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Chapter 13. Making Advanced Connections > Quick Review: Overlapping Action

Quick Review: Overlapping Action

The concept of overlapping action is one of the basic principals of animation. Overlap is the idea that the main body of an animated object is leading, and another secondary part of the animated object is lagging behind a little, like an antenna on an alien character's head. Anything that is generally floppy or bendy in nature, such as a dog's ears or tail, will naturally have overlapping action when the dog's body or head moves. If the dog jumps in the air, the tail and ears will flop around much more in reaction to the force of the motion than if the dog was simply quietly walking by.

Overlapping action is something that will really sell an animation. When the timing and main action of a motion are solid, it is then usually just tedium to add all the necessary subtleties of overlap that will really polish off and finish the animation. Therefore, I have often heard animators express the request that things with floppy, droopy, or generally dynamically bouncy properties be somehow automatically and dynamically set up to have this reaction occur naturally, as they would in real life.


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