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20.01.2017 00:16
A keczup bez pomidorów to nie keczup

19.01.2017 22:03
Tak w sumie z tą kanapką to słaby przykład, bo kanapka bez chleba to nie kanapka

18.01.2017 23:35
Ja tam jestem, jak na razie, wierny operze

18.01.2017 13:32
Wyłączenie CSS to tak jakby mieć kanapkę z chlebem.

17.01.2017 22:53
Zawsze można wyłączyć CSS. W Firefoxie Widok > Styl strony > Ignoruj style.

16.01.2017 23:46
Pamiętam mój pomysł, żeby można było dostosować szatę graficzną do siebie. Ale mieliście racje, przyzwyczaiłem się

16.01.2017 15:45
Ja jeszcze wtedy byłem na etapie zakładania konta przez pół roku

16.01.2017 14:35
Piękne były czasy jeszcze ciemnego layoutu smile

15.01.2017 23:26
Możesz mi napisać na pw jeśli się wstydzisz tutaj. (dopisz coś sprośnego Wink )

15.01.2017 23:25
Uwierz mi, Szymon, nie chcesz znać odpowiedzi.

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Timing, Spacing and Poses - introduction to Pivot animation


Timing, Spacing and Poses

introduction to Pivot animation

written by Foley



Hello and welcome to the "Timing, Spacing and Poses - introduction to Pivot animation" guide, written for those who want to animate in Pivot Animator. Please, spend a couple of minutes reading the preface as it will help you fully understand this text.


Hello! My name is Foley and I'm the founder of a Polish Pivot community - Pivot Tube. I based this guide on observations I did on my own and discussions I had with others. Various tutorials by experienced animators - Reap (DD) and wraybies (DD) - as well as fruitful conversations with other creators - especially with Szaman (PT) and Sifter (PA) - had a sizable impact on my thoughts too. By courtesy of those people, I was able to base a couple of sections of this guide upon their examples and disquisitions.

For the most part, this guide was written for animators who make their first steps in the 2D animation field, however it also contains information for slightly more experienced artists. I wish to inform you that completing the exercises requires basic familiarity with Pivot (for full documentation see pivotanimator.net/pivothelp).

In order to give you a bigger picture, I included views of various animators on key topics. I am not intent on convincing you to any of them. I just want you to raise your awareness so you can assess them yourself. I'll be repeating this indefinitely - every animator has a right to have their own style. Besides, I also included plenty of examples and practical tips so you can easily acquire the knowledge.

Why is it so long?

I'm aware that this guide is significantly longer than an average Pivot tutorial. I can guarantee you that you'll be glad that you spent your time reading it. It's comprehensive, it'll declutter your basic Pivot knowledge and it'll make you hit the ground running.

Where to start?

Pivot Animator is available for download here.
The program is intuitive. A concise description of the interface is at the beginning of the user guide, available here.

In these green boxes there are excercises for you. If it's possible, complete them as you read the guide and then save your animations as GIF files and publish on your favourite Pivot forums. Good luck!

  1. Introduction
    • Intro
    • Example
  2. Timing and spacing
    • Terms
    • Coexistence
    • Diagrams
    • Potential
    • Easing
  3. Poses
    • Definition of fluidity
    • Spacing and pose
    • Inter-frame relations
    • Breaking joints
    • Lines of action
  4. Practice
    • Next step
    • Planning
    • Stiffness
    • Shakiness
    • Tips and tricks
    • Flow
  5. Bonuses
    • Power
    • Idle stance
  6. In closing
    • The bottom line
    • Thanks to
    • What now?
    • Resources



Since time immemorial, easing had (or has) been considered to be the most important component of Pivot animations. This idea was implanted to every new animator because everyone was sure that an animation with easing was a good animation. Easing is easy to learn but it doesn't solve every problem. It's merely a part of a larger topic, that is: timing and spacing.

Apart from timing and spacing, we'll have a look at poses. The art of creating poses is often left unsaid and young animators have to struggle with it themselves. It's not particularly effortless so I'll cover it here as well.


