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  1. #1
    Devoted Veteran Crono's Avatar

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    Jul 2007
    end of time

    Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    [center:3l4w5zxc]* We advise you to read Baha's tutorial if you're a beginner. This tutorial is aimed at intermediate+ animators.
    This tutorial is going to go against everything you have ever learned in pivot
    prepare yourselves mortals

    Table Of Contents:

    Chapter One: Easing
    Chapter Two: Movement Aided Spacing (Movement Spacing/M.A.S.)
    Chapter Three: Movement Aided Spacing Described Further
    Chapter Four: Muscle Control
    Chapter Five: Examples Of Movement Aided Spacing


    Chapter One, part one:
    What is easing?
    Easing is a way to show dissipating momentum by slow spacing. Easing is also guideline for beginners. A way to get the basics drilled into their heads. Think of it as an animation principle. If a beginner were to never find out about easing, chances are he/she will never improve. Do not let this make you think that easing is necessary throughout your whole animation career. Once you become good enough, you realize you don't even need easing for every situation. You become aware that all you need is the proper poses, along with proper movement spacing and muscle control.

    Chapter One, part two:
    How Easing Is Incorrectly Portrayed
    Many people see easing as the main rule of animation, and as something that must be applied. Easing has shaped the way animation is portrayed today by means of force. Generally speaking, animators see easing as a guideline to make their animations acceptable. With this however, it makes their animations boring, and generic. Animation has too much boundary nowadays, and these boundaries are false and present due to easing. Easing is a good thing, and is necessary as certain times, but people often mistake it for spacing. This is why easing is thought of so wrongly, generally speaking. You will find a description in the second post of this tutorial.

    Movement Aided Spacing (Movement Spacing/M.A.S.)

    Movement Aided Spacing (Movement Spacing/M.A.S.) is the improved revision of the easing rule.
    What it means is that instead of easing every little thing you do, you only need to "ease" your stop and starts, to a certain extent. Stops and starts can be abrupt however, due to muscle control, which will be explained later in the tutorial.
    Spacing, however, is based solely on what movement your trying to accomplish. The original easing rule was meant for slowing down and speeding up, But what MAS stands for is only when the movement calls for a slow down/speed up, For example a run:


    Tip: Notice how the runs have two phases of running. Rather than the typical 4-5 frames of a run cycle, animate 7-8. This will give the run more personality, and a bit different from other peoples.

    Tip: Notice the back joints barely move at all, this is very true in running. Your limbs are doing most of the work.

    Now as you see, in the run, he doesn't spend a couple of frames floating does he?
    FUCK NO! The poses go from extreme to extreme, without the in between spaces , this is speed. If you add easing into the spaces between it just slow stuff down. Like the example above. You animate each pose equally spaced because he is at a static momentum, if they speed up, you use less poses, they slow down, more poses.

    So if we take the original eased run:

    And remove the easing, only using the extreme poses, we can see that it looks more natural without having the floaty easing it in. It still flows, because of the natural human flow.


    However, the natural human flow isn't the same as the typical animation flow. After removing the in between spaces, you get a realistic, proper run provided my movement spacing.

    Movement Aided Spacing Described Further

    Movement Aided Spacing depends on the movement(s) you're animating, obviously. But it also depends on several other things as well, movement is just the key factor. Animation genre is perhaps just as important as the movement you're animating. With each genre, a different style of spacing is necessary. For example, you don't want to watch a fighting animation with the same spacing as a walk loop or casually paced animation. Fighting animations are about kicking ass, fast moves, even faster reactions, huge amounts of power, and awesome moves!

    Acrobatics is a genre that relies fully on realistic spacing, which movement aided spacing creates. With acrobatics, momentum is a huuuge part of the style. Therefore, it has to be fast and accurate. The poses have to be just right, and the spacing has to coordinate with the momentum. Take an animation I (Crono) made a few months back:


    Notice the stick starts of pulling back to have higher momentum on his initial take off. He jumps, and the flips starts. Notice the spacing is all extreme until the very end of the animation. This is because of the momentum he has built up from the flip. He hits the ground, and rolls off his forearm onto his back, and pushes himself up with all his momentum. There were no breaks at all, and absolutely no easing until the very end.

    Situations in your animation can also effect the kind of spacing you need. Watching an animation with the same continuous spacing, and many different situations is really quite boring. Take Jon's "A Tyrants Wrath" for example. That animation has many,many different situations, and many different styles of spacing. Each character often has it's own dynamic spacing technique.

    Muscle Control

    One of the most important things to keep in mind when animating. This is the reason fights can be so fast, and realistic. Why faster running takes less poses. Muscle control means you can animate anything you want (to a humanly realistic extent), if the movement spacing, and poses are correct. Muscle control and movement spacing rely on each other, because both of them reply on the same basic factors.

