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Old 08-10-2005, 10:31 PM   #1
bala2007
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Default Animation Timing

Please can anyone tell me how to get an accurate timing of my characters in 3d, making them look real and have life. for example if a character is suppose to throw a punch, how do you know how many seconds it will take to throw the punch to convince the audience. Something like that.
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Old 12-10-2005, 05:28 PM   #2
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Ummm.... That's the art of animation.

You need to study motion.

Stand in the mirror and throw a punch. It probably only took somewhere around a quarter of a second or less. Watch a DVD that shows someone throwing a punch and watch the punch one frame at a time.

The cool think about keyframe animating is that it's really easy to slide keyframes around to adjust the timing. Using the dope sheet or the graph editor you can move keyframes and adjust their values easily.

Try some simple projects just to get use to keyframing and using the animation editors (graph, dope). Have fun!
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Old 12-10-2005, 07:13 PM   #3
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Timing is one of the hardest parts to “get.” Everything else could be fine, but bad timing will let the animation down. Practice and errr… time is what’s needed. The more you do, the better you get.

Anyway, here’s some basic rules of animation that might help….

Observation: Understand the core of the action, and then exaggerate it. Even a “realistic” animation has exaggeration in it. Using Pixar for example, very exaggerated, yet very realistic.

Anticipation: Almost all actions are anticipated. In other words, everything usually goes in the opposite direction before end direction. So before you jump you need to crouch/bend down. Before you kick or punch you need to draw the leg/arm back. The longer the pause in the anticipation the more the exaggeration. This is often done in the old Disney/Loony Toons/Tom & Jerry cartoons.

Watching/analysing the classic cartoons would help a lot. If you got a dvd player you can even watch them frame by frame to understand the movements.

For your specific question.... I guess just play around with the keys etc and see what feels and looks right. Also take into consideration the subject matter/theme. Is it serious or comical, because the timing will be different for each? The facial expressions and body language of the character(s) will also effect the whole action. What about the characters, what is there intent, is it a fight or a boxing match or playing around or something else? All these need to be answered before you know what is right because even technically “good” timing used in the wrong situation wont help either.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:26 PM   #4
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I just started an animation degree program at my community college, and learned that all forms of animation(3d, drawn, claymation...) follow the same principles.
You need...
anticipation - move the arm back before you swing
ease in/out - your swing will first speed up...be sure not to move anything at a steady pace. It never looks right
overshoot/settle - ex. when a character stops walking, his momentum keeps moving foreward and then setles back.
followthrough - ex. the head will still be moving a few frames after the body has stopped.

there are a bunch of great books on drawn animation out there and the same principles can be used in 3d. I suggest you take a look at any of the following

Disney Animation : The Illusion of Life - Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston
Animators Survival Kit - Richard Williams
Timing for Animation - Harold Whitaker and John Halas


In all of these books it says that there is no rule for "how many frames" something takes or how big the motion should be. There is no formula. It all depends on the motion you are going for. Is it a friendly slug on the shoulder? An old man with a lazy swing? The knockout uppercut in the boxing match?

Like the other guys said, try the action you want yourself. An animator is an actor. Also do it a bunch of times with a stopwatch to see how long it took you. The best part about Maya is of your a little off, its very easy to tweak the motion.
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Old 02-11-2005, 07:27 PM   #5
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I forgot to mention stretch and squash...adds a lot of life to animation as well.
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