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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.
Now it's time for some concepts that I know can be a little bit confusing because they're a little gray, overlap and follow through, with a little bit of opposing actions thrown in and a bit of drag. So, let's look at this and how you build up a scene, because if you go in with a finished product you'll go, I don't know how he did that. So what I've done is created a very simple character; this little egg-shaped robot. He has little free-floating arms, so we don't have to worry too much about how they join to the body, and the hat is also a little, you know, helmet that’s floating on his head, so nothing too hideously difficult to actually animate.
So the first scene is super simple. The egg robot just floats in. Overshoots a little bit. And does a bounce. So, let's look at that. And as you can see, let's take a look at the full timeline here. He enters, overshoots, settles. And then from this point he goes into a little anticipation, overshoots, settle. Couldn't be simpler. And you will actually see stuff at about that level of animation on many a kids tv show. But there are some tricks that we can do to really, really improve on that and let's see how.
So, first thing to do is to add a little bit of drag. So simple to do. So already, you may notice, wait a minute, there's something extra going on. So let's take a look. So what I did was I drag these arms. So when he moved to this point, I pull the arms out this way. Because they should go a little bit counter to that movement. And then on this frame, he overshoots, so I moved the arms drastically in the opposite direction. And then they settle in to the hold. Now on this one when he goes down, I flared the arms out and I tilted the helmet just a little bit so it doesn't seem like it’s bolted to the body.
It seems like it has its own little existence, and then the helmet pops up a little. It has a slightly faster slow out on that, and the arms get stuck in, and then he settles. Already a drastic improvement. And now, the final problem that we have to solve on the next one, you'll notice that on this one, all the frames happen on the same time, and reality just doesn't work like that. Not everything happens at the same time. Different things happen at different timings. So for example, I would not expect the helmet to arrive at the very same point as the body.
That's just not realistic. So let's switch that off and look at the final version, where I've offset these timings. Now you have an object that really feels like it's coming to life. And let's look inside the timeline and compare it. And now you'll see all the key frames that used to be stacked into these beautiful vertical columns. Are now offset. Some move first, so for example the body moves first. Well you would expect that, you would expect the body to be the primary action on this and the last thing to settle in would be the left arm here.
And the arm right there. I've actually had the hat settle sooner. There is nothing stopping me from taking these hat frames, and having them end last, so let's move them way up, see what happens. It might look bad, I don't know. Now, the hat's feeling a little bit weightless, so let's move it back a little bit, couple of frames. Maybe just move that back a little, too. I'm just playing around, I just want to see what happens. Different feel already. It's making the hat feel like it's made of a slightly lighter material. As you can see, what we have now is so far removed from version one and the process of getting there was so simple as to be ridiculous.
And I can even do it live now. So we have, that was the original scene. I can go into here, drag the arms. Remember on this frame here and here, they overshoot. From here to here, they flare out. From here to here they move in, and then we simply figure out, what's going to move first, what's going to drag? The hat I want to go a little slower, there's an upper hat level and a lower hat level, so I'll just drag them. That's not working. Let me see if I can drag that arm. It might not work here, actually, because he's moving in too fast, that's just going to look bizarre.
So that's, just offset the arm there, and the arm left, we can move that out by two, see if we can get away with that. Yep. And then we can do things like just randomly move. Of course you can plan this out, but for the purposes of this demonstration, I'm just going to randomly move things. I'm going to have the left arm move slower than the right, and I'm going to have the hat levels just move a little slower, too. See what that does. And I want to sync up both hat layers, there's an upper one and a lower one like I said.
Let's see what this looks like. It's not exactly the same as what I was showing you earlier, I spent more time on that. But you see how easy it is. So there's the process. You start with something quite simple, and basic. You create the second version that has more complexity. And then you completed the final version where you completely offset the timing. This is the beauty of working in Flash or a CGI project as opposed to doing this on paper. When we were doing this on paper, it involved a lot of rubbing out and a lot of redrawing. And the great aspect of working on the computer is that you can manipulate and change these things much more dynamically, and it's a great way to learn.
So in either case, start your scenes in a structured way: do the primary action first, and then add the drag, and then add the overlap. So, that's it.
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