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Falling Analyzed

Page history last edited by Alejandro Garcia 13 years, 7 months ago

To understand falling motion we'll look at some video reference, shot with a high-speed camera. This allows us to easily see the motion since it is slowed down to one-fifth the normal speed.


Straight Vertical Falling


The simplest type of falling motion is straight vertical falling of an object released from a height. Notice how the spacing increases as the ball slows out after release.


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All objects accelerate with the same timing and spacing when they fall, which you see by comparing a golfball with a bowling ball. Because their sizes are so different, focus on the bottom of each ball; you'll see that they drop at the same rate.

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Up & Down


The timing and spacing of a ball slowing into the apex is the exact reverse of a ball slowing out from the apex.


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Timing and Scale


Compare the falling motion of a small marble filmed in slow motion (120 fps) with that of a bowling ball recorded at normal speed (30 fps). The two videos look similar because slowing the timing by a factor of 4 makes objects appear to be 16 times larger. This is the idea behind using scale models for special effects.


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Falling Seen from Above


Above we've seen how slowing out appears in profile; looking straight down at a falling object gives an interesting texture to the timing due to the added effect of geometric perspective.


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Animation Tutorial


For more information on timing and spacing in animation, download the Physics of Timing and Spacing tutorial.


Continue to Part 2 of Falling Analyzed =>


Additional video clips (Quicktime)



Softball (Clip #1, Clip #2; Tracked Clip #1; Close-up Clip #1, Clip #2, Clip #3; Up & Down Clip #1, Clip #2, Clip #3, Clip #4)

Racquetball (Clip #1, Clip #2; Close-up Clip #1, Clip #2; Up & Down Clip #1, Clip #2)

Golfball (Clip #1, Clip #2, Clip #3, Clip #4, Clip #5; Close-up Clip #1, Clip #2)

Bowling Ball (Clip #1, Clip #2; Close-up Clip #1, Clip #2)

Marble (Clip #1, Clip #2, Clip #3)


Normal Speed

Softball (Clip #1, Clip #2)

Racquetball (Clip #1, Clip #2)

Golfball (Clip #1, Clip #2)

Bowling Ball (Clip #1, Clip #2)


Slow-motion (Seen from Above)

Softball (Clip #1, Clip #2, Clip #3)

Golfball (Clip #1, Clip #2, Clip #3)


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