2D Physics Simulation Animation

One of the best things about animation is that you can make the impossible a reality. An actual rabbit isn’t going to stand up on its hind legs and start talking, no matter how much you’d like it to. But the animated one can do more than talk. He can dance, too!

As fun as that talking, dancing rabbit is, there are times when you want your animated content to feel as real as possible. That’s challenging since everything is simulated, from appearance to movement. 2D physics simulation animation though, uses special software to capture the data needed to replicate natural movement, as if the animated object was real and operated under the laws of physics.

How it works

Fair warning: We’re about to get technical. We’re talking about using the laws of physics to create realistic movement of animated objects. 2D physics simulation animation uses force to create motion, so the animator doesn’t have to draw the action. To make that possible, special software helps us make actual calculations based on force, acceleration, and deceleration. Then, it calculates the velocity and value for an animated object, generating accurate movement within each frame. That means that the animated object stops moving when the force reaches equilibrium, not right after it starts.

Imagine a ball hooked onto a spring. If you pull that ball in real life, the spring would stretch, right? Releasing the ball would force the spring to bounce back to its original shape. 2D physics simulation animation replicates this real movement in animated objects.

Why we use it

So, using cool scientific properties isn’t enough for you, huh? Well, as we said, this type of animation makes video content look more natural on screen. Things happen in real-time, creating smoother motion. Video flows stronger since your audience can relate to the content, even though it’s animated, because it doesn’t challenge their perception of reality.

This style of animation can enhance explainer videos through accurate demonstrations of how product work. It’s also a good style to use with content that animates an everyday scenario, such as leaves blowing in the wind, or a man playing fetch with his dog.

Physics-based animation: A case study

Here’s one of our favorite examples: A video the animation team here at ECG created for Kobiton. It merged physics-based animation into a 2D animated infographic for a mobile app testing platform. There’s a lot of action in this explainer video, but keep your eye on how the connecting cords whip around. That’s 2D physics-based animation at work!

Achieving realistic results with the right production company

You want the best software for this kind of work. We use Newton 2 to run our simulations and extract the data we need. It streamlines the process of key-frame (AKA, marking where the beginning and end of an action is captured) and converts them to data in order to complete the animated motion in your video. Otherwise, key-framing is done by hand, and it can be… tedious. And why would you want that?

To learn more about how you can use this realistic effect in animation for your next video project, contact us!

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