12 basic principles of animation

1: Squash and stretch.

Squashing and stretching gives the illusion of motion in moving objects. When animating realistically, it is important that the volume of the object remains the same, or else it will look comical


2: Anticipation

Before an action, anticipation is used to prepare the audience and make the animation more realistic. Before doing something, a character will prepare to do it, such as raise a golf club before swinging it. Anticipation can also be used to prepare the audience for the arrival of an off screen object or character.

3: Staging

Make the scene interesting. For example, when two characters are talking, turn them slightly so their faces and body language are visible instead of being side on. This makes everything the characters are doing a lot clearer.

4: Straight ahead action/Pose to Pose

Straight ahead animation involves animating a scene frame by frame, while pose to pose involves doing the key poses first and filling in the rest afterwards.

5: Follow through and overlapping action

6: Slow in and slow out

Accelerate in and out of actions for a more realistic animation. For example, when running, you must first accelerate. The same with coming to a stop, you must slow down first. This gives a sense of weight and momentum and is very important when animating realistically

7: Arc

When a character or object does something, it is usually in an arc motion. For example, if you raise your arm, your hand rarely moves vertically causing your elbow to bend, you would typically keep a straight arm which arcs. The principle applies to objects too, if you throw a ball, it is affected by gravity and doesn’t fly in a straight line. The arc motion adds fluidity to the animation and failure to do so can result in an animation which is jerky or erratic. Mechanical movement is an exception.

8: Secondary action

Actions to emphasize a primary action and give life to a scene, unless distracting or if they will go unnoticed.

9: Timing

Ensure that events or actions take the time they should. If something happens too quickly it can appear to defy the laws of physics and disrupt the pace of the scene.

10: Exaggeration

Exaggerating animations makes it a lot more interesting to look at, because animating a character’s movement realistically can often look boring. Exaggerating makes a characters actions and feelings a lot clearer and is much more interesting to look at. Same applies to the story, exaggerating it makes it more interesting. Exaggeration should be balanced throughout the scene, if everything is exaggerated then it can be distracting or confusing, so you should exaggerate what you want the viewer to focus on.

11: Solid Drawing

This applies to the characters and object in a scene. When drawing a character or object, it is important to give them volume and weight. This adds depth to your scene

12: Appeal


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