Wednesday, April 9, 2008

The 3 Bounce Ball Part 3: Adjust the Timing

Once you've got your keys in the right physical position, it's time to adjust their position in time. This is arguably the most important step in the animation process. If the timing is right, it will make up for a lot of cruddy spacing, and posing; if the timing is wrong, ain't no amount of fancy fiddling gonna make it look right.

1. Play back the animation and check if the bounces feel too slow or too fast. They don't bounce naturally, but don't worry about that. Focus on the hits and the apexes. Are they on the proper beat--are they happening at the right pace? Think like a dancer or a conductor. It needs to feel right.

2. If the bounces and hits are happening too slowly, move the keys closer together. If they're too fast, move them farther apart. To move keys in the timeline, shift + click on a key, then grab the inner arrows to move the key.

3. Congratulations, you've just roughed in the timing. Save your work with the 0X suffix, text the mistress, and hit the town.

Further caveat. If you don't get the timing right now, this animation is doomed to failure. Get it right early, because it's increasingly difficult to make major timing adjustments with each bit of complexity you add to your animation. Get your timing down before you open up the graph editor.

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