Stretch and Squash and Timing- bouncing balls in Maya


For this Maya task we have to create three balls, of our own design weight wise. Our group chose three styles, a heavy ball, a bouncy ball, then a happy animated ball that would be excitable. While I was exploring this task I wanted to look into the 12 Animation principles as told in Disney’s Illusion of life. The main principles we are to look at are ‘Stretch and Squash’ and ‘timing.’

Stretch and Squash- a ball with stretch as it falls and squashes on impact. It gives a sense of weight and flexibility, extremes can give a comical effect. To make it look realistic, a volumes of a ball should not change, ie the y z and x axis must equal out,

Timing- this is defined as ‘the number of drawings or frames for a given action’ or the speed of the action on film. It it is correct, the action should follow the laws of Physics for example how an objects weight will effect its timing of fall. Timing allows us to establish the mood, emotion and reaction. It allows us to communicate character personality through this.

A few second years suggested I drew the pattern of fall for each ball, as done by Richards Williams in the Animators Survival Kit. I really benefited from this exercise as it gave me a chance to visualise how a ball would bounce,

Richard Williams “An Animators Survival Kit”- bouncy ball

For the heavier ball, I decided to use a bowling for my inspiration. I live beside a bowling alley and went to see if I could record a ball falling for reference, however they refused due to health and safety. Instead, I went to YouTube and found a reference video. I also had a look at medicine balls in my gym, however they weren’t as heavy as I wanted.

Bowling Ball reference video. Video courtesy of WaxFlow1’s channel.

Medicine ball at gym- too light for the effect I wanted.

My own bowling ball.

I then wanted to have a bouncy ball with attitude, making itself really happy and with exaggerated stretch and squash upon impact. I used a tennis ball as a reference, much to the annoyance to my family when I recorded this.

My own tennis ball reference- complete with my mothers complaints in the background.

Finally, I wanted to create a ball bouncing from side to side, as if moving from one place to another on its own accord. This is Stephen the bouncy ball.


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