CG Workshop: Ball & Block

Having learned last week how to do some basic translation of an object and the basics of using the graph editor, we were tasked with making an interaction with two objects. A ball bounces into a block and they react.

The most interesting part of the exercise was the sudden change in direction after the ball hits the block. This required going into the graph editor and killing all the smoothing that comes by default when you key-frame the movement. After that, you must work out how much of the ball’s energy has been lost which leads on to bringing the ball to a rest.

I struggled with this part, not knowing how many was to many bounces to fit in before is stopped. I resolved to half the height and distance the ball bounced until its movements became so small, they weren’t worth keying in.

Another touch layered on top of this was to spin the ball. To achieve this, I had to key in a rotation to the ball that instantly changed direction when it hit the block then slowly came to a stop during the last bounces of the ball and carried on afterwards to let it roll to a stop. I wanted to try and add this in my previous ball animation in maya, but decided it was pointless due to there being no definition on the ball to see it, but the controller interface let me see it in this version. I feel this is executed effectively in my final export.

hit-block-1

The final touch I added to this was a touch of squash and stretch. To make this effect, I had to use the scale tool to reduce the ball on its axis but increase its size equally on its axis. It was a nice touch that had to be used in moderation to avoid it looking ridiculous.

hit-block-2

Retrospectively, this clip needs a lot of work. I think the energy in the ball is killed off far too quickly, it could do with a couple extra bounces. The block also falls a little slowly. When I animated this initially, I thought it would be good to knock the block then ease it into the fall, but I think it just needs to fall straight down.

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