The 12 Animation Principles: A Guide for Aspiring Animators
Animation is all about making things come to life on the screen, and behind every great animation, there are fundamental principles that make it work. These principles are like the building blocks of animation, and they’ve been around for a long time.
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In the early 1980s, two Disney animators, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, wrote a book called “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation.” In this book, they laid out 12 principles of animation that have become the cornerstone of the industry.
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So, what are these 12 principles? Let’s break them down:
Squash and Stretch
This principle gives objects and characters a sense of weight and flexibility. It’s what makes a bouncing ball look like a bouncing ball.
Before a character makes a move, there’s usually a little action that hints at what’s coming next. It adds realism and makes the action more interesting.
Staging is about presenting the action in a clear and visually interesting way. It’s like setting the stage for a play.
Straight-ahead Action and Pose-to-Pose
These are two different approaches to animating. “Straight-ahead” means starting at the beginning and animating each frame in sequence. “Pose-to-pose” involves creating key poses and then filling in the frames between them.
Follow Through and Overlapping Action
When a character stops moving, not everything stops at once. Some parts might keep moving for a bit. This principle adds realism to animation.
Slow In and Slow Out
Things usually don’t start and stop abruptly. This principle adds a more natural, gradual acceleration and deceleration to movements.
Most actions follow a curved path, not a straight line. This principle emphasizes creating smooth, curved motions.
This is all about adding extra actions to support the main action. It adds depth and richness to the animation.
Timing is crucial in animation. It determines how fast or slow things happen and can greatly affect the mood and impact of a scene.
Sometimes, to convey a message or emotion, animators exaggerate movements or features. It adds emphasis and interest.
Even in 2D animation, characters and objects should feel three-dimensional. This principle focuses on creating the illusion of depth.
This is all about making characters and objects visually interesting and appealing to the audience.
12 Animation Principles Conclusion
These 12 animation principles form the bedrock of excellent animation, enduring through time and influencing the new wave of animators. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or a beginner, keep these principles in mind as they are essential for bringing your creations to life.