Timing in animation is the result of you deciding as an animator when an action should happen. We teach you some basic technical timing in this video by first breaking down a standard walk forward. Next we focus on creative timing by breaking down two great actors, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, as the play the exact same scene in their own ways.
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- [Instructor] The principle of timing defines you as an animator more than anything else. Timing is a result of your choices to have an action happen now or later. Let's take a look at this walk for example. I've decided to mark every time she contacts the ground with her feet and see what we can learn about her timing. Let's start from the beginning. When she contacts the first time, she's at frame 92. I know she's in a hurry, so let's see when she contacts again. Frame 102, 112, 122, 132, now 140 and 148.
In the beginning, when she's coming into this scene, she's pretty consistent, about every 10 frames. But right here when she realizes that she's possibly left something behind, she has to stop, and she contacts the ground every eight frames. This is really interesting. She kept her timing really consistent, though we can tell she's in a hurry, mostly by the way her pose is designed. But right towards the end when we realize that she has to turn around, her timing changes completely to every eight frames per step.
This is an interesting thing that you can add to your own animation. Think, how can I vary the timing of a character by keeping it consistent at one point and completely changing it much later? Let's move ahead and look at some other timing examples. Nature's pretty consistent with timing as well. Remember that ball bounce from earlier? Well I've decided to mark each time the ball contacts the ground to see what we could learn. Let's watch. The first time the ball contacts the ground is right about frame 491.
Its next bounce happens right about 512, so about 21 frames from the previous ball bounce. A little bit later, it bounces at 530, or about 18 frames. And then at 543, or about 13 frames from the previous bounce. Can you see the trend? This next bounce happens at 553 and then finally 560. So about seven frames. You can see what's going on here. Every time the ball loses a little bit of energy and bounces a little bit slower, the timing of its contacts or when it contacts the ground gets much shorter.
21, 18, 13, and then 10. Every ball bounce goes a little bit slower so the timing gets a little bit shorter. Make sense? Alright, let's move ahead and look at something else. Let's move ahead and look at another example. Okay, so timing is great for all the technical parts and bounces and contacts of animation, but what about acting? Let's take a look at some of the best actors we know, Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn in the classic movie, Charade.
In this scene, Audrey Hepburn is running away from Cary Grant, but do you see how differently they act trying to get through this ticket counter? Audrey's timing is very quick, and simple. However Cary Grant's character is all over the place and though he's trying to move quickly, he actually winds up going much slower. Let's watch. (suspenseful music) (man yelling) In both instances Cary Grant's character slows down so much, in this case because the man's blocking his way and then farther on when he's just trying to give the ticket to the man and the man then pulls him back.
This is timing in acting, and it's not really technical. In this case, it's all about building tension in the scene. Audrey Hepburn is a huge hurry, so everything she does has to be quick and methodical. Cary Grant however is also trying to be quick, but the director chose to have the man in the way to slow him down and build tension in the scene. And then for this man to pull him back, to again, build more tension and make it a little bit comedic. What I'm trying to illustrate here is that timing isn't all about technical contacts and positions, though that is really important.
Timing can also be about acting and building tension in a scene or making it more comedic. And honestly, timing will take years to master. In the beginning, I recommend you study as much as you can about movement and break down how long it takes for things to move. Building this repertoire of knowledge will help you when it comes time to animating your own scenes.
Animation has evolved tremendously in the last century, but some principles always stay the same. This foundation will serve you for a lifelong career.
- A history of character animation
- Squash and stretch
- Pose-to-pose animation
- Secondary action