Animation Timing

What is good timing ? Animation gives meaning to movement. Isn’t movement just getting from position “A” to position “B”, this seems like a good answer but it isn’t necessarily always the case. In nature for example things don’t move just in straight lines, and in animation and in the movies you don’t just see a flat screen, you see all sorts of different angles, different perspectives and this something all animators have to consider. When thinking about movement and timing we have to first of all think about the object we are creating. A simple circle for example can be anything from a cannonball to a soap bubble, the audience will only know what it is by the way it moves interacts with its environment. In order to animate a character from ‘A’ to ‘B’ the forces which are operating to produce movement must be considered. Firstly gravity  tends to pull a character down towards the ground. Secondly, their body is built and jointed in a certain way and is acted on by certain arrangements of muscles which tend to work against gravity. Thirdly, there is a psychological reason or motivation  for the action,whether they are dodging a blow, welcoming a guest or threatening someone with a revolver.

An animator has to worry about making their drawings and characters seem real, weighty, and solid as well as make them act in a convincing way. Now animation and timing is all cause an effect. Understanding the mechanics of actually movement is really important. This might sound really obvious but for example if a heavy object where to land on a see-saw with a lighter object on the opposite side the lighter object is going to fly into the air. Now that’s the natural reaction but as animators we tend to emphasize and over exaggerate things. Every object and character has weight and moves only when a force is applied to it. This is Newtons first law of motion. An object at rest tends to remain at rest until a force moves it, and once in motion it tends to stay in motion in a straight line until another force stops it. Also the lighter the object the less resistance it has to movement as well as less momentum. However the heavy the object the more force is required to move it as well as having more momentum. The way an object behaves on screen and the effect of weight that it gives, depends entirely on the spacing of the animation drawings and not on the drawing itself. It does not matter how beautifully drawn that cannonball is in a static sense if it does not behave like sane and the same applies to the  balloon, and indeed to any object or character.

timing