Welcome to the Carse and Waterman Animation Tutorials! We’ve put together a visual guide of the animation principles, which we will be adding to overtime to help newcomers learn the essential rules of good animation. These principles we originally formulated by the senior animators of Disney Animation and are essential to any person wishing to be a competitive, employable animator in today’s expanding industry. Practice these principles until they become second nature and then you can really start to enjoy the amazing art of animation.
1. Timing and Spacing
Timing and Spacing literally make up the fabric of animation, not the essence (that’s character); but the tangible information that makes up the illusion of movement. The two work hand in hand and have a very consequential relationship with one another. Spacing of movement equals the timing of an action and the timing of an action informs the spacing required to make a movement (That almost sounds mathematical!).
Spacing is how much you choose to move an object (i.e. a ball or an arm or a spinning wheel) from one frame to the next. Its the measurement of that distance from one micro position to another.
As things speed up spacing increases in distance. As things slow down spacing decreases in distance until the object is stationary. As you can see in fig.2, the lighter ball has shorter spacing gaps than the heavier ball, because it is falling slower.
Spacing could be interpreted as a measurement of energy. Any moving object has energy which it is using up as it moves. Think of a rolling marble on a flat surface, it gradually slows down as it runs out of energy and in spacing terms; the movements get smaller and smaller per frame.
Timing is the result of your spacing choices. The more you move your object per frame the faster the timing is. The smaller the movements you make the slower your timing is. In fig.3 wanted the heavy ball to fall quickly, so moved it a lot each frame, but I wanted the bouncy ball to fall lightly, so I only moved that one small amounts each frame.
Timing is informed by character acting or physics, but that's another topic!