To begin with, look at this example. It will help you understand the idea of timing and spacing. Let's assume that there is a beginner who wants to start with something easy. He launches Pivot, creates a long stick and a circle in the Figure Builder and decides to animate a bouncy ball. Unfortunately, he's impatient and makes a bunch of mistakes. This is the result:

Animation 1

Looks awful. What should our beginner do then? Firstly, concentrate, increase the amount of frames and make the spaces smaller. After a few tries he ends up with something like this:

Animation 2

It's getting better but he's not there yet. Although the movement is smooth, it still looks unnatural. Our beginner put his thinking cap on and came to the conclusion that the ball shouldn't move with a constant speed (in reality: as it rises - it decelerates, as it falls - it accelerates). He intuitively concluded that at the top the ball must cover smaller distances between subsequent frames.

He starts over again. In the first frame the ball is at the very top. In the second frame he moves it down a couple of pixels. Then, in the next frame, twice as much. In the subsequent one, he again doubles the distance and so on until the ball reached the ground. The ball keeps roughly the same speed as it bounces (assuming that it's very resilient). The actual bounce lasts three frames - I. the ball has a certain altitude; II. it touches the ground; III. it's nearly as high as it was in the frame I. In further frames the ball gradually slows down until it stops (somewhere halfway the original height). Our beginner achieved this:

Animation 3

He can be proud of himself because he successfully made so called easing test.

Exercise 1: Make a similar easing test with a ball.

In case of difficulties with the interface, see the user guide.

Timing and spacing


After reading the introduction and completing the first exercise, you'll easily grasp the idea of timing and spacing.

Timing refers to tempo, quickness; indicates how much time a given object needs to get from one point to the other.

Spacing refers to spaces, gaps; indicates what distances a given object covers between particular frames.

The more time an object spends on the screen or the smaller the distances it covers between frames, the slower it is.
The less time an object spends on the screen or the bigger the distances it covers between frames, the faster it is.


Timing and spacing are inseparable but they can change independently. Let's use the previous example of a bouncy ball. Assume it needs 10 frames to fall - this is the timing. Spacing can change independently, for example:
- the ball can move with a constant speed (like in the animation 2)
- the ball can accelerate as it falls and decelerate as it rises (like in the animation 3)
The same timing, different spacing.


You can use graphical diagrams to describe an individual move (text versions are the most common). This is the easiest way to interpret them: a vertical line marks where one frame changes into the subsequent one; horizontal lines mark by how many units the object is moved in a given frame.

Diagram of the move from the animation 2 looks more or less like this:

On the other hand, the move of the object from the animation 3 would have the following diagram:


Do you realise how much potential there is in manipulating spacing and timing? Movement is a way to describe the object that you animate. Thanks to an appropriate combination of timing and spacing, viewers are able to recognize real objects in your animation, even if the figures aren't detailed. Have a look at the following examples:


Animation 4

Animation 5
The Sun on the sky

Animation 6

Animation 7
Gentle tap (hand)

Animation 8

Animation 9

Animation 10

Isn't it beautiful? It's the same figure all along, spacing makes the difference. We're able to describe an object without using words, shapes or colours. This is the true potential of animation. This is what distinguishes it from painting, drawing or writing. Let's take advantage of it.

Exercise 2: Recreate the moves above without looking at them.


What is easing?

As a matter of fact, easing was (accidentally) presented in the introduction.

Easing is nothing but a method of smoothing moves. It's about modifying spacing so the spaces at the end(s) of the move are getting smaller. Thanks to that, an object doesn't gain or lose a huge amount of momentum instantly.

Easing is merely a tool that helps you improve your spacing. Think of it as a concept that tells you: if you make the spaces progressively smaller (or larger) then the movement will be smooth.

Overusing easing

Simply put, easing is all about changing the speed progressively. This appears to be way simpler than the whole idea of spacing, doesn't it? This is probably why it's so widely known and recommended. See how our beginner from the first example could overuse easing:

Animation 11

The ball falls and at some point it starts gradually slowing down, even though the resistance force is scant. Some people see a problem here. Assuming that you strive for realism, you should not ease all the moves. By overusing easing you attach to yourself a label that reads, "I don't want realism, I just want smooth moves". Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with that. Every animator has a right to develop their own style, nay, we should support them in doing so. The problem occurs when someone acknowledges it as some sort of an infrangible rule and therefore narrows their scope of opportunities. In the worst case scenario, they'll try to reconcile overabundant easing with realism, at a push, which will get them irritated.


