How to Animate a Bouncing Ball?

In this tutorial, we will show you how to animate a bouncing ball. We will discuss the various steps involved in creating a bouncing ball animation. Mastering this sort of animated bouncing ball is the key to your animation career because this will enable you to develop your animation abilities.

The Tutorial at the beginning level will allow you to move through the Animation stages, but you need a rudimentary understanding in order to head further. It is fundamental to primary stages of Animation to first go through the Basics.

This animation lesson explains the essential concepts of animation, namely :

  • Arcs
  • Timing/Spacing
  • Squash and Stretch
  • Volume

To begin animating a bouncing ball, let’s take a minute to refresh ourselves on all these concepts.

Arcs

So few organisms evolved moving in a way that has precise manmade in and out or up and down. The most common living creatures move in a circular path, typically referred to as a circle. Animations must reflect the laws of nature. Most objects follow an arc or a path when they’re in motion, and your animations need to model this. For example, when a ball is thrown up, it follows an arc because of the movement of gravity acting on it.

The ball falls in a circular arc through space. Most objects move in a circular arc of some kind. If the ball were to move in a perfectly straight line between the top and bottom of the bounce, the motion would look very artificial.

Timing

This principle states that the appearance of animation greatly relies on the number of frames inserted between each direct action. Basically, the more often frames are more frequent, the longer the animation will take. The more often frames occur close together, the faster the motion occurs. The fewer drawings you have, the faster the movement occurs.

As the ball falls, it’s accelerated by gravity, the distance between successive frames increasing until it reaches the ground. As the ball bounces off the ground, the opposite happens as it rises: at first, the ball moves very quickly; then it slow governed by gravity from the high point of its bounce.

Squash and stretch

The first principle of animation is “squash and stretch.” The principle is that animated objects will get longer or flatter to emphasize their speed, momentum, weight, and mass.

The quantity that an object squashes and stretches (recites profondément la proportion de la masse) indicates something about its mass. The more squash and stretch, the softer the object. The less squash and stretch, the stiffer the object.

As the ball falls to the ground, it squashes. When it bounces back off the ground, it stretches. Note how quickly the ball returns to its circular shape. Too much squash and stretch can make an object appear mushy.

Volume

A simple principle that is important to keep in mind is that the Volume of the object should remain constant. Commonly, this is the thing that gets people in trouble during their very first attempts at “squash and stretch.” As they lengthen the ball while it is in the air, they have a tendency to shorten it as it touches the ground. This is what you must NOT do. The ball’s overall volume must remain consistent so as the ball gets longer, it also gets narrower. When it gets flatter, it also gets wider.

The ball must remain roughly the same size as it squashes and stretches. If the soccer ball stretches too much, it would be physically larger. This is somewhat fascinating to behold, and quite amusing.

Steps to animate a bouncing ball :

bouncing ball animation
The arc which the ball will follow

So we are going to follow this Arc path that the ball will follow.

bouncing ball animation
Contact and Up Poses
bouncing ball animation
Inbetweens

Then Place the ball according to the above image or Follow the Instructions Below:-

  1. In frame one make the first pose, that is place the ball at its highest point from where you want to drop the ball.
  2. In frame Seven make the Second Pose, and place the ball where it will hit the ground. But keep in mind it should follow the Arc which is mentioned above in the Image.
  3. In frame twelve make the third pose which is Up in the Air.
  4. In frame seventeen make the fourth pose which is again touching the ground.
  5. In frame Twenty he makes the Fifth pose which is again up in the air
  6. In frame twenty-six make the sixth pose, which is again hitting the ground
  7. In frame twenty-eight make the seventh pose which is up in the air
  8. In Frame Thirty Two make the last pose which is eight poses that are touching the ground.

Adding Squash and Stretch

So in the Above Points, we showcased where and how to place your ball. Once you have put the animation, it’ll somewhat resemble the picture below. And we can readily observe that there is no squash and stretch in the ball and it’s appearing robotic. Let’s now be adding squash and stretch to it.

bouncing ball animation
Ball Bounce Without Squash and Stretch

Each time the ball fell to the earth, we would squash and stretch it and every single time it bounced back in the air, we would make it return to its original form. So in frames 7,17,26, we would squash and stretch the ball and in frames 12,21,28, we would make the ball retain its original shape. So whenever the squash and stretch animation was added, it would resemble the below image.

bouncing ball animation
Ball Bounce With Squash And Stretch

Afterward, we will Add the Inbetweens Poses which will help improve the animation’s visual appeal. Furthermore, it will add inbetweens poses. Then we will finish by adding them. The finished animation will just look like this.

bouncing ball animation
Ball Bounce With Squash And Stretch And Inbetweens

Download Maya tutorial files

We’ve supplied you with Maya files for this Tutorial to use as a guide so that you can explore yourself. Down Below is the Link Button.