2D Animation Principles
Illustration by John Hersey

2D Animation Principles

with Dermot O' Connor

Video: Using anticipation, overshoot, and settle

I've set up this very simple rig in Flash using the Bones Tool. Let's go into this rig so we can see the keyframes.
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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

Using anticipation, overshoot, and settle

I've set up this very simple rig in Flash using the Bones Tool. Now, if you're using CC Flash, be warned that they don't have the Bones Tool in CC anymore. But it's in all the previous versions. It's a pretty crude tool, but it's quite handy for doing solid basic animation like this. So, what we have here is essentially a biped figure setup, so I can show you some basic principles of how we make the characters move in a way that's sort of more interesting than normal.

So, what we have is a scene where the guy reaches for an object. And, I hate to say it, but you will actually see scenes on television animated like this. I have seen them. So, how do you go past this to something that's a little more interesting? Well, you certainly want to get from here to here if your director's given you a job of he reaches for a cup on the shelf. So, let's look at something with just a few more keys in it to make this thing work. We still have our start frame and we still have our stop frame. What we have now, however, is an anticipation into this pose, and then an overshoot into this pose, before he settles into the end pose.

And what this looks like, is that. Which is about a world away from what we were seeing in the earlier version. And all we had to do was to add a dip and then a slight slowing to this anticipation before he overshoots the final pose. So this key is really pretty much the same as this key. I just pulled it very slightly towards the right. I moved him slightly off-balance and then had him slow into the end pose. That's it. It really is that simple, anticipation, overshoot, and settle.

And I can give you another example here. This would be from a fight scene. And in this case, we have anticipation and punch. Let's go into this rig so we can see the keyframes. We have the start pose, and he comes down, to pull up into the final anticipation hold. We can hold this image as long as we like, and then bam. This is the overshoot frame right here. Then he settles. So you go a little bit past the point at which you want to settle into. And this is particularly good for really radical violent actions.

And the greater the overshoot, the more force it'll feel like it has. So that really feels like you put a hole in the wall. Exactly the same method, and you see how few keyframes are required to achieve this effect. This is a fully animated scene that I did some time back and it has a similar principle. Let's actually go into the symbol, so we can see the keys. And now I can break it down for you. We have our start pose, and then each of these vertical stacks represents one of the major key actions. So he goes from his start pose, down into a slight anticipation to the main move, which takes him into the main anticipation.

So, this is a baby anticipation into the big anticipation. We hold this for a few frames. And we have a nice line of action. A big C curve on the figure. Bam. And then we go from this. Yet another anticipation. This is an anticipation after an anticipation. And then huge hit from this point to this point. There is no in between from here to here. And this is the other beauty of a really powerful anticipation. It cues the eye. It actually telegraphs to you something big is going to happen.

So you don't even have to show it, the audience simply feels it. So then he overshoots. His body does, his hands are stuck in the ground they, they have nowhere to go. His shoes and his hat overshoot, and then he settles. Let's look at that again. So there you see the importance of this very simple principle. And I encourage you to apply it wherever and whenever you can.

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