Assignment #2: Bouncing Ball Obstacle Course

Assigned: Tuesday, October 9th, 2018
Due: Tuesday, October 16th @ 10:00 AM


You will be animating a single bouncing ball with forward momentum from an orthographic side view in Maya, using a planning sheet as a starting point. The ball falls into an obstacle course and eventually bounces/rolls to a halt. Before proceeding with the assignment, read through exercises 1 and 2 above. They will go over the basics of keyframe animation in Maya.

Part 1: Planning

Before heading into Maya, you will be constructing what is called a "planning sheet" (similar to the light vs heavy ball sketches you drew on the previous assignment). Planning sheets are a concept we will break apart and go into more detail on as the quarter progresses.

An image with the correct proportions of the obstacle course and ball can be found here. Print out the image and draw your poses directly on the sheet. You will see that the set consists of an obstacle course with an upper and lower level. Your ball must start where indicated with its initial momentum directed by the arrow. It can be treated as if it is a ping pong ball, bowling ball, or anything inbetween. However, whatever physical properties you choose the ball must not be overly squishy nor can it be floaty like a partially deflated balloon. At a minimum the ball should fall into the lower level of the obstacle course and react appropriately to anything it touches. Draw the ball up to the point at which it comes to a rest.

Scan in your planning sheet and save the file as bb_obstacle_course_planning_sheet.jpg.

Extra Credit: Add an obstacle and animate the ball contacting it (wall, ramp, bowling pin, etc). Any obstacle should be reactive! No extra characters or objects with momentum. And try not to go overboard with overly complicated models... the point is to focus on the motion itself!


Part 2: Animation

Setting Up

Open up the provided Maya file. You will see that the scene consists of both an obstacle course set and a ball rig. As with your planning sheet, the ball must begin its movement at the predefined starting position.

Animation Workflow

There are two controls on the provided rig: the "ball_anim" is for both movement and rotation, while the "squash_anim" allows you to modify the direction and magnitude of the squash and stretch independent of the ball's position and rotation. This means that it is much easier to add/adjust squash and stretch without negatively impacting other portions of your animation. You should always key both controls on a given frame, and not just one without the other.

Use your planning sheet as reference for a first pass of poses. As you work in Maya and play back your animation you may find that adjustments will need to be made. Ultimately, you are not required to follow the exact path and timing of the planning sheet. If you find that deviating will result in a better final product, by all means do so!

Think about the animation principles applied to your bouncing ball last week. Everything from the 2D space still applies to 3D, always have timing, spacing, arcs, and squash/stretch in the back of your mind as you set the poses. For this assignment you shouldn't see squash and stretch on the ball when playing at full speed but you should be still be able to feel it. Squash and stretch that spans too many frames will make the ball look like it is willing itself to jump - or just sticking to the ground. In general just use one or two frames of squash preceeded by one frame of stretch contacting the ground.

After you finish your animation you will need to export a movie for review. This playblasting tutorial will run through how to do this. Save the movie file as bb_obstacle_course.avi.

General Animation and Maya Tips

Turn-in Checklist

You will be turning your files into Canvas. Below is a check list of what you will be turning in and what those documents should be named:

Motion Check-In

Part 1

Part 2