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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.
Weight is very important in animation. All of your characters will have weight and every object in your scene will have weight. Now, the only way that we can weigh weight in an animated scene is by moving the object. How an object moves determines its weight. Another principle is that weight is relative to other objects, so sometimes we'll only know that one thing is heavier than the other by how they interact.
Let me show you an example. Here we have two objects on the end of a teeter-totter. Now, the only way we know how much they weigh is by putting things in motion. So, now we know that the blue ball is heavier than the green one. Now, the weight of the ball is really just relative. All we know is that one is heavier than the other. Here is another scene. Here we have an 8-ball and then kind of an unspecified ball.
We don't really know whether it's light or heavy. The only way we know is through how they interact. So, in this case the orange ball is lighter than the 8-ball. The only thing that tells us this is by how it moves. Here I have exact same setup with another animation. Now, in this case, you can see that the orange ball is a lot heavier than the 8-ball. The only difference between this scene and the one before it is how they move.
So motion determines weight and weight is always relative. One object can be heavier than the other but you really don't know whether they weigh a hundred pounds or thousand pounds. Okay, now let's get this into a Character Animation standpoint. Now, again how a character moves will determine the weight of an object. Here we have a very simple scene where he is about to pick up a bag. Now, how much does that bag weigh? Well, it's going to be determined by how the character picks up the bag.
In this case, the bag is relatively light because there is really not that much effort on the character. Here is another scene. Now, in this case I've animated it a little bit different. The only thing that's different is the motion. In this case, you can see that the bag is a lot heavier. So, you can see how I put a little bit of stretch in the bag just to give it a little bit more weight. Notice also how in this scene he is squashed a little bit. He actually bends his knees to get more force to pull up that bag.
This gives the illusion of weight. Now, here we have a weight that's very, very heavy. In fact, he can hardly pick it up. Again, he is bending his knees, he is squashing his body to get as much momentum as possible in order to lift that weight but he can't. Now, here is another situation. In this case, we've got a very, very light weight and the motion is very different. Now, with all of these scenes it all starts on the same frame.
The only difference is how the character moves. So again, motion determines weight. So be very cognizant of that when you start animating your scenes.
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