Even with all the efforts made to use computer technology to make animation easier, many artists find it difficult to create visually striking works in this medium. Creating visually stunning animation demands adherence to a certain set of principles. You start by following the rules of physics and the basics of animation, but what about more ethereal concerns like character appeal and emotional timing?

In 1981, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, two talented Disney animators, proposed twelve fundamental animation principles to create more realistic animation. Since then, practically all professional animators have embraced the ideas that some have dubbed the “Bible of animation.”

The concepts were initially meant to relate to conventional, hand-drawn animation. However, they are still very relevant to computer animation today and are used in both user experience design and character animation. Best practices to learn animation.

The following twelve principles of animation are taken from “one of the best animation books of all time,” The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation, and are shown with examples.

The ten principles of animation are:

  1. Squash and Stretch
  2. Anticipation
  3. Staging
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
  5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action
  6. Slow In and Slow Out
  7. Arc
  8. Secondary Action
  9. Timing
  10. Exaggeration

Let’s explore each principle of Animation one by one.

  1. Principle of Animation – Squash and Stretch

Animators use the Squash and Stretch technique to depict the hardness, flexibility, and weight of an object.

When an item falls in an animation, for example, it collapses out when it hits the ground and expands to keep its volume. This demonstrates how adaptable the item is.

In the same way, characters compress and extend their bodies to convey emotions.

The illustration of the Squash and Stretch method in the motion picture The Lion King. When Simba tries a bug for the first time, notice how this method highlights his reactions.

This method gives your scene greater depth and clarity, which makes the animation seem more lifelike. On the other hand, when it is overdone too much, it might become comical. If you are looking for a graphic designing course in Jaipur, Beyond Animation is the best institute to learn graphic designing.

  1. Principle of Animation – Anticipation

In animation, anticipation sets the viewer up for what’s going to happen next. It involves a minor motion or action that comes before a major one.

For example, a character will often get momentarily before jumping. Animation’s use of anticipation is seen in this squatting action, which alerts viewers to the approaching jump.

This approach gives the animation a natural feel because it mimics the way people move and behave in real life, where minor motions frequently precede our actions.

  1. Principle of Animation – Staging

In animation, staging includes setting up backgrounds, props, characters, and camera angles. 

In the Movie The Lion King, the major attention lies with the four people on the stone ledge. The image gradually fills with more features as the camera zooms out, enabling the audience to completely understand the situation.

When there are too many things happening at once, the spectator becomes distracted. Thus, effective staging is essential to a compelling narrative. 

  1. Principle of Animation – Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose

There are two methods for drawing animations: Pose to Pose and Straight Ahead Action.

Drawing an action frame by frame results in a smooth flow of movement in straightforward action. This technique requires sketching first, usually without knowing the last frame, and then drawing sequentially.

However, this method takes a lot of time because it has to draw several frames for a single operation. 

  1. Principle of Animation – Follow Through and Overlapping Action

Two essential techniques used in animation to produce realistic and flowing motion are follow-through and overlapping movement. Even after the character has stopped, several approaches keep certain portions of the character moving.

For example, when a figure wearing a cape runs and stops, both the cape and the person’s hair waver briefly before returning to the person. Here, the character’s motion is reflected in the cape. The overlapping motion is depicted by the cape and hair’s tendency to move at a different pace than the figure. Photoshop courses are top-rated nowadays. 

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  1. Principle of Animation – Slow In and Slow Out

In the real world, things take time to accelerate. They don’t suddenly accelerate to 100 miles per hour. 

Animators, therefore, make character motions start and end slowly, with rapid movement in between, to produce a more realistic effect. The movement is more realistic because of this variation in pace. 

To achieve this effect, animators add extra frames around the start and finish of the action to provide a sense of slow motion. To highlight the speed, they show fewer frames between each other.

  1. Principle of Animation – Arc

The term “arcs” describes how an item or character moves in curves as opposed to straight lines. Humans walk in curved patterns. Even seemingly little actions, like moving our heads, have curving paths. Consider moving your head straight ahead. It’s almost disturbingly robotic.

Hence, animators use this curved trajectory motion approach to create a more realistic and organic animation. For instance, a character’s sword swing is animated on a curved route as opposed to a straight one.

  1. Principle of Animation – Secondary Action

The secondary action gives the first action more information and improves it. These incidental behaviors may develop a character’s personality or show their feelings.

  1. Principle of Animation – Timing

The pace of the scene, which is based on the quantity of frames working, is referred to as “timing.” The scene will look slower with more frames used. However, the scene will seem faster with fewer frames.

It is important to ensure that the timing of every item in the animation is appropriate for its size and weight. If a character is shown rolling a big ball, for example, the time will change based on the ball’s weight. Beyond Animation offers a very affordable web designing course in Jaipur.

  1. Principle of Animation – Exaggeration

Animation with exaggeration is used to improve the narration and produce a dramatic impression. 

This approach is used to increase the effect of gestures, attitudes, and even positions. 

Animators can also add humor to their work by exaggerating specific aspects of the animation. For example, the situation is funny when a character walks into a pole by mistake and makes dramatic facial expressions.

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