Hello,

It's been a while since I've posted here. I made a post about a year ago on a basic stop motion setup. Well, I haven't been doing stop motion for about a year now, because I've been practicing drawing and doing other things. I hope I can consistently practice this year to see improvement a year from now.

But! I'm back to do stop motion animation again, and I was wondering if some people could give me feedback on my animations? I've been starting off with the basics, so I'm not doing any advanced animations yet.

Here is a bouncing ball animation that I made. I shot it on ones at first, then I put it on two's. (I just shot this a few hours ago if you are wondering)

Thank you!

Porter

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I can't get the clips to open in the browser, had to download them to see them, but they worked fine once I did. The animation looks great!! It looks like you've got that licked, even including squash and stretch. I'd say it's time to try some of the other basic stuff, or just start working with puppets. Or maybe incorporate bouncing into a little super short film, which makes it more fun than just doing the simple bounce thing over and over. You might want to work on getting a better lighting setup. 

Hey Strider,

Thanks for the feedback! I wasn't expecting my animation to look super good, but like many people say, you are your own worst critic. 

I do need a better lighting setup. My animation space is in my room, so my room is very small, my bed is literally touching my desk, so things are a bit tight. I might need to rearrange some things to make room for a set in the future or make room for lights. Today I just used another lamp I have lying around to light up my shots more, and my shots look a lot better now. But I plan on buying a light kit from amazon sometime. One of those photographer ones that are around $50.

I made a puppet in December, and it isn't really good. But, for my first try I learned a lot. I didn't put in any epoxy "bones" so it's difficult to pose as you can just bend the wire wherever. I sewed two pieces of fabric together around the armature, then I stuffed it with cotton. I then added tie downs into the feet. I plan on making another armature sometime soon with epoxy bones. 

Another exercise I tried today was a whipping piece of clay and a heavy ball falling to the ground. I'm learning a lot and having fun. My next exercise I want to try is the pendulum exercise and an arm waving. I will post those exercises sometime soon. 

Oh, and I wonder why the clip couldn't open in the browser. Maybe because it's an MP4 file? I don't know. I'll try a different format.

Thanks again!

Porter

A very nice bit of bouncing!  I'd say the slow-down at the top of the arc is maybe a bit too exaggerated, I can't really believe it would stay up that long and then fall that fast... unless it had a tiny pair of wings beating furiously to keep it aloft, but ultimately failing... actually it would be great if it was a chicken!  (That would add character, and maybe the beginnings of a story, which would make it more interesting for viewers like Strider was saying.)  But a good exercise.

Amazingly, your videos did open in my browser - a very outdated version of Safari (OSX 10.6.8 Snow Leopard) that no longer plays Youtube videos or uploads images to FB, I have to go to Chrome to do those things now.  

Most likely I just didn't wait long enough for them to load..  

Hey Nick, thank you for your feedback! I appreciate it. 

I got to admit, I felt like the animation was a little too fast and zippy. Kind of like you were saying? The slow down to fall is pretty fast.

I appreciate your critique and I will use it in my next bouncing ball exercise. I think my next approach will be to use more consistent movements? For example, I shouldn't use a bunch of small movements at the beginning of the bouncing ball then all of a sudden it is at the top of the arc. I should kind of keep the movements relatively close to each other. If that makes any sense.  

Interesting about your comment on the ball being a chicken! I think that's something I need to keep most important in my animations. Character. I need to get creative and make something interesting for people to watch.

And that is what this medium is all about, storytelling. I have a lot of story ideas, I just feel extremely limited by my skill level right now, so I either sketch my ideas out or just write a quick idea down for later times. 

Also, I'm glad the video opened in your browser. 

Thank you again for the feedback. I will be applying it to my next animation. 

Porter

I had a bouncing basketball in one of my films, and I cheated - I rolled a miniature basketball down a chute that curved up at the bottom, and filmed it live. (It was on 16mm film  and wire removal was not so successful.)   And of course it looked right.   You could try shooting something bouncing on video, then look at it frame by frame to see what it did.  Those physics things like a bouncing ball, a falling tree, or a pendulum, where you don't have a creature choosing to go faster or slower, can only go at the speed and direction an object of that mass and length is going to go at.  And somehow we can tell if they aren't pretty close to right, even though we couldn't say how many frames it ought to take.  So a bit of reference video to give you a basis to start from is not a bad idea.  But then you can play with it a bit.

