Follow Through Animation

By far the most important discovery was what we call Squash and Stretch. When a fixed shape is moved about on the paper from one drawing to the next, there is a marked rigidity that is emphasized by the movement. In real life, this occurs only with the most rigid shapes, such as chairs and dishes and pans. Anything composed of living flesh, no matter how bony, will

Disney Animation Through The YearsFollow Through Animations

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show considerable movement within its shape in progressing through an action. A good example of this is the bent arm with swelling bicep straightened out so that only the long sinews are apparent. The figure crouched is obviously contracted into itself, in contrast to the figure in an extreme stretch or leap. The face, whether chewing, smiling, talking, or just showing a change of expression, is alive with changing shapes in the cheeks, the lips, the eyes—only the wax figure in the museum is rigid.

The squashed position can depict the form either flattened out by great pressure or bunched up and pushed together. The stretched position always shows the same form in a very extended condition. The movement from one drawing to the next became the very essence of animation. A smile was no longer a simple line spread across a face; it now defined the lips and their relation to the cheeks. Legs were no longer bent pipes or rubber hoses; they swelled as they bent and stretched to long flexible shapes.

Immediately the animators tried to outdo each other in making drawings with more and more squash and stretch, pushing those principles to the very limits of solid draftsmanship: eyes squinted shut and eyes popped open: the sunken cheeks of an "inhale" were radically different from the ballooned cheeks of a blowing action; a mouth chewing on a straw was first shown far below the nose, and then it actually was compressed up beyond the nose (which changed shape as well) in showing the chewing action. Through the mid-thirties, everyone was making two drawings for every conceivable action, and by working back and forth between the squash position and the stretch we found we could make each position stronger in both action and drawing.

i 'aid chewed, his nt up and down, was no matching in his face or

Lion Drawing

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Les Clark Mouse Chewed

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In this early animation, the action is well staged hut very rigid and stiff. There is no squash and stretch, follow through. or feeling of weight. These actions had a charm and a vitality, hut they could not support more than a six-minute short.

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The famous half-filledflour sack, guide to maintaining volume in any animatahle shape, and proof that attitudes can be achieved with the simplest of shapes.

The best advice for keeping the distended drawings from looking bloated or bulbous, and the stretched positions from appearing stringy or withered, was to 'Consider that the shape or volume was like a half-filled flour sack. If dropped on the floor, it will squash out to its fullest shape, and if picked up by the top corners, it will stretch out to its longest shape; yet it will never change volume. We even made drawings of the flour sack in different attitudes—erect, twisted, doubled-over—suggesting emotions as well as actions. That forced us to find the most direct way, the simplest statement, for if we added any extra lines to amplify an expression it was no longer a flour sack. We found that many little interior lines were not necessary since the whole shape, conceived properly, did it all. These lessons were applied to Mickey's body, or his cheeks, to Pluto's legs, or his muzzle, or even to Donald's head.

On the sports page of the daily newspapers we found wry

Flower Sack Animation

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uash and pplied to e strength r a feeling

Ball Sak Human Body

a gold mine that had been overlooked. Here were great photos showing the elasticity of the human body in every kind of reach and stretch and violent action. Our animation principles were clearly evident in the bulges and bumps that contrasted to long, straight thrusts. Mixed in with these contortions were examples of the whole figure communicating joy, frustration, concentration, and all the other intense emotions of the sports world. These examples opened our eyes and started us observing in a new way.

The standard animation test for all beginning artists was to draw a bouncing ball. It was quickly rendered, easily changed, and surprisingly rewarding in terms of what could be learned. The assignment was merely to represent the ball by a simple circle, and then, on successive drawings, have it drop, hit the ground, and bounce back into the air, ready to repeat the whole process. We could have either a forward movement progressing the ball across the paper, or have all the action take place in one spot, allowing us, through a cycle of the drawings, to make the ball bounce continuously. It seemed like simplicity itself, but through shows de-Hfting his id in front While the recognizor than a iction.

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Rubber Ball Gag

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Squash And Stretch

the test we learned the mechanics of animating a scene while also being introduced to Timing and Squash and Stretch.

We were encouraged to change the shape of the ball in the faster segments of the bounce, making an elongated circle that would be easier to see, then quickly to flatten it as it hit the ground, giving a solid contact as well as the squashed shape of a rubber ball in action. This change at the bottom also gave the feeling of thrust for the spring back into the air, but if we made an extra drawing or two at that point to get the most out of this action, the ball stayed on the ground too long, creating weird effects of hopping instead of bouncing. (Some tests looked more like a jumping bean from Mexico than any kind of ball.) If we misjudged our arrangement of the drawings or the distance between them, we created apparitions reminiscent of an injured rabbit, or an angry grasshopper, or, most often, a sleepy frog. However, many of the circular forms just seemed to take off as if they had a life of their own.

The beginning artists were an inventive group, and all manner of variations were tried, each revealing something about the man who had done the animation and what he considered important in the scene. Some men added distinction by starting with a big bounce, followed by shorter and shorter ones as the ball gradually lost its spring. Some put the action in perspective to show how well they could figure a complicated assignment, or they added a stripe around the ball to show how much it turned during the whole action. These men were grabbed quickly by the Effects Department, which specialized in a mechanical type of animation. Those more interested in a livelier type of entertainment preferred surprise endings: the ball exploding on contact, or crashing like a broken egg on the second bounce, or sprouting wings and flying off.

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