2D Animation Principles
Illustration by John Hersey

2D Animation Principles

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Moving holds and idles

One of the challenges that was faced by animators very And you see the result.
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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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Watch the Online Video Course 2D Animation Principles
2h 25m Beginner Apr 11, 2014

Viewers: in countries Watching now:

Bring a cast of characters to life. By following the basics principles of animation, you can build characters that interact naturally with their environments, convey realistic emotion, and talk and walk convincingly. In this course, Dermot O' Connor shows how to design a solid character and stage and storyboard your animation before you begin. He'll examine principles like anticipation and squash and stretch, which provide characters with a sense of weight and flexibility, and show you how to animate walk cycles and dialogue. Finally, learn how to thumbnail scenes from start to finish, so you can sketch out the action before you commit to fully rendering it.

These lessons are designed with Flash in mind, but work just as well with any other 2D animation program.

Topics include:
  • Creating gesture drawings
  • Comparing storyboard styles
  • Squash, stretch, and volume
  • Comparing timing and spacing
  • Using anticipation, overshoot, settle, overlap, and follow-through
  • Creating eccentric walks
  • Building stock mouth shapes for dialogue
  • Creating thumbnails
3D + Animation
Flash Professional
Dermot O' Connor

Moving holds and idles

One of the challenges that was faced by animators very early on was bringing their characters to a complete stop. Because what would happen would be, they would have these wonderful character animating and then they would bring them into a hold and they would feel like they had just gone flat. So, then they realized that the solution was not to end all the motion at the same time, that different things move at different speeds. As we saw in the previous section, different things stop at different times. So when it came to stopping a character, this became known as a moving hold.

So here is an example of one without a moving hold. This guy just comes to a stop, more or less at the same time. You'll see all the parts of the body. Hitting their end pose right there. And if we look at the timeline, you see everything's stopping on frame 26. It's not exactly the end of the world, but it does look a little stiff. And it does feel robotic no matter how slowly you slow into or how gently you slow into that final pose, it's still all hitting that at the same time, frame 26.

So how to get around that? Solution was, to have different parts of the body stop moving at different times. And you see the result. Now of course I've cheated a little bit because I've given this fellow a cape and I've given him eyes, as a proper character should have, of course. So, let's have a look at that again. And you'll see the hands, the big change is on the hands. They don't just clunk to a stop on frame 26. They keep moving as you would expect in reality. One hand will usually stop before the other.

And then, the cape. Being subject to a little more drag, we'll overshoot a little further, maybe wobble a couple of times. And, and you know, an eye blink or two doesn't hurt to keep the character alive. Now on this fellow we had all of five key frames. The extra cost of getting this extra performance is the addition of three more key frames. And a little bit of business, of course, with the, with the cape. So what you see here is more or less the same four key frames, but we've overshot the arms, and then we've moved beyond, so that they drop down a little bit and very slowly settle.

I'm going to go through. Frame by frame and you see his physical right arm, that's this arm here. Still moving, stops, now the other arm, this one is also still moving. Even now you'll see right there, it's still in motion. And between that and the cape, that's far more realistic far richer animation now. I don't expect every character to have a cape, I do expect most of them to have hair and clothing. So you would have a, maybe a person with loose pants or a t-shirt or a skirt or a hat, there's any number of visual elements that you can use to drag to a full stop slightly slower than the head or the torso.

So, let's see how you would apply, and very simple version of this, which can still be effective. And in this case, I have a scene of a poor cow. It's been a long day. He's had a bit of heat stroke, so he's going to faint. So, what happens with the tail is. The simplest form of moving hold for the body and the head more or less come to a full stop at the same frame. But I wouldn't expect the tail to do that so the tail keeps moving. And let's go into the cow and have a look so we can see the exact point at which this happens. He hits the ground here and squishes to a stop on frame 17 but the tail keeps moving.

So it's just dragging by about one frame, the main body of the tail. And then the end of the tail has from here, frame 18, all the way through to frame 24, the saddle. It's an incredibly simple effect. And it goes a long way to, just fooling your eye into realizing, you know what? This isn't just a bunch of key frames coming together at one point. So this is the final example, of not a moving hold but a hold. An actual idle cycle, and these are more common now especially with games.

So as you can see we have some offset key frames. And let's see how this works out. We have the character doing a little breathe cycle, there's a couple of things happening here to help make it more fluid. The arms are opposing the body so as the body moves down the arms move up and vice versa. And there's a slight opposing action so the arms are offset. The right arm is one frame ahead of the body and the left arm one frame behind the body. And that is enough, just to get us that slight illusion of natural movement.

It's actually that simple. And I could easily move these back into place. And you can see just that slight change alone is enough to make it look more mechanical. I can move them in the opposite direction. And you get that amazingly subtle illusion of natural breathing again. So, that's the techniques used to do an idle or a basic hold as well as for moving holds.

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