Animation challenge #1 – Ball bouncing in place, no decay (loop)

I’ve decided to summarise my thoughts on the challenge at the beginning as I know a lot of people aren’t in to reading enough to go through this post. The descriptions are really for my own benefit when I come back to these but I hope you enjoy the funky gifs! See any issues? Let me know in the comments!


What we (I) learned: Squash & Stretch, Timing

Thoughts: Relatively easy but great to play around with to convey different densities to the object. Really fun to get creative with even if it is stretching the rules a little.


I decided to approach this with a very simple style, using a simple line as the floor and a basic circle to act as the ball – this is my first animation challenge, let’s take it easy, alright.

Now, I have done my reading and I’m beginning to familiarise myself with the 12 basic principles of animation. That being said, I think the only two principles demonstrated by the bouncing ball animation are squash & stretch and timing. The main principle in this exercise is squash & stretch and not to toot my own horn or anything but I’m happy with how I’ve demonstrated it, let’s take a look.


I felt like the easiest way to go about this would be to have the ball drop into frame then bounce back up out of frame again; this not only makes it easier to loop but I feel it helps provide suspension of disbelief. What I mean by this is that of course the ball can’t keep that same momentum forever… but what’s happening when it goes out of frame? Is some mechanical arm knocking it back down? Like an incredibly one-sided game of Pong? Maybe it’s like that scene from Forrest Gump where he’s playing table tennis alone? Who knows. I’m happy with how this turned out, I feel if I had stretched the ball further on the point of impact it would have appeared more like a water balloon and less likely to be able to bounce back up out of frame, though I would like to try animating different densities of the ball in future.


Disregarding my whole talk on suspension of disbelief just now I decided to alter the animation so that the ball is constantly bouncing up and down between two surfaces. I feel like the timing of the ball hitting one surface then reaching the next works well although after watching this loop for the 500th time it’s getting hard to tell if it’s a good start or not. I can’t help but pick out things that I think could be adjusted but I guess it’s good to be getting into that mindset.


And lastly we have an additional gif for your viewing pleasure. I know this isn’t technically within the rules of the exercise (bouncing in place) but I was just having so much fun animating the ball, practicing squash and stretch and trying to make it more convincing that I couldn’t resist. I initially wanted to have the ball bouncing inside a square at a different angle but after 10 minutes of drawing out an accurate path of trajectory I realised that really is a bit much… maybe next week.

If you’ve stuck around this long well done! Thank you for reading my post and I hope you found it informative… or at least vaguely interesting. I’ll be back tomorrow with the next challenge!