Intermediate Animation: Physics of Animation (online course)

Everything around us is affected by the laws of physics and everything that we animate, no matter the style, is also governed by these same rules set forth by nature.

The laws of physics still apply even when we caricature real life, and exaggerating these laws can be very challenging. A good understanding of the forces present around us is important as we create the illusion of believable physics in our animated environment. But we do not need to study complex physical or mathematical laws to understand how the world works - we see it in action all the time. We know what it looks like, and so will our audience. They might not understand why things work in a certain way but our audience will know when something feels wrong.

It is therefore important, as animators, that we have a working understanding of some of the basic principles of physics so we can recreate a believable world for our characters.

Our animation style will determine how we interpret these principles of physics. During this course we will tackle all the differences and similarities between animation styles while dealing with the laws of science. Visual Effects animation, as similar as it is to Feature animation can also be very far apart in its interpretation of the physical laws. We will study these various styles, discuss the reasons and motivations behind each motion and clarify any ambiguity that you might encounter.

This course, The Physics of Animation, is at its core, about Inertia. It will focus on animating objects in a state of rest and in motion, and the consequences of changing between states. We will study and discuss the effects of internal and external forces and describe the application of energy transfer in animation.

We will animate, and step by step, describe our thinking process behind a character in a variety of motions. We will go into details about spacing and timing, and demonstrate how to vary them in order to achieve specific physical effects.

In the end, you will have a better understanding of what makes an object feel heavy or light, slow or fast, realistic or exaggerated and how to easily switch between “styles” while paying close attention to the forces around us. Making motion believable is as simple as understanding the science behind its motivation.

Main animation subjects of this online course

  • Laws of Motion in Animation
  • Physics of Body Mechanics
  • Principles of Animation
  • Exaggerating Physics

Course Information

Duration: 3 months (12 weeks)
Start Date: June 1st, 2014
Start Date: September 1st, 2014
Instructor: Joe Bowers
Reviewing instructor: To Be Announced
Prerequisites: Basic Animation Skills
Price: $1497 USD (or $499 monthly)
Promo Price: $1347 USD (or $449 monthly)

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