Animation Exercises for Beginners | Ball | Pendulum & Character Exercises | (2021)

Animation Exercises for Beginners | Ball | Pendulum & Character Exercises

  • You first need to learn the 12 principles of animation, and practice those basics, before you can get into the more advanced animation exercises. Improve your animation with these exercises as a refresher in the basics, or use these as a way to learn animation as these are the best animation exercises for beginners.


***Type of Animation Exercises***
***Ball *** (1) Ball A to B and B to A (2) Bouncing Rubber Ball (3) Plastic Ball (4) Iron Ball (5) Balloon Ball (6) ball up and down cycle (7) ball antic and jump (8) ball antic and jump from ring (10) ball jump from ladder from top to ground (11) two ball hitting each other (12) ball water jump from ladder (13) Ball up and down cycle ***Pendulum *** (1)Pendulum one point (2) Pendulum a to b and b to a (3) Pendulum arc (4) Pendulum anticipation simple on ground line and b and b to a (5) Pendulum up and down cycle (6) Pendulum jump from bottom (7)Pendulum jump from top (8) Pendulum antic and jump from ring (9) Pendulum jump on ladder from bottom to ground (10) Pendulum jump from ladder from top to grounds (11) Pendulum hitting ball form top (12) Pendulum hitting ball from bottom ***Character *** (1) Walk (2) run (3) jump (4) jump in box (5) jump on ladder

These are things you should be thinking about and implementing into all of your exercises.
  • WEIGHT – show weight by squashing the feet and in the quads of the upper legs (on the front side) and in the hips/butt area. In 3D – use a lattice when structuring your character. WHEN IN DOUBT EXAGGERATE THE WEIGHT.
  • POSING with exaggeration
  • ACTIONS – LEADING AND FOLLOWING actions are easy – example: when a character land one foot makes contact and then the other…or if you lift the arms – one arm goes up and then the other.
  • OVERLAPPING ACTIONS – For example, the character comes to a halt and her hair and dress continue to flow and settle into place. To be effective the overlapping has to use “S” curves to change direction.
  • DRAG ACTION – is where you show a drag on a form as it moves through space. This usually occurs at the ends of the form. If a rubber raft is falling, the middle edge will be intact – the other edges will bend or drag back.
  • MOTIVATIONAL FORCES – what makes the thing move – 80% or more of all actions happen because of the hips and legs. If a character throws a ball the action starts with the extension (unfolding) of the front leg which rotates the hips and creates torque with the torso and allows the unwinding of the torso to lead the shoulder and the rest of the arm through a throwing motion. Another example: a character can’t turn unless he pushes off on the outside foot – then he can change direction.
  • THINKING time (a character ALWAYS thinks before it does anything). Disney said, “the mind is the pilot.”
  • PRIMARY AND SECONDARY ACTIONS – easy example in a walk – the legs are the primary action – then arms are the secondary action.
  • ANTICIPATION – (or ANTIC) In a grab, the hand comes up and backward before it goes forward.
  • COMPENSATION – If a character is running and stops – you have to compensate for the forward momentum (usually by driving the forces up – or down and then up.)
  • REVERSALS – try to work as many reversals into the spine as possible (as long as it makes sense to the action). The spine is curved forward – then curves back during an antic and then curves forward when the character picks up a stone. HINT: My next lesson at the Toon Institute will have this information.

  • CUSHION OR SETTLE is where you move passed a keyframe into an extreme/extreme and then cushion back into the original keyframe.
  • MOVING HOLD is a very, very slow slow-out of action – to where the movement is coming to a creeping halt.
  • STAGING (how the action is composed within the frame)
  • APPEAL – Character Design – the ability to caricature a person utilizing good design skills and have appeal 



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