Join George Maestri for an in-depth discussion in this video The importance of timing, part of Foundations of Animation.
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Since animation is a time-based medium, developing a good sense of timing is very important to creating good animation. Timing is what gives meaning to the motion. The speed at which things happen affect the perception of the scene and give it mood. Good timing starts at the project level. We have a length to our project, whether it is a 30-second commercial or a 2-hour movie. The timing of scenes within that project helps to tell the story.
Within a scene, we have the timing and blocking of the action within the scene. And each action can be broken down into parts. Timing in animation is very similar to music. The individual scenes can be seen as verses, courses, or movements. The individual notes of music can be seen as the individual actions within the scene. As with music, each action must be timed properly, so it appears at the right pace and the audience can absorb it. A good example might be a rocket taking off.
If it's an experimental rocket, we don't know if it will explode on launch. We have the timing of the countdown, which builds tension, then we have a pause, when we hit 0, and the rocket takes off. Another example might be a character in animation. We have a character that goes through a few poses, touches something hot, reacts, then recoils. The timing of these motions affects how the scene plays. If the reaction is slow, then perhaps, the character is slow. Faster timing gives a slightly different effect.
When developing a sense of timing, the first thing you need to do is observe. Watch how things move and time them. A stopwatch can be very helpful as can a video camera. If you have to create a specific motion, act it out or find reference to view. These have been some broad examples of timing, but as we'll see, timing is important from the film level all the way down to the individual frame.
- Understanding forces and motion
- Working with center of mass
- Adjusting frame rates
- Understanding keys and keyframes
- Building animation paths
- Navigating the object hierarchy
- Staging an animation
- Animating to audio and music