Bouncing Ball Exercise

Why do we practice bouncing balls? Why is it important? In this tutorial, I try to highlight the importance of understanding the bouncing ball animation with a quick exercise.

A lot of people have asked me why we practice the bouncing ball all the time. When I first started working for Disney, one of the first exercises they gave us was animating a bouncing ball. The reasoning behind that is that it is the foundational beginnings of all types of animations. It’s the very basic building block to making and creating more complicated animation.

The first thing we need to ask ourselves is what type of ball do we want to animate? Knowing what it’s made of helps us decide whether we want to exaggerate and make it cartoony or do we want to make it more realistic. Second is the size of the ball. Is it a medium ball? A small ball? Or is it a huge ball? Lastly, what is the density of the ball. We can choose a ball that is light like a balloon or ping-pong ball, or we could choose something heavy like a bowling ball.

Making these choices informs the type of bounce the ball will have. It will dictate it’s velocity, the arcs of the motion and the squash and stretch of the ball. I also cover how all these factors can influence other characteristics of your bounce, like whether there is a spin on the ball.

At the end of the video, I discuss how I take all of the principles of the bouncing ball and apply them to a character, in this case a squirrel jumping leaping from one rock to another.

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