When it comes to animation most artists agree that there is one lesson that can clearly show the basic
principles behind animation. The lesson of the bouncing ball.
The simplest bouncing ball is a ball that is bouncing straight up and down.
If you were new to art and animation and asked to animate a ball being dropped straight down you would probably
begin drawing a series of balls over a line getting closer and closer to the ground, and then
hitting the ground and moving back up right? But then you would get an animation that looks a little
unnatural and stiff.
When animators are making an object move they often exaggerate the movements because
if they drew a perfect circle for a ball the way figure b is the movements don't look natural.
So how do we make the bouncing ball look like it's actually bouncing? With a series of
different techniques designed to make the ball look more natural.
The very first thing an animator would look at is staging. For contrast we would
made the ball black, the background white and we are looking at it bounce from the side.
This may seem very obvious to you, but what seems obvious in this simple exercise, becomes crucial later in more
First you would see the ball as it looks normally. It's okay if this first frame has a perfectly circular ball. In the next
picture you would see the ball flattening out a bit, this is called squash. Just like the word implies, the ball
is flattening a little bit in anticipation of movement. Anticipation is a technique animators use when an object
is about to move. So that the object doesn't just start to bounce on it's own, they add a moment of anticipation
so that it looks as if it's moving because of some force that is applied to it. In the next frame you would see what looks
like a pancake on the floor. This is the moment of extreme squash. The extreme moments in an animation
are the moments of squash right before an object begins it's next series of
movements. In the frame as the ball reaches it's highest point you would see it return to its natural shape. Then, on it's way down the ball would begin to stretch as it falls, the stretch again giving a less rigid look
to the ball.
As the ball hits the ground again you would see that it has squashed a little again in
its follow through. The follow through is added by animators so that when an object comes to a stop it
doesn't look like the object is coming to a sudden stop.
With these animations techniques you're able to make a ball who's bounce looks
a little more natural.