There's a simple way to describe an easing. For a young animator, this will come in handy during commenting and rating animations. The gradation of easing is as follows: weak, moderate, strong. The weaker it is, the less it interferes with spacing, meaning that weak easing may result in modifying spaces in a couple of frames (at the beginning or the end of the move).

Notice: The term weak refers to a degree of interference with spacing. Weak does not mean poorly executed!

Here you can see how easing affects spacing. The first from the left (I) is the original spacing (no easing), the second (II) has been affected by a weak sort of easing and the third (III) by a strong kind of easing.

Animation 11a

Weak easing in action

In order to illustrate it further, let's go back to our beginner from the first example. He wanted to fiddle with the physical properties of the ball. He starts over. Firstly, he moves the ball by a small distance (e.g. 2px), then by a much larger distance (say, 7px) and then by a much, much larger distance. Result:

Animation 12

The ball changes its velocity swiftly but not instantly.

Incidentally, we came across so called heavy spacing (or HS), sometimes mistakenly interpreted as a kind of easing. Well, it does not have anything to do with easing. Heavy spacing is about making spaces big so the animated object appears to be fast. (Compare with the ending of Terms in 2. Timing and spacing.)

Notice: The ball shouldn't gradually slow down as it approaches the ground, because there is no significant resistance. In this case, easing out the movement near the ground would be considered an overuse.

Exercise 3: Make a test of weak easing.


Definition of fluidity

Finally, at the end of the theoretical part of the guide, I'll focus on tweaking stickmen's poses. The term fluidity is general and may lead to confusion.

For the sake of this guide and depending on context, fluidity should be interpreted as:

  1. the totality of features of a pose or a sequence of poses that is elegant or graceful;
  2. the totality of features of a pose or a sequence of poses that is changing readily and is easy to follow.

Spacing and pose

Having the semantics out of the way, let's get to the first point. This is an essential rule of creating fluid poses: Dynamism should be adequate to spacing. In other words, if you are going to use heavy (big) spacing then you should put exaggerated poses in place, otherwise the moves will be blurry.

Reap's example

Animation 15

Here the movement is blurry. The poses are inadequate to the spacing. Arms are flickering like crazy. The stickman is moving his legs as if he wanted, but wasn't really able to.

Animation 16

Here the run is way better. The poses are clearer and they complement the movement. This is because of sharper bends. The stickman spreads his limbs more bravely. (In extreme cases, you can even stretch limbs above their original length, however it's not needed here.) On top of that, another frame was added to each cycle (the run consists of looped cycles) so each cycle consists of four frames (or effectively, poses) instead of three.

Inter-frame relations

Differences between poses in subsequent frames are extremely important. If inter-frame relations are appropriate then viewers can easily follow every move. Below you can see an example provided by Reap (onion skins represent the poses from the previous frames).

Reap's example

Picture 2

This is a bad inter-frame relation. The forward arm all of the sudden ends up at the back. Likewise the other arm, its previous position doesn't suggest an upcoming punch. Therefore, viewers are forced to guess what exactly happened to particular body parts. This is not a way to go. The next example shows how to fix it.

Picture 3

This is a good inter-frame relation. The striking arm is raised up which suggests that the stickman is going to punch very soon. The other arm is in a more convenient position to move back. Now the movement is clearer and easier to follow.

Breaking joints

Inter-frame relations are connected to the problem of breaking joints. Fortunately, this problem is easy to spot and dispatch. As a matter of fact, this flaw is often visible at a glance so even beginners should get rid of it before exporting the animation. Take a look at the example below in which many joints were broken:

Animation 13

Some may say that with this many various flexions, there is no way to make the stickman look neat so we should constrain the movements. Well, there could be nothing further from the truth. Example:

Animation 14

As you can see, it's not that we can't flex a given joint in two directions. The secret has to do with initiating moves appropriately so viewers can easily follow each of them. In two-dimensional space it's crucial to "inform" viewers that a certain limb has been spun around and thus, it can flex in the other direction.

Lines of action

Brace yourselves, here comes the big one. Those who are into drawing have probably already heard of it. The pose of a stickman should be determined by a line of action (an arc), not by an incoherent polyline.

Have a look at the following examples. The red stickmen have bad poses whereas the poses of the green stickmen are good (in terms of lines of action).

