View Full Version : Perception of Weight

10 October 2004, 12:43 AM
I have a scene where two characters are struggling with one another. The problem is that they appear weightless.

Does anyone have any tips for creating the perception of weight under such circumstances?


10 October 2004, 07:20 AM
Not having seen your wip animation the only thing I can offer is that weight a lot of times is mainly conveyed in the timing/spacing. If they feel weightless there is a good chance that their timing/spacing is not quite on spot. Does that help any?

10 October 2004, 08:15 AM
yes....we need to see some preview.

anyway the problem is the relationship between time and mass of the character....

big masses move themselves with a well definite timing (think to a big BOing 747 that flies front the camera)

other masses follow other timing

need preview

10 October 2004, 09:09 PM
Still new to animation and without seeing the preview all I can say is that the recoil/recovery from motion can give a good perception of wieght. I know that with perfect timing and spacing and animation can look a little off without recoil/recovery. If you throw a punch and miss I know that your fist wont stop exactly where you aimed, it will go a bit farther and you have to recover from that motion to go onto the next motion.

10 October 2004, 08:12 AM
As others have stated, we definitely need to see the animation...

Having said that, I still offer my advice...

Always know where you character's (or any object's) center of gravity is. If that center of gravity is centered over the base (usually the feet), then things are stable. Stability usually makes for boring animation. When the center of gravity moves beyond the base, that's when instability occurs. Learn to see this at all times. It's the reason a person who's getting up from a seated position must bend forward before their rear-end leaves the chair. It's the reason a drunk person staggers--(think of their feet trying to 'catch up' to their upper body). It's the reason pigeons bob their heads when they walk.
As you animate, observe where the center of gravity is, and figure out what the character must do to get it back into a stable location. Usually it involves moving one of his/her limbs away from their body to keep things balanced--(like lifting a leg when you grab something off the floor, for example.) Lastly, as you're animating, remember that the human body is just a series of linked masses. Each part follows another as it gets 'pulled' in a direction. If you can learn to exaggerate this 'whip' effect, you can then work on scaling it back to create very realistic motion.

I know this is a somewhat simplistic explanation, but it's how I learned and how I continue to think as I animate each day.

10 October 2004, 11:23 AM
I'm a beginner myself, but a few things I've learned so far about weight:

-Usualy a heavier character anticipates more and longer for doing a certain action comparing to a lightweight

-From the Animator's Survivol Kit: We usualy get the feeling of weight on the second half of arc of action, for instance, in a walk, we feel the weight when the feet go into the 'down' position with both knees bent.

-Heavier objects, usualy have slower movement comparing to light objects (timing).

hope that helps :)

11 November 2004, 02:12 PM
the simplest way to think about weight is, the heavier the mass:

- the harder (slower/more effort) to get it moving
- the harder (slower/more effort) to stop it moving, or change it's direction

so think about where the mass is in each character, which one is heavier, which one is stronger?

who/where are the forces that are moving the masses coming from?

11 November 2004, 11:06 PM
Thanks, everyone.

Changing the timing/spacing helped a lot.

11 November 2004, 12:23 AM

i just wanted to say that your advice is great animation advice in general. im definitely going to take those tips to heart. im off to go scour your website for more!!
-pete (

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