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Understanding squash and stretch

From: 2D Character Animation

Video: Understanding squash and stretch

Another very important animation principle is called squash and stretch. Now what's squash and stretch does is provides the illusion of weight, that your character has mass, and it can make characters look a lot more elastic or rubbery or cartoony if used to extreme. Now there are several ways to create squash and stretch. The first one is to squash the joints. In other words bend the knees, hunch over the spine so that the character looks a little bit more squashed and then straighten everything out to stretch them and this will give a very natural illusion of weight.

Understanding squash and stretch

Another very important animation principle is called squash and stretch. Now what's squash and stretch does is provides the illusion of weight, that your character has mass, and it can make characters look a lot more elastic or rubbery or cartoony if used to extreme. Now there are several ways to create squash and stretch. The first one is to squash the joints. In other words bend the knees, hunch over the spine so that the character looks a little bit more squashed and then straighten everything out to stretch them and this will give a very natural illusion of weight.

If you want to go a little bit more extreme or a little bit more cartoony, you can also squash the shape. Now doing this creates much more of an elastic or rubbery effect to your characters and really what you are doing is you are actually altering the shape of your character. Now when you squash the shape, you need to make sure you maintain volume. In other words, don't try and shrink or grow the volume of your character. If you do that, you will lose the illusion of mass and volume. So let's take a look at how to do squash and stretch on this simple sphere.

Now, if we want to stretch something, we can actually just scale it. Now, if I want to, I could scale this vertically. But as I do you can see that it actually increases in volume. If I scale it this way, then I also need to scale it in the opposite direction to maintain volume. So let me show you how that works in animation. As you can see now this looks like it's being stretched. Now, if we go in the opposite direction, again the same thing applies, that if you scale something down in this direction, you need to stretch it in the opposite direction to create that sort of squash.

So let me go ahead and play that. So you can see how this ball seams to maintain the same volume. Now the same thing applies to a character. If I wanted to squash and stretch his character, I can do it just by altering his shape or his volume. So for example, if I brought him up this way to stretch him, I would have to bring him down this way to kind of squash him in that direction, or the opposite, which would be to, if I squashed him down, then I would have to squash him out that way as well.

Now another way to squash and stretch a character is to just move the joints of the character or to actually just naturally deform a character. Now, I have done this just by bending this character over. By doing this, what I have done is I have created a kind of a squash. I have actually made his volume more compact and tight simply by bending his knees and arching over his spine and tucking his head in. It's almost like how somebody does a somersault and they tuck their knees into their chest. That's kind of a squash.

So the combination of doing a squash through volume change or shape change and by animating the joints can give you a very good squash and stretch.

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This video is part of

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2D Character Animation

73 video lessons · 22113 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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