Picture 1

Here's how wraybies described the matter with regard to the picture above:

"It probably doesn't make much sense to you at this point, one pose just simply looks more bent than another one, but the balance of the figures weight distribution on his centre axis, and the general direction/flow of movement are being taken into account."

Wraybies's analysis

Picture 1a

The picture above stands for a bad example of pose design. The stickmen are wooden and awkward. On top of that, the forces are incoherent. The movements of arms and legs are inadequate to the movement of the rest of the body (or more precisely, the centre of mass). This is where lines of action are brought into play. The picture below shows how to make the poses more fluid.

Picture 1b


Imposing the use of lines of action causes stir. Once I had talked with experienced animators I realised that they don't fully and unanimously approve of these guidelines (about lines of action). Some explicitly claim that lines of action are a necessity and there is no other way around. Others claim that this is dependent on an animating style or a situation in general.

Let's shed some light on the matter. The following are the general functions that lines of action serve:
First, they assure that weight is well distributed and forces are "flowing" properly.
Second, they prevent unfortunate, awkward bends.
Third, they add dynamism.
Fourth, they make the pose look graceful.

The first function can be replaced with analysing all the forces that affect particular segments of a stickman. The second function is connected to the broken joints problem that was discussed earlier. Hence, these two issues can be dispatched without keeping lines of action in mind.

Now, when it comes to the third function - adding dynamism - lines of action do emphasise dynamism and indicate use of significant force. There is no doubt that they come in handy as a complement to a well-chosen combination of timing and spacing. Besides, lines of action tend to give the character some grace.

Generally, lines of action are here to spice your poses up so you cannot neglect them. Sometimes they are apt, sometimes not. Their presence should be determined by your style and features of the character that you animate. For a beginner, perfectionism in this regard may be fateful.

Exercise 4: Create a few poses that are considered good in terms of lines of action.


Next step


Let's throw ourselves in at the deep end, shall we? (It's actually not that deep.) We went over the theory. Now, putting it into practice and working with complex figure types is slightly more difficult. But just slightly because, basically, all you need is patience and persistence.

Remember this for your entire life: Pivot animation requires some sort of self-denial and you don't need a talent for visual arts per se. All you need to get to a certain level (even advanced) is persistence. This is how Pivot is distinguished from other animating techniques. The key is to master timing and spacing that can be copied from the real world. Employing them comes down to moving the handles of figures so, practically, everyone is able to create something nice. Over time animating gets easier and more rewarding - every experienced and successful animator can confirm that. The beginnings can be difficult but don't forget that there are forums and a lot of people who are willing to help.

Let's do it

Remember our beginner from the first example? He didn't finish up with that animation of a bouncy ball. He decided to make an animation with a stickman who appears in mid-air and then lands on the ground. As expected, he rushed and got to this:

Animation 17

Absolutely dreadful. No worries though, we'll fix it.

Having a hard time with Pivot? Being unable to get to any good animation? Take a breather, come back after a few days and make a fresh start. Same drill with common blunders (such as shakiness), you can fix them later on. And if something seems to be difficult, take your time, rethink the issue and try solving it again. There is no need to rush.


Our beginner starts over once again. The stickman is affected by the force of gravity. The centre of weight of the stickman (let's assume it's residing the origin handle) is affected by the resistance force only subtly so it's going to fall fast, smilarly to the ball from the first example. The endings of the limbs are, so to speak, sluggish so their moves are delayed. During the landing, stickman is low, close to the ground. This is when the torso leans forward. Next, the stickman calmly stands up and puts his hands by his side.

The picture below shows the stickman in three stages. The black arrows mark the direction of the origin handle. The yellow arrows indicate relative movements of particular body parts (they aren't really neat so take them with a pinch of salt).

Picture 4

Once our beginner realised what has to happen in his animation, he can move on to designing poses. It's not about drawing them up. It's about giving them a thought before animating. You can see the starting position below.

Picture 5

Next, the landing. Notice the foot placement and how the stickman is kind of pinned down to the ground.

Picture 6

Lastly, the final key frame - a standing stickman. Notice that the feet didn't move.

Picture 7

Our beginner gets down to work again. Keeping the plan in mind, he achieves this:

Animation 18

Well, it's not exactly ideal. First of all, our beginner noticed a schoolboy error - broken joints (in the spine). The solution is simple - don't bend the back so hard.