    Here is an example of muscle control:
    The arm extending is a great example of muscle control. It springs out very quickly, and is pulled back in just as quick. The defending arm is move accordingly to the extending arm. It slightly jerks, but keeps his fast defended.

    Examples Of Movement Aided Spacing/Muscle Control




    Static Spacing - When the same spacing is used throughout a longer animation
    Dynamic Spacing - When different types of spacing are used in different situations, by different characters, etc in a longer animation
    Movement Aided Spacing - A more realistic, rational type of spacing name devised by Crono and wereZ[/center:3l4w5zxc]
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  2. #2
    Devoted Veteran Crono's Avatar

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    Jul 2007
    end of time

    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial


    Tip: Keep in mind momentum is mass x velocity

    If you think of momentum like an airplane, it takes time to build up and takes time to stop (depending on the mass). It also can't navigate sharp turns instantly. A plane would never slow down and speed up at extremes in flight. Think of this as how your origin (the orange dot) moves in your animation. The origin is the dot that represents momentum, But the other dots/limbs can be directly affected by momentum. The key is too not make it 'rag-doll' , by using muscle control.

    Okay, momentum is a common thing people get wrong, and one culprit is the easing rule. We'll start off simple, a basic across the screen run. Now if you want to show an actual run, you cant use easing. This is because an eased run looks completely wrong, and stupid. Observe this boy hungry pedophile:

    As you can see, instead of keeping his momentum, he looses it at at each hop. When using momentum, it cant be manipulated in directions so easy, it would take a lot of spacing to correctly halt/slow down momentum. Here is how the "momentum line" would look for the Eased Run :
    figure one

    Back to the airplane comparison. A plane wouldn't be able to arch like in figure one. Of course, there are several things that don't count when dealing with different movements and situations, such as wind resistance, friction etc. But in general, a plane is how your momentum should look. Now if we look at the run, it has no arches, it's just a straight path:
    figure two

    Tip: Keep in mind that the only time the plane eases would be if it's coming to a stop, or beginning to move. (for the sake of the example; eased starts are not always necessary because of muscle control and M.A.S.)

    Allow the lines to represent the spacing, or where the onion skin in your animation would be. Because the object, in this case the plane, is at a static momentum; the spaces would be the same lengths.

    Now that we have the proper momentum applied to out running loop, lets observe the finished product:

    Much better Now prepare for Part 2, which is manipulating the path of momentum. It will be up in a few days or so.

    Difference Between Easing and Spacing

    This is going to be a quick explanation of the difference between easing and spacing. I have recently noticed people don't really know the difference, so here I am to explain the difference.

    Easing is the spacing after, or before a movement. Like after someone is running, and they come to a halt, but still move a bit because the momentum. The last bit off movement would be the easing in the segment or movement. Obviously, very different from spacing.

    Spacing is the spaces between your poses, and movements. It's the amount of space you move a particular stick, limb, particle, whatever per frame. Easing only comes into play if it's necessary at stops and starts.

    Here is quick summery of above:

    One MAJOR Concept people need to grasp when dealing with the realism style is what the term easing actually means.

    Easing is the technique used to speed up/slow down. That's it.

    People nowadays seem to think that easing is how you space your frames, and that an animation is made by easing. It's not, it's made by spacing.

    Spacing is how far you space your poses apart.

    Spacing is the key to getting the real style down, other styles overuse easing. Simply change the overuse of easing to well placed spacing and you have the real style idea.
    So now I hope you understand that the real style DOES favor easing, but only in the build up and slow down of momentum. Any other use isn't always necessary, and can be compensated for well thought out spacing.

    Hope that clears shit up. Please people, let me know if this particular part helped you!

    Poses and how they make your animation

    The definition of animation is:

    "Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement."

    So basically, a load of pictures that make shit move. So most people will just think what they want to animate, and just go from A to B, without thinking about the 'inbetweens'. So the animation looks okay, since its doing what its supposed to. But for realistic animation, you need to know your poses for each movement. Then depending on how fast you want to portray your animation, you fill in the spacing between the poses accordingly. The faster the movement, the bigger the spacing. In today's animation, one of the easiest display of animating by poses is a static run:

    Now to make that simple, four frame animation. I just took the extreme poses of the run and only used them. Then when they're displayed, you brain automatically keys in the in between segments.
    Now this run is quite an average velocity. If i wanted to slow down the run, making him slower, I would add smaller spacing to give the illusion of less speed.
    Using the extremes is an old technique that has been used for centuries, even in traditional hand drawn animation.

    The above scan is taken from the Animators Survival Kit, I highly recommend you buy this book if your serious about animation.

