// Animation timing is key. Excuse the pun, but as an animator must plot out and carefully plan the key poses or drawings in her animation, timing must also be as carefully considered or else the animation will completely fail in communicating a message to the audience. Timing is weight, force, mood, and character. Timing affects […]" />
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Book Review: Timing for Animation

Monday, November 30th, 2009 | Article by Brooke Shay

Animation timing is key. Excuse the pun, but as an animator must plot out and carefully plan the key poses or drawings in her animation, timing must also be as carefully considered or else the animation will completely fail in communicating a message to the audience. Timing is weight, force, mood, and character. Timing affects planning in storyboards, camera moves, and editing. Timing relies on music, its intended audience, and the artists who employ it. In today’s competitive industry of computer animation a good sense of timing is one thing that will set animators apart. More than ever, it is easy to “get by” with what a computer will do for you, but to truly master the art you must understand the tools available to you and use them to your advantage. Animators working completely in 3D will especially benefit from understanding timing in traditional animation. It will only make their workflow more efficient and allow them to craft their animation with greater ease and control.

Timing for Animation is a great resource for those artists looking to develop their sense of timing and discover how certain animation effects are created. Overall the information is organized in an easily understood layout with plenty of illustrated examples for the beginning animator. The book does contain numerous guidelines for timing specific actions and could easily be used as a reference for the more experienced animator as well. Even though Timing for Animation has been updated to include information applying to computer animation, much of the content still applies primarily to traditional 2D animation, such as the section discussing effects. This information should also be considered even for 3D animation and may help to bring in new styles based on old techniques to the 3D medium.

Timing for Animation begins with a very basic explanation of the foundation of planning sequences or scenes with storyboarding for your medium and continues into the established frame per second speeds for film, television, and the internet. Authors Whitaker and Halas go on to explain various topics from physics to animation principles to effects animation to animating animals. In each topic the focus is primarily on proper timing to give the audience an accurate and appropriate read of the action being animated. For example, in the section discussing quadrupedal animation, various types of quadrupeds are examined in both a walk and a run or gallop. Although the book gives a very basic breakdown to start from, it does discuss exactly how you would want to time the movement and which legs of the quadruped would move in a given situation, in what order they would move, and how they would move. It’s a good starting place for those wanting to learn to animate animals in both 2D and 3D.

Although touched upon briefly, there are several times that 3D and 2D computer animation are referenced in the new edition. Timing, specifically as it applies to these media are included in the following topics; storyboarding, camera moves, multiple characters and crowd animation, motion capture techniques, editing software,

The few moments where the original 2D text does not make sense in a 3D animation environment can be confusing for those that do not have an understanding of traditional animation and rely on computer programs for inbetweening. However, this method of animating in 3D does not give the animator full control of their art and should be avoided. Learning the traditional methods in Timing for Animation will allow even experienced computer animators an opportunity to gain better control of their animation and experience a more efficient workflow with practice.

As a reference tool – the basics in timing across the board are covered – this book should be included in an animator’s library. It would be especially helpful as a reference for those animators that are learning the craft and do not yet feel they have an inherent understanding of proper timing for maximum communication with and reaction from the audience. This book works as an excellent overview of timing in various aspects of animation. For more advanced animators, this book does not go too deeply into any specific subject, such as timing for complicated acting shots, and that information would have to be sought out elsewhere.

About Timing for Animation

Written by two professional animators, this text for students and professionals describes the principles of timing for hand drawn animation. Their approach is based on the idea that timing in animation is ultimately based on the laws of movement in nature. A sampling of topics includes rotating objects, timing an oscillating movement, and synchronizing animation to speech. Numerous drawn examples in b&w accompany the text.

Textbook Information

ISBN-13: 9780240517148
Edition Number: 2
Publisher: Elsevier Science & Technology Books

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