The Stretch-Engine: A Method for Creating Exaggeration in Animation Through Squash and Stretch
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Animators exaggerate character motion to emphasize personality and actions. Exaggeration is expressed by pushing a character’s pose, changing the action’s timing, or by changing a character’s form. This last method, referred to as squash and stretch, creates the most noticeable change in exaggeration. However, without practice, squash and stretch can adversely affect the animation. This work introduces a method to create exaggeration in motion by focusing solely on squash and stretch to control changes in a character’s form. It does this by displaying a limbs' path of motion and altering the shape of that path to create a change in the limb’s form. This paper provides information on tools that exist to create animation and exaggeration, then discusses the functionality and effectiveness of these tools and how they influenced the design of the Stretch-Engine. The Stretch-Engine is a prototype tool developed to demonstrate this approach and is designed to be integrated into an existing animation software, Maya. The Stretch-Engine contains a bipedal-humanoid rig with controls necessary for animation and the ability to squash and stretch. It can be accessed through a user interface that allows the animator to control squash and stretch by changing the shape of generated paths of motion. This method is then evaluated by comparing animations of realistic motion to versions created with the Stretch-Engine. These stretched versions displayed exaggerated results for their realistic counterparts, creating similar effects to Looney Tunes animation. This method fits within the animator’s workflow and helps new artists visualize and control squash and stretch to create exaggeration.
Ibrahim, Zaid Hamed (2018). The Stretch-Engine: A Method for Creating Exaggeration in Animation Through Squash and Stretch. Master's thesis, Texas A & M University. Available electronically from