Bouncy Ball Animation // Plot and Study from The Animator’s Survival Kit

in animation •  3 months ago 

Welcome to my first animation study post!

Just a heads up that this first post is just the planning, and the animation will come in the next post.

The exercise I'm planning here is from The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams. If you want to get into 2D animation , I think this is the best place to start. This book has been on a lot of recommended reading lists for beginners, including UCLA’s animation workshop, where I learned about it.

He doesn’t specifically line up animation exercises in this book, but the bouncy ball is a pretty standard starting point and I never actually did one - so no time like the present!

Here’s what I’m using:


1: The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams
I’ve copied the relevant information from the book and posted it below, if you decide you want to try it too.

2: iPad with Rough Animator software
For frame by frame, this is the easiest set up for me. If you want to do it traditionally, I think a little flip book would work well for this.

3: Apple Pencil (cleverly disguised as a real pencil)
Works with my iPad, but won’t work with a flip book. Try a regular pencil if you have the flip book - but please don’t use a regular pencil on my iPad.

4*: Old glasses because mine are missing
Has anyone seen my glasses?

*you won’t need if you don’t need glasses

A quick thought from Richard Williams about the importance of planning:


Ok, so obviously I don’t need days to think about a bouncy ball animation exercise. But I will take some time to consider the timing and spacing of the ball and how I can use those tools to give the ball life instead of just motion.





Step 1: Timing

Timing is where the ball hits the ground.


Step 2: Spacing

Spacing is where the ball is between each bounce.


Step 3: Plot

Numbering the ball shows me that this animation will take 27 frames - 1(ish) second at 24 FPS, or just over 2 seconds at 12 FPS.



This graphic gives me a great base with which to make my animation. Now when I’m drawing, I can focus on consistency of the ball and exaggerating the squash and stretch to give it personality.


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That's a great study to do! I like how it's laid out.

I also use Rough Animator, albeit on my phone, not an iPad. Further, my phone is an Android. And I only use it help me with stop-motion. I've found it's really good at loading a boatload of photos in numerical sequence and spitting out a movie.

Wow, that's so cool! I had no idea you could do that with rough animator. Do you use a little tripod for your phone? I'd love to see that setup!

I'll take some photos and write up a writeup the next time I make one! I'm hoping this weekend.

Hahaha! I bought this book studying animation, I should open it once in a while!

Definitely! He's a funny writer, and a genius at boiling things down 😄

Yeah and his method is more important then ever with the ever growing part digital art plays in the industry. Students must emulate something that used to come natural like the expressiveness of their characters.

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Much love to you from all of us at @helpie!
Keep up the great work!


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You have great potential

Thank you! :) Practice will make perfect

The first animation tutorial i saw at youtube was the bouncy ball,lol

Ha. I think it's good to start with a ball so they're not tempted to make it too detailed! Lots of Detail = the slow death of the animator 😆

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Thank you so much! :D I'll share some more of my favorite bits from this book going forward. It's a really amazing learning tool!

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