Obstacle Course

Our next task was to animate a bouncing ball in an obstacle course, the obstacle course already constructed by Alec. For this we need to think not only about squash and stretch but arc and timing


Arc is breaking stiff and rigid poses. With very few exceptions, movements are not in straight lines but in curves (arcs). This discovery changed how animators depicted movement as now simple actions such as walking or throwing had an arc in its beginning, middle or end.

This is important as “it is one of the most basic requirements  for the scene. Drawings made as straight in-betweens complete completely kill the essence of the action.”

Alan Becker sums most of this up very nicely.

7. Arcs – 12 Principles of Animation


Timing is crucial in animation. To be able to understand a scene it needs to be clear, expressive and simple. For that a scene needs to be given enough  time to come across to the viewer. If there are very few drawings required to put the image across, the scene will be quicker than more complex and more drawings requires the action to be slower. The expression of the character effects the timing of the action.

“The varying speed of those movements determined wither the character was lethargic, excited, nervous, relaxed. Neither acting nor attitude could be portrayed without paying very close attention to timing” – Illusion of Life

Alan Becker not only explains this gets across the concept of drawing on ones or two. As standard film is in 24fps. Drawing on the first of every frame would give a slower action than drawing on the second of every frame giving a faster portrayal.

9. Timing – 12 Principles of Animation

Applying the knowledge to our obstacle, our group decided a route for the ball to go along with the interaction of the platforms. Below is the plan we had for the obstacle course.

Our Plan for the Obstacle Course

The obstacle course reminded me of a PC game i played a long time ago called ‘The incredible Machine even more contraptions. This had a similar concept the Maya exercise; i found it helpful when visualising an obstacle course!

The Incredible Machine; Even more Contraptions 


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