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Bouncing Ball Animation: A Step-by-Step Guide for Beginners

Bouncing Ball: Physics, Games and Animation

Bouncing balls are everywhere. They are used in sports, toys, experiments, and entertainment. They are simple objects that can demonstrate complex phenomena. In this article, we will explore the physics, games, and animation of bouncing balls. We will learn how they bounce, how they are played with, and how they are animated.


What is a bouncing ball?

A bouncing ball is any spherical object that rebounds from a surface after hitting it. The surface can be solid, liquid, or gas. The ball can be made of rubber, plastic, metal, or any other material. The size and shape of the ball can vary depending on its purpose and design.

bouncing ball

Why is bouncing ball important?

Bouncing balls are important for many reasons. They can teach us about the physical laws that govern motion, energy, and forces. They can also provide us with fun and challenging games that test our skills and reflexes. Moreover, they can inspire us to create animations that capture the essence of movement and expression.

Physics of bouncing ball

Forces acting on a bouncing ball

When a ball is thrown or dropped in the air, it experiences several forces that affect its motion. These forces are:


Gravity is the force that pulls the ball towards the center of the Earth. It causes the ball to accelerate downwards at a constant rate of 9.8 m/s. Gravity is always present and always points vertically down.


Drag is the force that opposes the motion of the ball due to air resistance. It depends on the shape, size, speed, and density of the ball and the air. Drag reduces the horizontal and vertical components of the ball's velocity as it travels through the air.

Magnus effect

Magnus effect is the force that acts on a spinning ball due to the difference in air pressure around it. It causes the ball to curve or swerve in the direction of its spin. The magnitude and direction of this force depend on the angular velocity, linear velocity, and radius of the ball.

Buoyant force

Buoyant force is the force that pushes the ball upwards due to the displacement of air by its volume. It depends on the density and volume of the ball and the air. Buoyant force partially counteracts gravity and makes the ball lighter than its actual weight.

Energy and momentum of bouncing ball

When a ball bounces off a surface, it undergoes a change in its energy and momentum. These quantities are:

Kinetic energy

Kinetic energy is the energy that the ball has due to its motion. It is proportional to the mass and the square of the speed of the ball. Kinetic energy is conserved in an elastic collision, where the ball bounces back with the same speed as before. Kinetic energy is lost in an inelastic collision, where the ball bounces back with a lower speed than before.

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Potential energy

Potential energy is the energy that the ball has due to its position. It is proportional to the mass, the gravitational acceleration, and the height of the ball. Potential energy is converted to kinetic energy as the ball falls and vice versa as the ball rises.

Elastic and inelastic collisions

A collision is a physical interaction between two objects that results in a change in their velocities. A collision can be elastic or inelastic depending on how much kinetic energy is conserved or lost. An elastic collision is one where no kinetic energy is lost and the objects bounce back with the same speeds as before. An inelastic collision is one where some kinetic energy is lost and the objects bounce back with lower speeds than before.

Coefficient of restitution

The coefficient of restitution is a measure of how elastic or inelastic a collision is. It is defined as the ratio of the relative speed of the objects after the collision to the relative speed of the objects before the collision. The coefficient of restitution can range from 0 to 1, where 0 means a perfectly inelastic collision and 1 means a perfectly elastic collision. The coefficient of restitution depends on the material and shape of the objects and the surface they collide with.

Games involving bouncing ball

Types of bouncing ball games

Bouncing ball games are games that involve launching, aiming, or controlling a bouncing ball to achieve a certain goal. There are many types of bouncing ball games, but some of the most popular ones are:

Bubble shooter games

Bubble shooter games are games where you have to shoot colored balls or bubbles at a cluster of bubbles at the top of the screen. The goal is to match three or more bubbles of the same color to make them pop and clear them from the screen. Some examples of bubble shooter games are Bubble Shooter, Zuma, and Bust-a-Move.

Breakout games

Breakout games are games where you have to use a paddle or a platform to bounce a ball at a wall of bricks or blocks. The goal is to break all the bricks or blocks by hitting them with the ball. Some examples of breakout games are Breakout, Arkanoid, and Brick Breaker.

Pong games

Pong games are games where you have to use a paddle or a racket to hit a ball back and forth with an opponent. The goal is to score points by making the ball pass by your opponent's paddle or racket. Some examples of pong games are Pong, Ping Pong, and Air Hockey.

How to play bouncing ball games

Bouncing ball games can be played on various devices such as computers, smartphones, tablets, consoles, etc. The controls and rules may vary depending on the game, but some general steps are:

Launching the ball

To launch the ball, you may have to click, tap, drag, swipe, or press a button on your device. You may also have to adjust the angle, power, or direction of your launch depending on the game.

Aiming the ball

To aim the ball, you may have to move your mouse, finger, joystick, or controller to change the trajectory or the target of your ball. You may also have to consider the effects of gravity, drag, spin, or bounce on your ball depending on the game.

Matching the colors

To match the colors, you may have to shoot or hit the ball at the same colored balls or bubbles on the screen. You may also have to avoid hitting the different colored balls or bubbles that may interfere with your goal. Matching the colors may trigger special effects such as explosions, combos, or bonuses depending on the game.

Breaking the blocks or scoring points

To break the blocks or score points, you may have to hit the ball at the bricks or blocks on the screen. You may also have to avoid hitting the obstacles or hazards that may block your way. Breaking the blocks or scoring points may unlock new levels, features, or rewards depending on the game.

Animation of bouncing ball

How to animate a bouncing ball

Animating a bouncing ball is one of the most basic and essential exercises for any animator. It can help you learn and practice the fundamental principles of animation such as timing, spacing, weight, arcs, etc. To animate a bouncing ball, you may follow these steps:

Drawing the ball poses and in-betweens

To draw the ball poses and in-betweens, you may use a pencil, a paper, a software, or any other tool that allows you to create drawings. You may start by drawing the key poses of the ball such as when it is at its highest point, lowest point, and in contact with the ground. Then you may draw the in-between frames that show how the ball moves from one pose to another. You may use a reference such as a video or a real ball to observe how a bouncing ball behaves.

Applying the principles of animation

To apply the principles of animation, you may use your knowledge and skills to make your animation more realistic, appealing, and expressive. You may consider factors such as timing, spacing, weight, arcs, ease in and out, anticipation, follow through, etc. You may also experiment with different styles and techniques to create different effects and moods for your animation.

Adding squash and stretch to the ball

To add squash and stretch to the ball, you may modify the shape of the ball according to its motion and impact. You may make the ball flatten when it hits the ground and elongate when it leaves the ground. This


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