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2D Character Animation
Illustration by John Hersey

Understanding anticipation


From:

2D Character Animation

with George Maestri

Video: Understanding anticipation

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.
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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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2D Character Animation
5h 50m Advanced Nov 13, 2009

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

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.

Topics include:
  • Creating character joints that really work
  • Building with the Puppet tool in After Effects
  • Understanding internal versus external forces in movement
  • Reading tracks and assigning mouth shapes for dialogue
  • Setting up a scene in both After Effects and Flash
Subjects:
3D + Animation Animation Character Animation
Author:
George Maestri

Understanding anticipation

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.

Find answers to the most frequently asked questions about 2D Character Animation.


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Q: In the chapter "Creating joints that work,” the author uses a circular point for the joints in the arm animation. Do circles need to be drawn in the joints while tracing the character, or there is another method that can be used?
A: It doesn't absolutely have to be a circle, as shown in the video. However, that method is show because it’s the easiest way to make sure the joints will rotate easily.
It’s a matter of personal preference, so use whatever method will work best for each character.
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