stretch. So what I am going to do is scale this down and scale it long so I have a little bit of a stretch and then the other thing I am going to do is I am going to rotate this so that it's pointing at that impact point.

So now what I have done is I have created some contrast. So here the ball is stretched out. You are going from a very elongated stretch frame to a squashed frame immediately after and this sort of contrast will create a very good sense of impact. If you are in_between this, you would not really get that sense of solidity and impact with the floor. As this ball takes off, again it's going to stretch. It's not going to squash. All of this matter still wants to stay on the ground but then again its momentum is pushing it this way.

So we are going to stretch it and rotate it so it points to the point where it was. So now I have got squash, stretch and this gives a much better sense of motion. So let's go ahead and play the full version of this. You can see how this gives a much better sense of bounciness to the ball. Now this works just as well for character animation. In fact, the shape of this ball is very similar to the shape a character would take if he is leaping on the ground and recoiling.

So let's take a look at that. Here we have the ball superimposed over a character who is going through pretty much the same motion. The character is falling, hitting the ground and leaping up. So as you can see as the character goes towards the ground, we stretch him out. So at frame 7, he is stretched out pretty much like the ball is stretched out. Then when he hits on frame 8, we have completely squashed him. Now we have squashed his joints to give him a sense of physical motion and we have also squashed his volume a little bit just to give a little bit more impact.

And then as he takes off, he stretches out again, goes back to a normal position and again stretches and hits the ground. So let me go ahead and play that in real time and you can see it pretty much follows a bouncing ball. So let's go ahead and turn off the ball over here and just show the character and you see we get a very nice motion of this character, very bouncy, squashy, stretchy motion. So remember, as you animate your characters be sure to squash and stretch the volume of your character much like you would squash and stretch a ball.

This will give your character a lot more life and add vibrancy to your animation.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for 2D Character Animation
2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 22943 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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