Ballistic trajectory

When a character is in the air during the jump or fall, his center of mass always moves strictly along a ballistic curve, regardless of what movements the character makes in flight.
The shape of the ballistic curve depends on the speed of the Center of Mass, and on its direction right before the jump.
For example, trajectory of a ball jumping would depend on the force used to throw it and on how the arm was moving before throwing it.
But in any case a ballistic trajectory is always shaped like an arch across which the speed changes gradually.

By simply following a ballistic trajectory you can greatly improve realism of your animation! For example, in The Matrix movie all the stunts are masterfully crafted… but speed-ups and trajectories of the jumps betray the fact that the actor was supported by wires.

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Creating ballistic trajectories

Cascadeur includes a dedicated set of tools for working with ballistic curves.
To animate a jump, it is important for the animation to include contact poses.
Contact pose before the jump. It is the last frame before the jump where the character’s feet are still on the ground.
Contact pose after the jump. This is the first frame where the character’s feet touch the ground again.
In order to practice working with ballistic curves, you can take this scene.

  • Select the frames from the contact pose before the jump to the pose after the jump.
  • Click the Ballistic trajectory button.

*If there are several Centers of Mass in the scene, you’ll need to select one of them before adding ballistics.

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Correcting the jump time

The time of a jump depends only on its height!

Two characters jumping at different distances but reaching the same height would spend the same amount of time in the air.

So if you want to increase or decrease the height of your ballistics, you’ll also need to increase or decrease the number of frames in the ballistic interval.
You can also change the force of gravity, but we’ll talk about this later.

  • Open the scene for testing the instrument.
  • Select the green point at the middle of the ballistic curve, and drag it, changing the height of the jump.
  • Pay attention to how this affects the length of the ballistics on the Timeline.
  • Select every frame of the jump, press Ctrl + T and drag the frame at the right border to either stretch or squash the interval.
  • Edit the frames in a way that would make the starting and the ending frames of the jump coincide with the beginning and the end of the ballistic line.

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