Works nicely. FWIW maybe the ball should bounce quicker for the last few bounces, as it is travelling less far each bounce, and it should take a little more time to come to a halt. 

If you want it to move with more accurate physics just make the horizontal spacing even and the arcs parabolic.  Ie if you draw a bunch or evenly spaced horizontal lines and draw parabolic arcs through them, the gravity should be perfect.   (Or you can draw gravity spacing [1,3,5,7,9,etc] through the horizontal lines to get a perfect parabolic arc)

(To get slightly more complicated>>) How many frames it takes to fall from the top of the arc will determine how high the ball falls from.  You can use an online free fall calculator, or do the maths.  I made a spread sheet so I can just look it up.    Your ball in ones takes about 8 frames from its highest point, and so (at 24fps) falls from 54cm on the first bounce.  In 2's it takes 16 frames and so falls from 2.18 metres.  From this we could measure the size of your ball.

But of course once you know whats technically right, you might want to take some artistic license.  Yours has a nice cartoony exaggeration, but you should avoid easing into the ground. 

Correction:. I should have said; ie if you draw a bunch or evenly spaced VERTICAL lines and draw parabolic arcs through them, the gravity should be perfect.
Vertical lines to represent the horizontal motion path.

Hello guys, thank you all so much for the wonderful tips. 

I found some bouncing ball reference films online, and those have helped me a lot. 

I just spent 2 hours on this walk cycle. I decided to just go for it and build a puppet and see what it's like to animate a biped.

Well, it was a lot harder than I thought. I was battling gravity, the puppet itself, and then walk cycle basics.

This shot is 24 FPS, on two's. One's is too fast for this shot.

But I loved it. I loved doing this shot, it really challenged me. I decided to make this guy trip at the end. 

Thank you all again, and tell me what you think! It's my first try, so I just will have to try again and keep getting better. I feel like I could've done a lot more to make it better, but I want to see what you guys think.

John, I will try to use accurate physics from what you explained. It seems pretty technical, but I will try it out. I did watch out for the easing into the ground in this shot. I could see why that was wrong in my other shot.

Thank you all again,

Porter

Also, I included a bouncing ball remake. I wanted to see if I could get some good movement without squash and stretch. And I got another lamp to help the lighting in my shots.

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Have you seen the examples of the principles on this page - The Animated Cartoon Factory? (< That's a link)

Maybe you have, but if not I think they're excellent. I just quickly watched the new shots and in both everything is moving too fast. I slowed playback down a bit and they look much better. If I were you I would shoot at 12 fps - I don't really see a point in shooting each frame twice - that was what had to be done on film because it needs to run at 24 fps all the time, but with digital video we can select our own frame rate. If you do end up outputting to a final format that requires a specific framerate (maybe 24 if it's to blu-ray or film, or 29,97 if it's NTSC video etc) your software will automatically handle the conversion. There are reasons why you might sometimes want to shoot 2 frames at a time, but they're pretty technical and no need to do it for practice shots. 

Anyway, what I was going to say before I got side tracked - I would slow down the animation. You need each step to be several more frames than they are now. Every beginner starts off this way, trust me. I think it's largely due to impatience - you want to hurry up and finish a shot so you can watch it, or you just don't really understand yet how slow of a process stopmotion really is. It requires that you slow yourself down and become infinitely patient - it's like a zen mindset. I remember the shot where I first found my 'animator's patience' - I wasn't really even aware that I was impatient until I found myself working in this timeless state all of a sudden where time seemed not to exist anymore and there was absolutely no reason to do anything fast at all. Then from being in a hurry to just move the major limbs around and cut corners, I was able to slow way down and animate movements of individual fingers for a long time. It made a massive difference in my work. 

Your lighting is looking much better by the way, and your animation is showing a good use of the principles already. Some nice flowy movement in that walk. It looks like you might be working the guy too hard though, his feet are starting to bleed!! 

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