Principle of Animation 2: Anticipation

“There are only three things in Animation – 1. Antcipation 2. Action 3. Reaction – and these imply the rest. Learn to do these things well, and you can animate well.” – Bill Tytla, Animator extraordinaire.

“1. Tell them what you’re going to do.
2. Do it.
3. Tell them that you’ve done it.”
-Charlie Chaplin.

Excerpt from the Animator’s Survival Kit – Richard Willis (director of who framed roger rabbit). (p.273)
Anticipation is the preparation for an action. It can be hard to gauge, especially if you’re not used to animating at a certain frame rate. Like me, I’m used to 12 frames a sec (shooting in twos), primarily for economy. However, I plan on expanding into 24 frames a second as well. If you don’t anticipate enough, the audience won’t clue in to what’s happening, or what’s about to happen. If you take too long to anticipate, the audience will begin to lose interest. So the timing has to be right. I read in the “Timing of Animation” by Harold Whitaker and John Halas that you might not have time to anticipate a fast action, such as a sucker punch. However, you can counter the lack of anticipation by lengthening the reaction. By doing this the audience can properly see what’s happened and then gauge what happened in the incredibly short time. They even mention a slow down, or a 1 frame freeze between the action and the reaction, in the sucker punch case, it would be when the hit connects.

Anticipation vs no anticipation a video by Alex Harms, demonstrates the effects of two character’s interacting, one with anticipation and one without it.

Gilles Charbonneau explains the concept behind in this 50 second video.

A brilliant video by Scott Peterson explains the Physical Necessity for Anticipation.

I’ll be making some attempts myself. (Before we go one way – first we go the other way. p. 275 Animators survival kit) One thing to note is, the you can shock an audience (either with comedy or horror) by starting an anticipation and then playing at the reaction as something they didn’t expect. For instance, man 1 readies a punch, man 2 ducks at last moment upon noticing something on the ground, punch misses and man 1 hits the wall, causing himself pain.

Here’s one I made in flash. It took me a few hours.

baseball pitcherI think it get’s the basic principle across, however, I do wish I made it much more simplistic in terms of camera angles and zooms. Next time, I think I’ll stick to I side on view so I’ll be done a lot quicker. I only needed to demonstrate anticipation, nothing else. It was also shot in 24 frames a second.

Principle of Animation 2: Anticipation

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