The three styles.
Juggling is animated in several different ways. Some are real juggling, some are juggling that is easy for the viewer to follow (or animator to animate
), and some are physically impossible. There's nothing wrong with using any of these
, but people who can juggle will look and wonder how anyone would actually achieve the feat.
Note: In the trope description, we use the term "prop" for any generic item the juggler is juggling.
- Cascade: This is normal juggling as it is taught to the beginner, with each hand tossing the prop to the other, each throw alternately crossing in front of the chest of the juggler.
- Shower: This is when one hand tosses the props over to the other hand, which hands the prop back to to throwing hand. (The props all come down to one side in a shower, get it?) Also called "circle juggling".
- Arc: Common in still artwork of jugglers, this is when the juggler has his hands outspread with the props forming an arc between them. Arc does not use motion lines, leaving to some the impression of all the items suspended over the juggler's head.
The cascade is the easiest to learn, but looks chaotic at first glance. Because of the props passing in front of the juggler, it's a little more of a pain to draw. In reality only even numbers of props pass between hands. Odd numbers are divided by two and juggled in each handnote
. The more props you juggle the higher you have to throw them to give yourself time to handle them all. The current record (as of 2014) for balls/beanbags is 13 balls with 15 catches
The shower is what most people assume most three-ball juggling is, but it is much more difficult to master - you have to throw the balls REALLY HIGH to give yourself more time to transfer the balls with your other hand. It's easy to animate, though - you only need to draw a few frames and repeat. Sometimes the balls curve back upward of their own volition into the juggler's other hand rather than falling
Arc juggling is an easy way to illustrate a character juggling without drawing any of the props blocking the view of the juggler - but there is no style of real life juggling which puts a juggler in this position. The juggler always
has something moving into or out of his hand unless he has gone out of his way to toss everything up for a second (which is easy to throw, but hard to catch
In Real Life
props are different colors because it is flashy and adds to the presentation, but you'll also notice that cartoon jugglers tend to use props which are all the same color
. This saves on animation - if you do the juggling shower (circle), you would have to draw panels to take each different-colored prop all the way around. With all the balls being the same color, you only have to animate until the point where the next prop starts
- with three balls for example, you only have to draw 1/3 as many frames.
Certain Acceptable Breaks from Reality
/Artistic License – Physics
apply to cartoon juggling, too. In reality, the more props you juggle, the higher they must be thrown to give the juggler more time to deal with the multiple objects, but this would require a large amount of panel space so animators keep the objects close to the juggler.
- Hurricane features a Juggler clown on the playfield demonstrating the "Shower" style, with objects suspended in an arc between his hands.
- In Super Mario RPG, Knife Guy's idle animation is endless juggling, cascade-style.
- In Donkey Kong Country 2, Diddy Kong's idle animation is him doing a cascade with four balls.
- In Ultima VI, the jugglers (including Blaine, who can join your party), do a cascade.
- In Sonic Unleashed, Sonic does the shower with one hand and two objects.
- At the end of the first game, if you didn't collect all the Emeralds, Dr. Eggman does an arc with the remaining ones.
- The Juggler trainer class sprite in Pokémon does an arc with four pokeballs.
- In Psychonauts, Raz's mental image of his father juggles flaming, spiked pins cascade-style.
- Kirby Triple Deluxe has the Clown Acrobat enemies, which juggle two balls shower-style. When inhaled, they give the Circus ability, which, amongst other things, allows Kirby to juggle pins cascade-style.
- Mr. Dooter, a boss in Kirbys Return To Dreamland juggles skulls and bombs shower-style.
- In the circus episode of Inspector Gadget, Penny is seen doing a cascade with apples.
- This Sesame Street clip uses shower juggling.
- Skee-bo is shown juggling in the opening to JoJo's Circus.
- In one of his cartoons, The Great Grape Ape juggles cars in the arc style, but it makes him dizzy.
- The modern MPL Vanity Plate uses a juggler. In animated form, we see a cascade of three, with the end position and still an arc.
- In Ed, Edd n Eddy, Eddy juggles a variety of items that Ed throws at him, from chairs to Double D, in order to entertain Sarah while babysitting. It goes fairly well until Ed throws him a cactus.
- American Dad!: "He's trying to get laid by juggling plastic fruit."
- Shaggy does this in the Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! episode "A Tiki Scare Is No Fair", as he and Scooby baffle Mano Tiki Tia.
- Count Duckula makes Danger Mouse do this in "The Return of Count Duckula" as part of a curse. DM finds the antidote in rotten cabbage from purposely crashing into garbage tins.
- An episode of Sofia the First had a court jester juggle in the shower method.