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Bringing characters to life

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Bringing characters to life

Let's look at how internal versus external forces bring a character to life. Here I have a simple situation where I have a character on a hoverboard, or basically a platform that moves left and right. In fact, I've already animated this. So what I have here is just a simple animation that goes back and forth. 24 frames to the right, 24 frame to the left for a total of 48 frames. Now, because he is on this platform and he is in motion, he will be subjected to some force.

Bringing characters to life

Let's look at how internal versus external forces bring a character to life. Here I have a simple situation where I have a character on a hoverboard, or basically a platform that moves left and right. In fact, I've already animated this. So what I have here is just a simple animation that goes back and forth. 24 frames to the right, 24 frame to the left for a total of 48 frames. Now, because he is on this platform and he is in motion, he will be subjected to some force.

So let's go ahead and take care of the external forces first and then we'll worry about the internal forces. Now, as the character moves from right to left, he is going to want to drag back. It's very much like the pendulum that we saw. He is going to want to stay in place. So his body is going to behave almost like an upside-down pendulum. So let's go ahead and animate that motion first. I'm going to go ahead and turn off his legs, so that way we can concentrate a little bit more on his body.

So, I'm going to go ahead and grab his body and we're going to start animating this. So the first thing I want to do is just go ahead and keep him in place at frame 0 and then as he moves to the right, he is going to basically rotate back and his body is going to move back and down, just a little bit. Now again, this is just stimulating that pendulum motion. So he moves back and down, then he is going to straighten up by the time he hits the last frame of this and he is going to again be pushed the other direction.

So again, I am going to rotate him forward and drop him down and forward just a bit and then I'm going to go ahead and cycle this at the very end. So now I have this basic motion. So you can see how it's fairly realistic. In fact, I've gone ahead and just added in the legs and let's just go ahead and see how this looks. So now he looks kind of like a pendulum, very simple.

But there are some additional joints of this body that need animating. For example, his arms, if they are not under muscular control, they are again going to behave much like a pendulum. So as he moves forward, his arms are going to want to stay in place and so again we have that pendulum action and his hands are going to kind of rotate back and then they are going to settle in again and again they are going to rotate forward.

So now we have an action kind of like this. Again, we're getting this secondary action of the character. In fact, let me go ahead and show you what this looks like. So now we've got the character animating back and forth. Now, with this animation it looks very realistic but the character does not look the least bit alive. He looks like a rag doll being pushed around. That's because this is all external forces. There is nothing from inside the character making him move.

So let's go ahead and fix that. So as he comes forward, let's go ahead and make him a little cautious about where he is going. First thing I'm going to do is I'm going to turn off those legs again, because I don't want them to get in the way here and now I'm going to lean him forward, because he is actually being pushed back, but he is going to resist this. So somewhere around frame 12, I'm going take his body, I'm going to bend the knees a little bit by just bringing the body down and then rotate him forward, because he is really not wanting to go in that direction and then I'm going to take the hands and the arms and move them forward as well, almost like he is kind of putting his hands out to stop himself.

So I am going to put these hands out and put this arm out as well. So again, we are moving him against the force that he is being subjected to. So what I want to do is get a pose that is somewhat like this. So once I get this pose, you can see now he has a very strong sense of motion and as we animate this, you can see now just by adding in that one little pose, all of a sudden he really comes to life.

So we had a character who has being pushed around like a rag doll and then just by putting in some internal forces, he is automatically sprung to life and the whole animation together looks very realistic. So by creating a balance between the external and internal forces acting upon your character, you can really bring your character to life and create some very realistic animation.

Show transcript

This video is part of

Image for 2D Character Animation
2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 21957 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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