Bouncing Ball

Final Animation

Above is the finished animated ball scene. I have used two balls into one scene so I could properly express the weight of two different balls (of the same size.) I am very happy with the outcome – however there are certain aspects that I have noticed (and my tutor) with the timing of the red ball. The red ball just needs some further attention as it appears to be changing speed during the time it is bouncing over the pyramid and just after. I’m just going to edit more frames into this area and remove some in other parts. I also feel that the blue ball rolls a bit too far for a ball that has lost its bounce – I might try to experiment with this part also to see if I can improve it into a slower halt. I am pleased that I was able to properly show the different in weight in this animation. I really like the way that the first ball interacts with the heavier ball – the bounce of the lighter ball causes the heavier ball to fall of the cube and reveals two balls falling together.

Animation Principles (applying in maya)

Above are the couple of animation tests that I did before committing to the final animation. These are very early and unfinished tests that I did – just to get an idea of the staging and the distance the balls would fall from (the cube) and how fast/high they would bounce. (these tests are very fasts actually.) Although they are very basic they helped me just plan visually how the finished animation would look. I also did explore different ways the balls may fall from the cube. Originally I wanted the heavier ball to move forward, look over the edge, stop, the faster ball to speed infront and jump – bouncing easily over the pyramid. The heavier ball then thinking it could do the same and bounce over the pyramid pulls itself back and fall – however being heavier it simply falls nowhere the pyramid is. The biggest struggles I faced when animating my two balls in one scene was trying to move them in a way that would not be confusing to the audience – as they would be bouncing at the same time. The audience would have to look at two different spots almost at the same time – unless I slowed down certain aspects of the animation.

Above is a collection of animations that I made during the pre-planning and post planning stage. I have made lots like these as they really just let me play about with all the techniques I learnt during class. It also let me just experiment (trail and error) to see what worked and I could potentially use within my final. Doing these tests also improved my confidence with working with the new software Maya. Most of my tests played around with the stretch and squash and how it could change the bouncing ball from a hard material to a soft and squashy one. In my final animation I am not going to use the starch and squash feature because I have decided to use a golf ball and a heavier bath bomb as my reference material – therefore I have included the tests to show how the screech and squash can be applied to the bouncing ball to change the characteristic of it completely. I really like the second animation on the video, it shows a ball that has dropped and squashed very wide (like a water balloon) and then reformed back into its original shape – it is just very fluid and shows a ball bouncing in a very different way.

Ideas and Concepts

So after collecting all my research I have begin trying to come up with my ideas and concept for how I’m actually going to bounce my two balls – and how to make this original. I’m allowed to use just two assets within the scene. So to start with I first decided to put down some initial ideas with some simple several thumbnails and to play around. This stage was very helpful in enabling me to discover what didn’t work well and what elements I thought could evolve.


Author’s own


Author’s own


Author’s own

After drawing the thumbnails – I then selected some of the thumbnails to progress – above and below are the explorations of these ideas. I decided early on, in the planning process that I want to use two balls that are the same size. This way the weight of the balls are the only factor that will express the difference in the balls – and not the size giving away before the balls bounce. The first idea (top, left) show the two balls are separated by a wall (a cube) – the heavier ball bounce dies very soon, however the lighter and more lively ball (by nature) decided to jump about on top of the cube until it is fully squashed to the ground and it can meet the heavier ball which can not bounce as much and is isolated. Although I liked this idea, I felt it might have been a bit to difficult to animate – I would have had to create a character for my ball but for this exercise, I needed to just express the animation and animating two different balls. Some of my other ideas that I looked at to the right looked more at balancing – how would the weight of these ball affect the direction of the objects balancing underneath. I like these ideas because balancing the assets and having them fall with the heavier ball would just help make the ‘weight’ more life like and real. (Below are more ideas to do with balancing)

 Animation Principles

  • Timing/Spacing  You will be given a length of time to animate and you will need to understand timing and spacing to understand what you are capable to do.
  • Pose to Pose/Straight Ahead Animation Working the key poses (keyframe) without the in-betweens. This will help to understand the timing and see how weight works.
  • Ease in and Ease out Nothing starts suddenly or ends suddenly, this is unnatural – so we will need to ease in to the scene and etc. Car being parked, no way you would pull out at 50mph you will slowly ease out! Listening to sound can help to understand this – the bounce of a ball.
  • Squash and Stretch Weight and gravity – can give life to a character or object.
  • Solid Form The original form – which the stretch and squash will return to after it has been stretched.
  • Arcs – The natural arc or a character. For example how far back can our arms reach. London bridge look to the other side of the bridge and you can watch how high the heads rise and fall.
  • Anticipation – Build up. Can other be known as giving character. It gives thought to the character. A object is waiting and thinking about why they are about to do what it is they were about to do. We all share the same emotions, but its our principles (what right and wrong) is the reason why we have thought.
  • Secondary animation -> Primary Animation – The main topic, object or person animation. Secondary animation compliments the primary animation, a man walking down the street, but he is smoking a cigarette or adjusting their glasses.
  • Overlap – The primary stops however other parts continue animating e.g. a       woman stops but her hair moves forward. Following through – if a man is hitting a ball with a bat his arm will follow through with his action even after he has hit the ball.
  • Exaggeration – Exaggeration of our animation can make it more fun and emphasis certain aspects of the animation e.g. ball squash and stretch can suggest the ball bouncing faster or more lively. Furthermore it can give our animation more comedy.
  • Appeal – How appealing are our characters and our animation?
  • Staging – On screen we are telling the audience where to look. Furthermore it is setting up the animation to show our audience where to look. Think about the characters and how the stage can compliment them not hide them. Look to the theater and the set up of their staging to understand better how we can fit staging.


