Now we'll keep the same timing - again taking one second for the coin to move across the page. But we'll change the spacing by slowly easing out of position number 1 and easing gradually into position number 25.

It still takes one second for the coin to get over there. It has the same timing - but there is very different movement because of the different spacing. Both start together - and both hit the middle together - but the spacing is quite different. And so the action is very different.

You could say that animation is the art of timing. But you could say that about all motion pictures.

The most brilliant masters of timing were the silent comedians: Charlie Chaplin, Buster Keaton, Laurel and Hardy.

Certainly for a film director, timing is the most important thing. For an animator, it's only half the battle. We need the spacing as well. We can have a natural feel for timing, but we have to learn the spacing of things.

One other thing: The bouncing ball example is often used to show animation 'squash and stretch' - that is, the ball elongates as it falls, flattens on impact with the ground and then returns to its normal shape in the slower part of its arc.

It might squash and stretch this way if it was a very soft ball with not much air in it, but what

I've found is that you can get a good enough effect with a rigid coin - provided the spacing of it was right - so this added technique is not always necessary. Certainly a hard golf ball isn't going to bend all over the place. In other words, if you do this squishy squashy thing too much, everything comes out a bit 'sploopy', like it's made of rubber. Life ain't like that. At least most of it ain't. More about this later.

Golf Ball Bounce
Golf ball bounce, 1951

Having established all this, let's go to lesson one:

Christmas Carol 1972

Stills from Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol, 1972. We're starting to get better. I got my first Oscar for this half-hour film made originally for TV. You wouldn't think a lot of this was drawn by Bugs Bunny animators! It couldn't have been done without Ken Harris who carried the load on Scrooge. Towards the end, Chuck Jones (the Executive Producer) lent us Abe Levitow, a great unsung animator with majestic qualities. We also had help from Disney alumni George Nicholas and Hal Ambro. My own stalwarts were Richard Purdum. Sergio Simonetti and Roy Naisbitt.

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