Our beginner starts over one more time. He understands that he has to get rid of stiffness now. He should follow the ultimate rule: move every handle in [nearly] every frame because every handle deserves its own spacing (in this case, it's going to involve a lot of easing).

As you probably remember, I noted that the hands are partially inert and sluggish. Therefore their movement should start off slowly and involve easing. As they approach the position from the second pose, they should gradually slow down (this is how to simulate the resilience of human limbs and the muscles' input). Knees, spine and head act in a similar fashion.
Now, when handles aren't static, the animation starts taking shape.

Animation 19


The last battle will be fought with shakiness (and choppiness). Our beginner will be putting the finishing touches on the Animation 19.

On a side note, in the Polish lingo there is only one word for shakiness and choppiness which, translated literally, corresponds to the English liveliness (or more precisely, jumping ability). Shakiness and choppiness have much in common, e.g. they are about inconsistencies and imprecision, but there is a difference. According to Reap's classification, choppiness "(...) is a kind of the 'spacing versions' of shakiness." Shakiness refers for the most part to motion paths whereas choppiness refers strictly to spacing.

Using < and > keys is a good practice if you want to watch your animation frame by frame. Focus on one handle and follow its move closely. Then, modify it so it's smooth and consistent.

The first place to look for shakiness is where the feet are. Unfortunately, in the example animation they are marginal (resizing the animation during export played a part here). Anyway, our beginner fixes it by keeping them in place scrupulously. Shakiness/choppiness is visible in the head too. The movement is inconsistent, the head jerks for no apparent reason. The last choppiness to dispatch is in the left (forward) arm. It almost seems like our beginner gave the proper spacing a miss and, as a result, the forearm simply snaps to the final position.

Animation 20 | Download the PIV

There is a download link of the PIV file under the previous animation. Watch it frame by frame and focus on the handles, one at a time.

Tips and tricks

Some of the tips are relevant only when using Windows XP/Vista/7/8 and Pivot 4.1.


Picture 8
If you want to repeat a given frame a few times in a row, type the number of frames in the text box in the top left corner. There is no need to spam the timeline with the exact same frames.
You can modify the length of a segment in the main window. Just press Ctrl and drag the handle.
GIF export
For best effects, set supersampling to 4. If your animation is colourful, then set colour reduction to Quantize Optimal. Otherwise, choose Gray-scale (256 colours).

Picture 9
Time to leave your room and go to your local DIY shop! One would imagine that magnifying glass won't work well with a display but it turns out to be just a matter of getting used to it. When choosing a magnifier, consider... Alright, alright, I'm just pulling your leg. When you have to move a handle by a very small distance, the program called Magnifier comes in handy. In Windows you can find it in the Start menu. This program is an essential when it comes to dealing with shakiness.
When animating any movement, ask yourself questions about its nature and think if timing, spacing or poses could be designed better. Maybe you initially haven't considered all the forces? Maybe some character is too powerful, maybe stamina should be limited?
If, on the other hand, you don't like the way a certain movement looks in reality, it's worth it to experiment a bit and strike a balance between realism and fiction.
Annoying shakiness? Masking is how a real slacker deals with it! It's all about skilful covering undesired parts of moves or figures. The easiest method is to resize the animation (make it smaller) during export because smaller shakiness is harder to spot. You can also move some of the ambient figures forward to the foreground. For example, a tall grass can cover feet. Next on the list is camera. Abundance of precocious cuts is annoying for viewers however you can allow yourself to save some time by doing them on occasion. Camera movements can be exploited too, for example, instead of following the whole fall, just show how it begins and then quickly tilt the camera down to the ground. Masking methods should be used carefully and sporadically because they aren't really welcome.
Trial and error
Amateur animating is based on trial and error - no doubt about that. Don't be afraid to experiment. Don't worry if something doesn't turn out to look good. The best animators have failed hundreds of times before they reached perfection.
Remember that some moves are difficult to animate. For a newbie that could be running. Sometimes even experienced animators fail to animate a satisfactory jog. Adapt the difficulty to your skills. Challenges are cool and rewarding but they can't be neglected. Learn step by step. As a beginner you just aren't able to make a decent animation with full (detailed) backgrounds (FBG) and 3D illusion.
Splitting the work
Instead of animating everything at once, you can split the work into stages. For example, firstly, animate legs and then arms. Deal with the rest of the body analogously. Thanks to that, you'll be able to fully focus on one or two elements. The drawback is that when you edit a frame residing the middle of the animation, you won't affect the following frames (in other words, you'll have to repeat a lot of stuff).
If you don't know how to animate something or you simply don't know what to animate, watch some animations by advanced animators. This should trigger your brain and, with a bit of luck, new ideas will start appearing. (Alternatively, you'll start copying their animations/style which is not ideal so be careful with that.) As a matter of fact, many animators have their idols. For example, Szaman's idols are Rogi (PT) and HBomb (DD). He modelled his animations on theirs and tried hard to reach their level because he liked their animating styles. It's not about monkeying others, it's about studying and understanding their ways. Soon, Szaman developed his own style. It doesn't matter whether it's are a mix of two other styles or something completely different. Having an idol will help you find yourself in the Pivot world.

