From the classic days of film to the golden era of television and the immersive world of video games, the landscape of animation has undergone a transformative journey. Today, with the advent of computers, the realm of computer-animated media has reached new heights of lifelike and breathtaking visuals. However, amidst the cutting-edge technology, there’s an enduring element that traces its roots back to the very first cartoon – traditional 2D animation. In this blog post, we delve into the fascinating world of 2D animation studios in Ohio and explore its significance in today’s digital age, guided by Kathy Blackmore, a seasoned course director and expert in the field.


The Foundation of 2D Animation


Kathy Blackmore, as the course director of 2D animation in a prominent computer animation degree program, emphasizes the importance of laying a strong foundation before diving into the digital realm. Before students ever touch a computer, they are handed a simple yet powerful tool – a pencil and paper. One of the initial exercises involves animating a bouncing ball, a seemingly basic task that holds profound significance in understanding the core principles of animation.


The Bouncing Ball Exercise


As Kathy demonstrates the bouncing ball exercise, she elucidates the crucial concept of “squash and stretch.” To showcase this, she employs a water balloon, highlighting the importance of maintaining the volume of an object while altering its shape. This fundamental principle provides a visual clue to the audience about the forces at work. The exercise may seem straightforward, but it serves as a gateway to comprehending the intricate artistry of animation.


The Art of Squash and Stretch


Drawing a ball involves more than just sketching a circle. Kathy instructs on the nuances of conveying the forces acting upon the ball through the visual cues of squashing and stretching. The variations in each drawing create the illusion of motion, capturing the essence of the bouncing ball in a dynamic and engaging manner.


Learning Curve and Continuous Improvement


As Kathy shares insights into her own journey, she emphasizes that mastering animation is an ongoing process. It took her eight years to hone her skills, and even now, she continues to learn and improve. In the world of animation, speed is of the essence, and animators strive to enhance efficiency without compromising quality.


The Down Shooter and Flip Technique


Moving from pencil and paper to the production stage, Kathy introduces the “Down Shooter,” a setup comprising a camera on a stand, lights, and a connection to a computer. This allows animators to capture each frame meticulously. The Flip technique enables them to preview the animation’s flow, ensuring a seamless and captivating visual experience.


The Culmination: Effort Behind Every Second


The final product reveals the culmination of painstaking effort – a ball bouncing seamlessly in a short animation sequence. Kathy sheds light on the immense effort required for just one second of animation, underscoring the dedication and craftsmanship embedded in the art form. A reminder to the audience that watching cartoons is not just entertainment but a testament to the hard work invested by animators.




In the ever-evolving landscape of animation, traditional 2D animation remains a cornerstone, providing a solid foundation for the digital wonders we witness today. Kathy Blackmore’s expertise and insights into the world of 2D animation unveil the intricate process behind bringing characters and stories to life. As we celebrate the advancements in animation technology, let’s not forget the timeless artistry that continues to captivate audiences – from film to television to video games.