2D Animation Principles
Illustration by John Hersey

Squash, stretch, and volume


2D Animation Principles

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Squash, stretch, and volume

Now we are going to take the bouncing ball in the previous section, which As you can see, it's pretty straight forward, as the ball descends And then we squash it on impact, and We could elongate this just a little bit more.
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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

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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

Squash, stretch, and volume

Now we are going to take the bouncing ball in the previous section, which didn't have any squash or stretch on it, and we are going to apply some. So, this is it. This is what it's going to look like. As you can see, it's pretty straight forward, as the ball descends and it's affected by gravity, we start to pull it out of shape. And then we squash it on impact, and very quickly, returns to an elongated shape, before re-assuming its spherical form right at the top of the bounce, gravity takes over again, and the cycle repeats.

This time, on the way down, the impact will be slower, maybe the squash will be a little bit less. So, on each subsequent bounce, the effect will become just a little bit less pronounced until we finally get to that last bounce, where that's about as much stretch as we get and that's about as much squash as we get and in between into the final resting position. That's essentially it. We follow the very same pattern as the previous animation. Except for adding the squash and stretch. We have also added some small touches. So, for example, here we are on frame 11.

Go to that, there. I'm going to outline mode so you can see. I've put in another frame here on an even key, on wands to really pull that down, so, we get a very strong impact frame. And there are subtleties that we could still add. Let's go in a little closer. We could elongate this just a little bit more. Be sure that snapping is switched off. And I have a little feeling here that we're actually losing a little bit of volume, so I'm just going to fatten them up a little bit. Now I'm actually letting that squash sit there for two frames so it'll read. I think if we went to wands, as we have here, it might not even be seen.

So, let's move out and play again. There are all kinds of subtleties you can add. You could pull this a little further up. You could elongated it even more as long as, again, you maintain volume. I'm just going to undo that. It's very good to be conscious of volume. So, for example, what I mean by that is that the mass of the object should not appear to change. Let me make a new level, show you what I mean. Let me copy that onto the new level, let's put it up here. Let's get the squash frame, copy that, put that on the new level.

These should more or less occupy the same visual area. And I'm still feeling like this is a little smaller than that. It's not a lot. It's not going to really catch the eye, I think, at this level. But probably wouldn't hurt, if you were being a perfectionist, to narrow this just a slight amount. That will be enough. So, that's it. Let me show what a real volume error looks like so you can see how bad it is. Now, obviously you'd have to be pretty incompetent to produce something like this. I hope you never will. That's obviously a mistake. I deliberately made something that was just over the top.

But there is a natural tendency, when you animate one key and then another and then another, to gain volume as you go. As you become more enthusiastic about the scene, volumes just seem to appear out of nowhere. So, it's something to watch out for. And now, a simple demonstration of squash and stretch on a character, and this is a very big character, because I wanted somebody with some physical mass that we could really see this happen on, and that's the scene. It's a very simple scene, it's just an anticipation, overshoot, and then he settles back into his start pose. So, let's look inside this symbol just to see, so again, one, two, three, four keys.

So, this is the first one, second. And you can see the difference in how the different parts of the body squash. The skull is hard boned. It does not squash as much as the fleshy mass of the cheeks. And the fleshy mass of the cheeks squash just a little bit more than his lower belly. So, depending on how you want to handle the mass and the qualities of a mass, and you again, even in stretching, you will see I've kept the skull much more solid, and the jowls area are the most flexible part of his body. Now, in addition we need to be sure we don't gain volume.

Very easy to gain or lose volume with this kind of work. I've taken each key frame, I'm just going to move them apart so you can see them separately. There's the first, the start one. The second one. And the third. And so, oftentimes, what we would do if we were drawing would be to overlay one drawing on top of the other, and to put on the back light, and try to compare them just to make sure, has this gotten out of control? Looking at these, you might put the case for this needing a little bit of volume shaved off, wouldn't be a lot, you know, like may be this much to here, maybe that much to there would be sufficient and, in any case, I think we are pretty much getting away with it.

Nothing is jumping out is going, he is gaining 50 pounds on the hop, I don't think he is. So, this is one thing to watch out for, because it's one of the main areas where we make mistakes. It's just natural that we do. So, always check your volumes.

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