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#AD4EVER Back-To-Basic: The Final – All Good Things Must Come To An End

This is our final post of #AD4EVER Back-to-Basic series. We hope this series could serve as your future reference guide. Besides just teaching you some classic animation techniques, we hope that we have also inspired you to be even more creative and make your own animation.

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This week, we are ending the series with another classic animation technique, Stretch and Squash. It is arguably the most important animation principle from the Twelve Basic Principles of Animation introduced by Disney animators, as mentioned in the second tutorial. It focuses on the shape of the objects in an animation, so that the sense of flexibility that many real life objects have are also captured. This technique is crucial in bringing your animation to life!

What is Stretch and Squash?

In real life, the shape of solid objects remains the same regardless of its movement. But how about the shape of a water drop as it is dripping down onto the floor? The water drop looks like it is being pulled in the direction it is dripping. Its shape changes and captures the motion. Immediately after the water drop hits the floor, its shape flattens and then the water drop splashes out. Based on this principle, solid objects in animations are drawn with flexibility and their shape changes as they move.

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Focusing on the change in the objects’ shape in animation, this principle is known as “Stretch and Squash”. Taking a bouncing ball as example; the ball squashes when it hits the ground and stretches just before and after. By stretching and squashing the objects, even though this would make it less realistic, the movements are emphasized and it adds more dynamic to the animation as the objects look less rigid.

Important rule: Volume never changes

Regardless of how the object is being stretched and squashed, its volume never changes and must remain constant. If this rule is not followed, the object would appear to grow when stretches and shrink when squashes.

Now that we have finished explaining the theory, it is time to put it into practice. The first step to mastering the Stretch and Squash technique is to start from the basic, so let’s begin with drawing a bouncing ball following a particular track.

How it is done

Open a new project

Insert a blank page onto the background layer of the new project.

1

Mark the path

Stay on the background layer, set the scene and sketch out the path for the bouncing ball.

2

Do a rough sketch of the ball

Using a different color, draw the position of the ball on the path to guide you in the next few steps.

3

Stretching

At the beginning, the ball is still perfectly rounded. But as it is falling down, the shape stretches downwards.

4

Squashing

Until it hits the side, its shape changes again and the ball is squashed against the wall before bouncing out and going back to the stretched shape.

5

Sketch the rest

Apply the same principle for the rest of the path and remember to keep the motion of the movement in mind.

6

Draw the ball

Once this is done, move onto layer 1. Pick a brush and color, and then begin drawing the ball according to the draft on the background layer frame by frame. You may turn on the Onion Skin to help.

7

Fine tune it

After drawing the ball, play the animation to check the quality and alter the speed of the moving ball as desired. Make any adjustments and add more frames if needed. If you want to ball to move slower, draw the ball in each frame closer to each other. For faster movements, draw it further away in each frame.

8

Add the finishing touch

Finish your animation by adding some colors to it and painting the background. So this is the Stretch and Squash technique.

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We at Kdan are always welcoming new ideas and feedbacks, so drop us a message across our different social media platforms (Facebook, Twitter), or write a comment on AniZone. You can even let us know which animation technique you would like to learn or tell us if you need some individual help with animating. We love hearing from you!

Ciao for now!

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About the author

Charmaine Cheung

As a graduate in languages from the University of Bristol, England, Charmaine is currently working in Hong Kong, specialised in marketing and corporate communications. She has a strong international background, is fluent in English, Chinese and German, and has lived and work in the UK, Germany, Taiwan and Hong Kong.

She has been doing some projects and blogging for Kdan Mobile since 2015.

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