Animation mirrors life on the most basic and most elevated levels. In life, no motion, no gesture, no idea, literally no moment should repeat the timing, size, weight, and in this case, speed of another. Using different speeds in a shot is what we do to avoid the dreaded twinning in timing. What this means is that if a character raises his hand to wave out his kitchen window, you should use a different speed a moment later when he raises his arm to open the cupboard to get some delicious fudge brownies. I see lots of animation by students in which they rely too much on what they are comfortable with which can lead to a lack of variety in speeds. I don’t blame them either; if a 4 frame anticipation and a 10 frame jump worked a second ago why not repeat that success? Well, the effect of not changing up the speeds can be devastating – monotonous, mechanical, robotic.
When planning a shot, be sure to keep in mind that the speed of gestures should vary, but also don't go too far the other way. That is, don't break the performance to add superfluous variety in your speeds. Things can get out of hand fairly quickly. So as with all your work, strike a balance to get interesting variety in your shots that stays true to your performance choices.
Guest Blogger Kenny Roy