• Charlotte Grant

A new task - Bouncing Ball Animations - Part 2

Part 2 of my of my bouncing ball animations post, go, go, go!

Similarly to my 2D bouncing ball animations, we were given this task in 3D. The software we used for this task was Autodesks 3D animation software, Maya. I started off with a rig of a ball, by the name of 'squishy', our task was to animate squishy to seem both light and heavy by applying basic animation principles to it's movement.

Working with bouncing ball animations is a very good way to practice some of the basic principles of animation.I made sure to practice the principles of Stretch and Squash (the ability to stretch and squash an object depending on how fast it is accelerating to better create the illusion of movement), Timing (figuring how fast an object should move in relation to it's environment/the forces exerted on it) and weight (this includes the mass and resistance of the object).

I started off with the 'light' bouncing ball animation of Squishy. I gave the impression of it being light by giving this ball lots of stretch and squash and allowing it to bounce quite high when it hit the ground. This was my first time using any type of 3D software, so it took a little time to get used to the interface, particularly the rigging and keyframing process. I was given the advice to use the inbuilt dope sheet feature to better time this animation, making it a lot easier to time correctly.

My light, maya bouncing animation is shown above. I am, overall quite pleased with this as a first try, however, I think you can see the stretch way too much in the first 'fall' part of the animation. I also think it accelerates a little too slowly to begin with, making it seem like it was 'anticipating' hitting the ground which wouldn't happen in real life circumstances. I think I could have overdone the stretch and squash on the rest of the animation too and despite this being the light ball (would have more stretch and squash) I think putting a little bit less wouldn't harm the animation, making it a little more subtle.

The heavy bouncing ball animation was a little more complex to do as I had to limit my stretch and squash a lot to make it seem more realistic. The animation itself was a lot shorter as well as heavy balls do not bounce a lot, so it was more of a 'hit the ground, bounce a little then roll' sort of thing, instead of a longer sequence like the light ball had.

I tried to incorperate a small amount of roll into this animation (something that I wanted to do in the 2D one) however I don't think I have quite got the grasp of the software enough, yet, to be able to do this effectively. This will be something I will practice for my next 3D project. I did however get a little bit of a roll going at the end, where I made the ball fall onto it's side a little.

As you can see, my heavy ball animation is very short. I do prefer my light ball animation if I were to compare the two, however I think my heavy ball animation has a lot less issues in terms of clearly visible stretch and squash and the 'anticipation' before the ball hit the ground.

If I were to compare my 2D ball animations with my 3D ones, I think my 2D ones were a little better, this is mainly because I knew what I was doing a little more with the 2D. I hope to improve my skills with using the Maya software and working with 3D in general a lot in this next year. One clear positive, using the 3D software has is that volume isn't so much of a problem. In 2D, particularly with the heavy ball, I found keeping the same volume in the ball at the start and through the stretch and squash was very difficult. By using 3D and rigs, it is much easier to keep the volume of a shape as you are not contantly re-drawing it in order to create the animation.

I have definitely really enjoyed both forms of animation that I have tried so far.

Anyways, hopefully if I can get hold of a camera at some point, I'll stick up some of my life drawings (I have had two sessions of this so far) and I may also be putting up some storyboards from the workshops I have done in those so far. (maybe some reviews of screenings and some personal artwork too?) There's so much I could be putting on here xD But I don't want to clutter it too much with irrelevant stuff, but yeah >.< hopefully I can get some of the stuff mentioned up soon!

Until next blog post I guess,

Char out!