    "Animation, it's all in the timing, and in the spacing" - Quote from the Famous animator, Grim Natwick.

    A Quick demonstration is the old bouncing ball example:

    A ball bounces along,

    And where it hits the floor, that's the posing. The impacts where the ball is hitting the ground - that's the pose of the action, the rhythm of where things happen, where the accents, beats, or hits happen.

    And here is the spacing.

    The ball overlaps itself when it's at the slow part of its arc, but when it drops fast, its spaced further apart. That's the spacing. The spacing is how close or far apart those clusters are. That's it. Simple, But it's important. The spacing is the tricky part. Good animation spacing is a rare commodity.

    Manipulating Momentum

    So many people seem to confuse momentum, especially when try to manipulate the direction. The simplest way is to think of the manipulation, as a curve, the faster the momentum, the sharper the curve.

    For Example, this is the wrong way to do it :

    There isn't an arc in this animation, so it seems stiff, not in the joints, just in the flow. You should also NEVER stop if you want it to flow.

    Right way to do it :

    This follows a semi sharp arc

    Doing this preservers the flow, even though its not BANG POW noticeable, It does seem a lot smoother.

    Another reason is because there isn't a stop, it's all about muscle control.

    In this frame, instead of slowing down, I take the momentum and start the moving by moving the origin along the arc the other way. BUT still folding up the body and absorbing the landing, just moving the center ready for the exit maneuver.[/center:jqzbsj2o]
    forum rules staff team forum search [/center:1o6efzo1]

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Jun 2007

    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    Yes! finally a tutorial with truth. lol we always talk about this shit and now people can see exactly what we mean. about proper stiffness and muscle control. this would be awesome if you make it even longer and get into even more detail. Pretty awesome tut you got here.

  4. #4
    Insanity Skype's Avatar

    Join Date
    Apr 2007

    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    This is exactly what I was explaining to .va earlier.

    Abiding the typical "MUST EASE, MUST BE SMOOTH, MUST NOT BE CHOPPY" rules leaves little to no room for creativity, other than effects and backgrounds.

    You don't need backgrounds if you have amazing spacing and a nice style, this is proved by Veng.

    Good tutorial, hopefully some others will break the "mould".

  5. #5
    Enthusiast Pyro Mecha's Avatar

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    Apr 2008

    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    Very well made. Haven't read all of it yet, but with this, it should definitely change the ideals of most animators, and we might even get more veterans with it. You really helped a lot of people. Good job.
    "An expensive watch will never buy you more time" theminimalists
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  6. #6
    Veteran Enthusiast Nour's Avatar

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    Mar 2008
    Orlando, FL

    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    That was a great help.

    Adds a whole new spin on generic animating.


    [center:akkfv4h7]"Fuck off bitch, I've got legos to construct."[/center:akkfv4h7]

  7. #7
    Devoted Veteran Crono's Avatar

    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    end of time

    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    Thanks for the great comments guys, much appreciated

    We will be adding more to this in due time, so expect some more good shit soooon
    forum rules staff team forum search [/center:1o6efzo1]

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Mar 2007
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    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    I think it'd be great if you elaborated more on the tutorial in some places. Maybe go more in depth with things like energy and momentum, etc etc. I started a tutorial on it, and I'd be glad to help you out if you wanna add it. I'm also down for making the examples.

    Honestly, I like most all of it, but I think you should elaborate more on when it is appropriate to use this style of spacing. We don't want a bunch of little Crono's running around. Say, for example, you are one extreme, where you use this style of spacing in almost every animation. Now, Let's say that, someone like, MonkeyM is the other extreme, where he uses almost TOO much easing. It'd be nice to find a median somewhere in between for most people. Obviously, it always depends on what you're animating.

    Just my two cents. Like I said, I'd be glad to help/provide examples/ Give an alternative opinion or a different take so that the tutorial is diverse as possible. Still, absolutely wonderful start. Keep it going.

  9. #9
    Devoted Veteran

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    Aug 2007

    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    I'd call it a realism tutorial because that's mostly what this applies to. I thought it was wrote from a pretty biased stand point. Not all easing is bad, just out of proportion easing if you are going for a realistic style. For someone like me who has a slightly more cartoony style though easing is great and adds flow.

    Don't get me wrong, this is great and should be eye opening to certain people who are accustomed to the generic pivot 'rules', but it just doesn't apply to most styles, and I didn't think you made that very apparent. It was kind of more like 'this is how you should animate, do it this way or it will suck'.

  10. #10
    Fanatic Enthusiast El Lobo's Avatar

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    May 2006

    Re: Crono and Werez present: A Big Ass Tutorial

    That's a badass tutorial but only if you want to do realistic/crono style stuff. Some of the examples could maybe have been a bit better also - but a really nice tutorial overall

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