Primary Research


Above are some stills of my primary research – My own live footage. The four images are four different balls that I tried bouncing. A golf ball, a rubber ball, a bath bomb and a marble.

Film Reference bouncing ball

Bouncing ball research

To begin my research for the bouncing ball, I have decided to first research bouncing balls within animation and films in order to help me when I come to animate my own animation. Below are several that are different weights and forces. In addition looking at videos such as these will show me how a bouncing ball has been placed into the scene – the setting and the story of the ball.

 Bravia Sony (

The Sony Bravia in 2010 released an advert to demonstrate the colour that their television have. The advert begins when we see one or two small balls bouncing down a large hill. Suddenly we see thousands of small balls descending down the hill – all different colours. I decided to look at this advert for some video reference as it gives me an idea of how 2 or more balls may interact as well as showing me how high the rubber ball can jump. This video uses close ups and slow motion which is very helpful when I will come to animating my own bouncing ball. In addition this advert gives me a good idea on timing and spacing of a small of this weight. The only bad thing is that there are quite a few balls that are bouncing at the same time which can be confusing – however I will try and focus on a small section of the film instead to solve this problem.

Labyrinth & The Juggler

The Labyrinth

The Labyrinth

Whilst looking for video reference of a ball bouncing I came across the scene in the Labyrinth that features David Bowie (or Michael Moschen) spinning the crystal balls. Although this doesn’t necessarily show us the bouncing ball – I wanted to include this in my research as it shows how a ball can move – and how the weight of a ball can be enhanced or decreased by such exercises. It also just gives me an idea about the weight and spacing of how a ball can fall.  – I did some further research and found a ball juggling man that again shows these same things.  

KashiraSpirited away

I also wanted to find further research into animation and a bouncing ball. Although the references from Spirited away are no actual balls but heads. I still feel that looking at the way they move because of their weight has helped me gather understanding at how a heavier ‘ball’ would move. Furthermore because these heads actually have a character and are not inanimate – it is nice to understand how the animators have emphasised certain moves to give them more life then just a head – especially as they do not talk.

Bugs life

Flik_rockTo understand weight and how my balls can be animated – similar to spirited away I looked at the scene in bugs life when ‘Hopper’ pulls the lid of the seed bank and pours them over another grasshopper. We can get a good sense of how the heavy the seeds are because of the timing that they fall and bounce to the ground. I have also looked at one of the first scenes where ‘Flick’ knocks over one of the rocks. We see a good bounce here that projects the weight of the rock – a heavier material compared to the seeds and the berries.

Harry potter and the order of the phoenix

During one of the scenes in Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix there is a room full of globes that are thrown from their place during a battle against the death eaters. Shows a light ball falling to the ground as it appears the ‘globes’ are very light – almost glass like because they shatter on impact. Nice to watch how this material gravitates and differs compared to a solid ball I’ve already looked at.

Shaun of the dead –

Father of the bride –

High School Musical –

In the Shaun of the dead we see a small boy kicking his ball against the wall. Its very simple, yet displays everything that I will need to reference for a basic ball bounce. Good for my first practice. In the Father of the bride (a family comedy) there is a scene that shows a basketball match between to family members. Watching this footage is just a good source to again touch on the weight and timing that I can refer back to later on. Another basket ball video. What I find useful from this one scene is just the last ten seconds when all the basket balls are frown at once before the camera, so that the bounce is completely caught until it dies out. It also is useful to watch the directions and paths that each ball makes depending on the force it was thrown. As well as the speed it rolls away.

TV maltesars adverts – /

These two Maltesers adverts show a bounce of a single small malteser. I wanted to collect a range of sizes and weight balls for my research and I found this to be perfect for a small ball bounce. In the advert a pregnant lady places her malteser on her stomach and waits for her baby to kick to bounce the ball. It’s a very short bounce but it’s capturing another material than some of the other balls I’ve already collected.

Indiana jones

The-Ball-and-Indie-indiana-jones-1379826-485-330 (2)

Moon despicable me

Despicable Me Gru and Tiny Moon

Both of these films feature a large heavy ball – instead of the average size bouncing ball, I have mostly been looking at. Although these two video references don’t really show the ball bouncing – they are good references for me to understand how weight is shown. At the moment I haven’t properly thought about how I’m going to display the difference of weight among my two balls. They are going to be different and so I will be using video references such as these above to help me to understand how I can clearly show this.

Already Existing Animation tests Animation basic test Above is a animation test that I found online. From this video I can see how another student has explored the idea of a bouncing ball and an ‘asset’ (the potato sack) – They have created a short animation with a story.  The Potato sack is teaching the ball how to bounce right. It actually helps me watch the ball and see the things that are wrong with it in the beginning. The ball changes from just basically rising and falling into a stretchy and bouncy ball that ends up knocking the potato sack over. Other video ref This is a video of a basketball that someone has filmed for their own video reference. This film is very helpful to me as it gives me a better idea of how I will capture my own primary research. The ball has been dropped in several different ways so that the animator will have a variety of shots and experiments to choose from. I hope that when I get to my filming my primary research I can take inspiration from this and capture many bounces.