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Applying lines of action, reversals, and S-curves

From: 2D Animation Principles

Video: Applying lines of action, reversals, and S-curves

One of the challenges that crops up again and again is And we break into an S curve around these two frames.

Applying lines of action, reversals, and S-curves

One of the challenges that crops up again and again is keeping material and hair and soft matter looking soft and free. So how do we do that? Well there is a trick and it involves using curves. C curves and S curves, and here's what it roughly looks like when you do right. And this could be a dog's tail or a, you know, a piece of paper blowing in the wind or a flag. Any number of objects can be made or built around this basic action or variations of this action.

So how does that happen? I actually drew this frame by frame, just straight ahead. You begin with a C curve. And again, the primary motion is from wherever it's rooted here, and we just pull it down. And we break into an S curve around these two frames. And then we slowly work into the opposite C. So we go from this C into a reversal. From this S to that S. And this is the classic wave motion action. It's the kind of thing you just pick up by practice, just by, you know, being comfortable working from one shape into an opposite.

And you can see from the domain movement actually is from this C curve into that S shape. And then into the opposite C, and most of these are just basic in-betweens from one into the other. So you have four essential shapes, and a bunch of intermediate forms between them. So as long as you think, you know, basic simplicity, you know, around a C to that C, or an S, to this, you can make all kinds of variations built around that model. So that is your reversals and line curves.

And let me show you how you can apply some of the same principles to a character because it only gets you so far if you're drawing shapes like that. So here is their familiar man with a pick axe. Now, when I draw these characters with these very dramatic poses and actions It helps if you build the action around a line of action, which is uncannily similar to some of these S curves and C shapes. So, he starts with what looks like the letter S, and I build into that until he reverses into a reverse of the letter C.

And that's a fantastic transition if you go from this to that, you're really going to feel that when you get to the animation. And, then I just slow him out of that very slightly, like that's an overshoot, and then we settle into this shape, but it's still a C shape. So, this is our reversal from here, pop to there. And then you hold that through a few frames to really let it read, and then we pull him back, he's still in the C shape, still in the C shape, and then bam, I hit that S, or reverse S shape, and that's a fantastic transition. I've built the entire character pose deliberately around that shape.

And then we just slowly work him out of that, and you get him back into the original. End result. You feel that. It really shows up, there's nothing stiff about that at all. It's a nice simple, but effective scene. So this is a thumbnail of a much more complex scene, and it shows some other similar principles. And right now I'm just showing you the character, so hopefully you can make a guess as to what kind of shapes are underlying this and if I show you the next frame, ta da. You can see that we're looking at a similar process. We have the same line of action on the beginning character and we just push that, we haven't reversed it yet, and even this pose is still within that same basic shape.

And even this pose and this one. We haven't reversed yet. The reversal happens here and that's when this curve, which we followed on the character's spine and skull, has flipped horizontally. And that's going to give a nice strong transition from the turn from frame 21 to 23. And then once we're into frame 23, the same curve is maintained up the spine until we settle into frame 33 and beyond. And since this is a 24 frame per second scene as I timed it out, you know, it looks much longer than it actually is.

This entire turn gets us from frame one to frame 23 in about a second. So, you don't want to be reversing all over the place or your figures will look like they're made of jelly, or jello. That's not a good thing, so know when to apply the reversal and use it when it's needed, and you'll come to your own tastes depending on the style of the project that you're working on. And in this particular scene, this reversal was just about perfect. That is line of action and reversal and S curves.

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This video is part of

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2D Animation Principles

35 video lessons · 9993 viewers

Dermot O' Connor

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  1. 1m 42s
    1. Welcome
    2. Using the exercise files
  2. 18m 9s
    1. Understanding appeal and design
      4m 3s
    2. Comparing body types
      6m 27s
    3. Understanding silhouette
      1m 52s
    4. Creating gesture drawings
      2m 50s
    5. Tying down the drawing
      2m 57s
  3. 18m 10s
    1. Comparing storyboard styles
      5m 8s
    2. Understanding shot composition
      4m 36s
    3. Demonstrating lighting
      4m 8s
    4. Understanding the 180-degree line
      4m 18s
  4. 13m 8s
    1. Understanding X-sheets (dope sheets)
      3m 25s
    2. Comparing frame rates
      4m 39s
    3. Creating sweatbox notes and preparation
      5m 4s
  5. 18m 42s
    1. Understanding arcs
      7m 38s
    2. Squash, stretch, and volume
      4m 59s
    3. Comparing timing and spacing
      6m 5s
  6. 10m 4s
    1. Using anticipation, overshoot, and settle
      4m 2s
    2. Breaking and loosening joints
      2m 43s
    3. Leading action
      3m 19s
  7. 19m 51s
    1. Understanding primary and secondary action
      4m 14s
    2. Using overlap and follow-through
      6m 0s
    3. Applying lines of action, reversals, and S-curves
      4m 34s
    4. Moving holds and idles
      5m 3s
  8. 15m 52s
    1. Understanding walk and run cycles
      5m 24s
    2. Creating eccentric walks
      6m 50s
    3. Animal locomotion
      3m 38s
  9. 14m 31s
    1. Finding dialogue accents
      2m 42s
    2. Creating dialogue through body movement
      2m 46s
    3. Creating stock mouth shapes
      5m 4s
    4. Using complementary shapes
      3m 59s
  10. 13m 8s
    1. Creating thumbnails
      4m 31s
    2. Comparing straight-ahead and pose-to-pose animation
      4m 37s
    3. Adding breakdowns for looseness
      4m 0s
  11. 2m 9s
    1. Next steps
      2m 9s

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