Portobelly Production Journal #36

09/03/2019

One of the many pieces of feedback I received during the playtest at the Bristol Games Hub was to include squash and stretch on Belly’s movement. Squash and stretch is the process of deforming an animations structure so that certain movements are exaggerated.

By far the most important discovery was what we call Squash and Stretch. When a fixed shape is moved about on the paper from one drawing to the next, there is a marked rigidity that is emphasized by the movement. In real life, this occurs only with the most rigid shapes, such as chairs and dishes and pans. Anything composed of lining flesh, no matter how bony, will show considerable movement within its shape in progressing through an action.
— Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, p.48 , 1995.

Seeing as Belly’s body is supposed to be fluid I decided it would add to Belly’s character by allowing the character to squash and stretch when jumping and making impact with the ground.

Fig 1 - Initial attempt at stretch effect

Fig 2 - Squish custom event setup

Creating the stretch effect was fairly simple within the Unreal Engine since I was able to use a timeline to increase the scale of the character along the Z axis. Although this was just a proof of concept, the results were achieving the effect I intended.

Fig 3 - Finished squash and stretch effect when jumping and landing

Fig 4 - Squash and stretch timeline setup

Using these two timelines allowed me to achieve the effect shown in the clip of Belly jumping. I feel with Belly stretching when jumping and squashing when landing on the ground it resembles the effect a cartoon ball would have when bouncing on the ground.

 

Figures List

  1. Rees, O (2019). Initial attempt at stretch effect. [offline]. [Accessed 11/03/2019].

  2. Rees, O (2019). Squish custom event setup. [offline]. [Accessed 11/03/2019].

  3. Rees, O (2019). Finished squash and stretch effect when jumping and landing. [offline]. [Accessed 11/03/2019].

  4. Rees, O (2019). Squash and stretch timeline setup. [offline]. [Accessed 11/03/2019].

Bibliography

  1. Thomas, F., Johnston, O. (1995) The Illusion of Life - Disney Animation. United States: Abbeville Press.