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All animators must learn to walk before they can run. In 2D Character Animation, industry expert George Maestri teaches the basic principles every animator must know to build a foundation for more complex work. These principles are relevant regardless of software used or animation style. George explains how good animation depends on a firm knowledge of the laws of motion, which inform the principles of animation. He teaches the basics of creating characters, squash and stretch, pose-to-pose animation, walking and running, track reading, and dialogue animation. He also shows how to use After Effects and Flash to apply the tools learned in the course. Exercise files accompany this course.
Anticipation is a very important principle of animation. What it is, is it's motion that precedes a main motion. So for example if you are going to throw a pitch in baseball, you would rear back before you threw forward. In fact, anticipation is just moving right before you move left or moving a little bit up before you move down and so on. Now the reason that anticipation is important is because it gives body parts more momentum. So if you reach back before you throw that baseball, you're going to get more momentum or more speed into that pitch.
Now from a dramatic standpoint, anticipation can be used to draw an audience's attention to important actions. So you can use anticipation to say look here, something is going to happen. So let's take a look at anticipation in action. Here, I have a very simple setup and this bear is going to pound his fist on the table. Now, this scene is animated without any anticipation. The bear just hits his fist directly to the table.
As you can see, there's really not that much going on. It doesn't feel like there's any force. Now in order to hit that table with force, he needs to come from much higher up. So he needs to anticipate that hit. So here we have the same scene with a little bit of anticipation. So let's go ahead and scroll through that. So as you can see, he starts with his hand in the same place, but before he moves down, he moves up and he lifts that hand up so he gets a lot of room to slam it down on the table.
Now you can also see how that can be used to draw attention to the fact that he's pounding on that table. Because when his hand is moving up, the eyes of the audience will be looking at that part of his body that's moving. Now, here I have something that's animated pretty much the same but with a little bit more force. So what we do is we hit it down a little bit harder, use his whole body. In fact, we are anticipating with his body. Let's scroll through this.
So as he comes up, he also leans back. So the point of this is that anticipation not only happens just within the joint. It also happens within the body. This is very important. You need to animate the entire body and the entire character, not just one joint at a time. Now, for added effect when he slams down, we did a little bit of overshoot so we actually hit a little bit further. I squashed the table and then just kind of brought it back.
So this gives a lot more force, and that's because of the squashing of the table. So let's take a look at that again. So you can see how he hits that with a lot of force. Now, anticipation can be used for a number of other things. Here's another example. This is the classic cartoon dash off. It's almost like what Snagglepuss would do, where you anticipate and then you zip off. Now, let's go through this and see how this works.
Now, what we do is we actually have a very slow animation into this anticipation. And once we're in this pose we can kind of hold it for as long as we want. Now, we can either just immediately go into the action or we can hang there for quite a while, because this is a fairly stable pose. And by making this pose, what it does is it draws the audience's attention to the character. They know something is going to happen. And so when he actually zips off, their eyes are on him.
If he zipped off very quickly without the anticipation, it would almost look like he's disappearing, because the audience wouldn't have time to look at the character before he zips off. So what I have is I have this almost 20 frames into that anticipation and then he goes off in about 3 or 4 frames. So as you can see anticipation is very important. In one respect it's a natural part of motion. In order to get up enough momentum and enough speed to do certain things, we need to anticipate them.
We need to rear back before we throw the baseball, for example. On the other level, it's a great dramatic device. What it does is it actually allows you to direct the eyes of the audience. So by anticipating an action, the audience will have their eyes on the character when the actual action occurs. So anticipation is important for two reasons. One is to create natural motion, and two is to direct the audience's eye to that motion.
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