Exercise 5: Make an animation of a stickman appearing in mid-air and landing on the ground.


Flow, flow, flow. This part is for the animators who already mastered easing. I'll try to put it concisely.

When animating a series of movements, an animator encounters a moment when they have to connect one move with the following one. The easiest way to deal with this is to finish the first movement completely and then begin the second one. This is what we define as stop and go (stop&go) and often consider to be a flaw. Whether this criticism is rightful should be judged in a similar way to deciding if one is (over)using easing. So, allow me to repeat myself again - it's a matter of style or situation. Let's assume that the stickman starts running once he hit the ground. See how stop&go looks in practice here.

Animation 21 | Download the PIV

A kind of the opposite of stop&go is flow. Flow is about shifting one move into the other in a smooth manner. Instead of finishing one movement until the figure stops and then starting the next one, the next movement must be initiated in advance. Thanks to that, your animation will have a certain pace and it won't be a group of separate moves anymore.

When experimenting with flow, you have to remember two rules. When a handle changes its direction, the motion path has to form an arc. Of course you have to be flexible here because it depends on, i.a. momentum and the rapidity of the change. Additionally, you have to keep the key poses under control so you don't create any monstrous pose whilst connecting two moves. I'm aware that these two rules sound general. Let it serve as a warning that mastering flow is as rewarding as time-consuming.

This is an example of connecting the same sequence of moves, this time with flow.

Animation 22 | Download the PIV

Notice the motion path of the origin handle. It's an arc but not a polyline. You have to experiment with the shape of the arc a lot. The one shown below does the trick here but I cannot guarantee that it's going to be appropriate in any other situation.

Picture 10

There are download links under the animations. Check them out.

At the end of my disquisition about flow, I wish to draw your attention to a common mistake that Reap mentioned in his tutorial. Some people think that they can finagle flow by quickly easing out one movement to a halt and then swiftly starting the next one. This is not a way to go. It usually leads to an ugly stop&go.

Exercise 6: Choose one method - flow (more difficult) or stop&go (less difficult) - and make an animation in which a stickman starts running after landing on the ground.



Here's a couple of hints for showing stickman's power in your animation. Firstly, have a look at the animation in which the stickman doesn't use much force.

Animation 22a

As you can see, the movement is not particularly energetic. Notice that the swing doesn't affect the rest of the body too much. So how would it look like if stickman swung with great force?

Animation 22b

An energetic swing requires a proper reaction of the rest of the body. The centre of mass shifted forward (just like one foot and the origin joint). The other foot remained motionless because it acts as a stable support.

Exercise 7: Make a similar animation in which the stickman shows great power.

Idle stance

Let's say you want to create an animation of a stickman who is standing still. If you didn't move him at all, you would get a one-frame-long animation featuring a perfectly stiff stickman. It turns out that even when human body appears to be standing still, it actually gently moves. These movements are called idle movements or idle stance.

How to make them then? These movements are so tiny that they seem imperceptible. It's true that we practically cannot recreate them completely in Pivot. That's why we need to adopt a certain strategy and face up the fact that they will never be ideally realistic. For the sake of 2D animation one should accept the following guidelines (Sifter helped me out with them).

The origin handle should move similarly to the dot shown below.

