digital visual effects (VFX)

Animation I: Three Bouncing Balls (Class Assignment)

Most animation students that go through formal training are given the assignment to animate one or several balls, and I am no different.

I had actually done this before the class to practice using the basic tools in Maya. That is one of the tutorials provided when you open the program for the first time.

The difference is that there is no forward motion to the bouncing ball tutorial.

I my class at Tribeca Flashpoint Academy, we had to give the balls forward motion.

My first ball was a bouncy “Happy Fun Ball”. I call it “Happy Fun Ball” to give reference to the SNL commercial parody, which I love, but really has nothing to do with the bounce of this animation. (Although you really shouldn’t taunt my Happy Fun Ball!) 😉

My second bouncing ball was a bowling ball. I didn’t put much squash/stretch on it or give it much bounce. I was having trouble animating it because I copied the original bouncing ball (the original assignment was to put the three bouncing balls in one file) and didn’t know that it was still connected to the original ball. This was giving me trouble with the bounce and the squash/stretch, and so I didn’t do much with the ball. Still, I’m happy with how this one came out.

My third bouncing ball was a beach ball, which was the biggest challenge of them all.

On my first attempt I used the copy of the first ball again, and so all the rotations and bounce/stretch were very strange and I couldn’t fix it. Here is the incomplete first attempt.

My second attempt was a little different. I can’t remember if I used a new rig or still used the copy of the first ball, but I changed the rotation in a very interesting way as I was working on it and decided that at a windy place like the beach, there are often gusts of wind that hit light objects, like a beach ball, and send them spinning around and changing direction in mid-air. That was the inspiration for the second attempt at a beach ball. My teacher liked the idea but said that wasn’t the assignment, so I made another attempt.

My third attempt at a beach ball. This time I did use a new rig with no animation.

There’s no squash/stretch but at the time when I visualized the bounce of a beach ball, I didn’t recall any squash/stretch unless it had a strong velocity to it when it hit the ground (as if someone was hitting it strongly to the ground). I like this one. There is a bit of wind on it, which my teacher said was ok because I brought it down a lot from my second attempt.

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