Anticipation is a technique used in animation where the character makes a movement or facial expression to show what they are about to do next. It's like when you wind up before throwing a ball, or take a deep breath before jumping into a swimming pool. Anticipation helps to make the action more believable and exciting for the viewer.
Anticipation is not just limited to physical movements or actions, but can also be applied to facial expressions and dialogue. A character’s facial expression can give a clue to what they are thinking or feeling before they even speak. This helps to create a more nuanced and complex character that the viewer can empathize with. Similarly, anticipation in dialogue involves setting up the context for what a character is about to say. For example, if a character is about to reveal a secret, they may pause for a moment before speaking, building anticipation for the audience.
To create effective anticipation in animation, it is important to pay attention to timing and spacing. The preparation or anticipation phase should be longer than the primary action itself. This allows the viewer to fully understand what is about to happen and builds up the suspense. Spacing refers to the distance and speed of movement between poses. By using slow-in and slow-out techniques, animators can create a more natural and fluid movement that enhances the anticipation phase.
Anticipation can also be used in combination with other animation principles such as squash and stretch, exaggeration, and secondary action. Squash and stretch involves distorting the shape of an object or character during movement to emphasize weight and force. Exaggeration involves pushing movements beyond what is realistic or expected for comedic effect or emphasis. Secondary action refers to additional movements that occur alongside the primary action, such as hair bouncing or clothing swaying.
Anticipation is an essential principle of animation that adds depth, meaning, and realism to characters’ movements and actions. It helps to build up tension and excitement for the viewer, making the main action more impactful when it occurs. Anticipation can be used for comedic effect or exaggeration, adding personality and style to characters’ movements. To create effective anticipation in animation, it is important to pay attention to timing, spacing, and other animation principles such as squash and stretch, exaggeration, and secondary action. By incorporating anticipation into every movement, animators can create engaging and believable animations that capture the viewer’s attention.