Animation 23

Be careful not to make this movement too hefty. It's very easy to go too far when it comes to such small operations. Take advantage of Magnifier. Simultaneously, maintain foot placement. This will prevent shakiness and automatically determine the movements of the knees.

Alternatively, you can decide to keep moving the origin back and forth with doubleframing. In this case you have to use tripleframing when you change the direction so you give that move a bit of easing. Bear in mind that this method may cause the movements to look laggy.

Idle movements usually link to moving the handles by one pixel between two subsequent frames, especially when it comes to animating the spine. What is more, you can even attempt to make the back stiff for a couple of frames. When it comes to arms (or hands) you can allow yourself to make the movements slightly deeper.

The last piece of the puzzle is designing the motion paths that the handles will follow. Be aware that this requires a lot of patience as well as depending on trial and error. Generally, the motion paths should be smooth and curved. Also, a good strategy is to move one arm in the opposite direction of the other one.

Here is an animation made by Sifter which stands for a good example of idle stance:

Animation 24

Some may say that the moves are too deep here. It's often linked to the animating style or even the features of the character or the environment. You could justify making these movements deeper with the fact that they sometimes appear to be almost hypnotising, especially when a high framerate is used.

Exercise 8 (extra): Make an animation of a stickman levitating in mid-air.

In closing

The bottom line

I hope that the "Timing, Spacing and Poses - introduction to Pivot animation" guide explained the basic guidelines and phenomena surrounding 2D animation. If you haven't completed the exercises yet, do it now cause nothing will boost your confidence more than practice.

From now on, when you read other tutorials or rate animations, do it in terms of timing, spacing and poses. This will help you understand and recreate any movement. Don't forget that Pivot animation is all about satisfaction. Exercise, experiment and have fun!

Thanks to

I wish to say thank you to the following people:

  • Szaman (from Pivot Tube), for fruitful discussions, making the key animations and giving me a few pieces of advice
  • Sifter (from Pivot Animation) who was always ready to help me, for insightful conversations and hints
  • Reap and wraybies (both from DarkDemon), for inspiration and allowing me to use the examples from their tutorials
  • Zool and Osama (both from Pivot Tube), for creating tutorials that inspired me and had served our Polish community for years
  • the TED Ed team, for producing "Animation Basics: The Art of Timing and Spacing"
  • all the users of Pivot Tube, Pivot Animation and The DarkDemon who helped me in any way
  • and last but not least, Peter Bone, for keeping on developing Pivot and staying in touch with the community

What now?

So, now when you know the basics, you can find a Pivot forum and start sharing your animations.

  • pivotanimator.net/Forums - Peter Bone keeps the record of popular Pivot forums on the official website.
  • pivotanimation.org and thedarkdemon.com - I can personally recommend these two for English-speaking animators. Their forums and community made a good impression on me.
  • en.pivottube.pl - As the author of this guide, I'd be more than happy to see your animations, opinions and progress. Click the link and find out how to share it with us.
  • facebook.com/pivotanimatorofficial - this is the official Pivot Animator Facebook page, development and community updates.
  • youtube.com/foleythesniper - this is the official Pivot Tube channel on YouTube. Make sure to check it out before you leave!


Source materials

in alphabetical order

Animations and pictures

in order of appearance
  • Animations 1-12 - Foley (animations 4-10 based on TED Ed, "Animation Basics: The Art of Timing and Spacing")
  • Animations 15-16 - Reap
  • Pictures 2-3 - Reap
  • Animations 13-14 - Szaman
  • Pictures 1, 1a, 1b - wraybies
  • Animation 17 - Szaman
  • Picture 4 - Foley
  • Pictures 5-7 - Szaman
  • Animations 18-20 - Szaman
  • Picture 8 - Foley
  • Picture 9 - brokenarts
  • Picture 10 - Foley
  • Animations 21-22b - Szaman
  • Animations 23 - Foley
  • Animation 24 - Sifter

"Timing, Spacing and Poses - introduction to Pivot animation" © Foley 2014
Pictures and animations belong to their respective owners and are included here thanks to their courtesy.

Do not mirror the pictures or the animations and do not copy large chunks of the guide without permission of the respective author.
Feel free to quote bits of it as long as you give appropriate credit. A link to this page would be nice.
If you would like to translate the guide, contact me beforehand.

You can reach the author (Foley) via E-Mail or Skype as provided on this page.

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