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Squashing and stretching characters

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Squashing and stretching characters

Now let's go ahead and animate a character using squash and stretch. Here I have a very simple situation where a character is on a moving platform that's moving up and then down. Now this will create squash and stretch for your character. Now this animation is set so it moves up 8 frames, holds for 8 frames and then moves down for another 8 frames. So we are going to animate squash and stretch in two passes. The first pass is to actually animate the joints of the body to create squash and stretch and then we are going to animate the volume or the shape of the character to create a little bit more of a cartoony sort of action.

Squashing and stretching characters

Now let's go ahead and animate a character using squash and stretch. Here I have a very simple situation where a character is on a moving platform that's moving up and then down. Now this will create squash and stretch for your character. Now this animation is set so it moves up 8 frames, holds for 8 frames and then moves down for another 8 frames. So we are going to animate squash and stretch in two passes. The first pass is to actually animate the joints of the body to create squash and stretch and then we are going to animate the volume or the shape of the character to create a little bit more of a cartoony sort of action.

So the first thing I want to do is to just turn off the legs of the character because I really want to deal with just the mass of the body and how that body is going to move to create squash and stretch. So as this character moves up, the body is going to want to drag behind. It's going to want to stay in place. It's not going to want to move. So as this is pushed up, the body itself is going to want to move down. So it's going to want to stay in place.

So we have got the body, the feet, and the floor are moving up, but the body itself is wanting to stay in place. And then as it gets to the top, again we have got the body wanting to stay in motion. So it's actually going to overshoot the final position. So it's going to take a while to catch up to the motion of the platform, and settle in, and the same for when it moves down. At frame 16, when it moves down, we have got the character in a solid position and then as it moves down, he is going to want to stay up, and he is going to stretch out, and then again as he settles in, he is going to go back to his normal position.

So now I have added the legs in and let me show you what that looks like. So as you can see, he is getting a nice squash in his knees. Because the body wants to stay where it is, the mass of the body is moving down. So the knees have to bend to accommodate this and now we have a squash. The same on the opposite side, but not as much, because the legs actually kind of max out here when it comes back down. Now, I can add a little bit more squash and stretch to this by working with a couple of other parts.

I can actually play with the head a little bit. So let me go ahead and do that. So as he is pushed up, again his head wants to stay in position. So I can squash that head down and then when it comes up, the head is going to overshoot. So now I have got the head squashing down and then coming back up, and then as he comes down, again we are going to stretch out the head as well. We are actually going to push that head up a little bit, try to get as much of a stretch as possible.

Now we can get even more squash and stretch by actually squashing and stretching the volume of the character. So as he moves up, I am going to widen him out and squash him down. So now, he is getting pushed like this. Now, he seems to be increasing the volume a little bit. So I am going to squash him down a little bit more. Here we go. Then as he gets to the top here, he is going to overshoot this.

He is actually going to stretch a bit, and he is going to go a little higher. So now, he comes up like this and then he is going to actually settle down to normal. So now, we have got him kind of squashing up and then stretching down. The same is going to happen when he is on the return trip. He is actually going to stretch. He goes stretch, squash in this way. So now we have got him squashing down, overshooting, and stretching.

So let me show you the final version of this animation. So you can see how he squashes and stretches, and it gives a much better sense of motion. So let me scrub through this just a little bit so you can see how this works. So as he moves up, his whole body squashes down. His head kind of goes into his shoulders, and then when the platform stops, everything overshoots and settles in including the hat. Notice how the hat is actually leaving the head as well.

And then when the elevator moves down, again he wants to stay in place. So he stretches out and comes back down. So let's take one more look at this. So you can see how squash and stretch gives a much better sense of volume, life, and elasticity to your characters. So be sure to animate your characters with lots of squash and stretch, including bending the knees and adding a little bit of squash and stretch to the shape and volume of your character.

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This video is part of

Image for 2D Character Animation
2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 22303 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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