Course created by Sarah Phillips
[email protected]
BBCD Melbourne BAPDCOM Version 1 – February 2013.
The Art of Animation & Motion Graphics
The Twelve Basic Principles of Animation is
a set of principles of animation introduced by
the Disney animators Ollie Johnston and
Frank Thomas in their 1981 book The Illusion
of Life: Disney Animation
1. Squash & Stretch
 Gives a sense of weight and flexibility to drawn
 An object's volume does not change when
squashed or stretched. If the length of a ball is
stretched vertically, its width (in three
dimensions, also its depth) needs to contract
correspondingly horizontally.
2. Anticipation
 Anticipation is used to prepare the audience for
an action and to make the action appear more
▪ Eg – before hitting a golf ball, the golfer will swing back
 Can be subtle and be as simple as a character
looking off-screen to anticipate the arrival of
another character or object.
The Animator’s Survival Kit – Richard Williams
3. Staging
 It’s purpose is to direct the audience's attention,
and make it clear what is of greatest importance
in a scene.
 Done by the placement of a character in the
frame, the use of light and shadow, and the angle
and position of the camera etc.
 Keep focus on what is relevant and avoid
unnecessary detail
Disney’s Bolt
Preston Blair - Cartoon Animation
4. Straight ahead & Pose to pose
 Straight ahead animation starts at the first
drawing and in drawn in order until the end of the
scene. Can lose size, volume & proportions but the
resulting animation is lively and fresh. Better
used for fast action animation
 Pose by pose animation is done with key drawings
at intervals, which are then ‘in-betweened’ later.
Straight ahead animation demo
Pose to pose
5. Follow through and overlap
 Objects will follow the laws of physics – things
don’t all move at the same time.
▪ Eg – a character turns her head and her hair will follow
through and settle
The Animator’s Survival Kit – Richard Williams
6. Easing
 Give time to accelerate or decelerate. A character
does not move at a fixed pace from the word go.
 As action starts, we have more drawings near the
starting pose, one or two in the middle, and more
drawings near the next pose.
7. Arcs
 Natural actions generally follow an arc, or a
slightly circular pattern
The Animator’s Survival Kit – Richard Williams
8. Secondary action
 Adding secondary actions to the main action gives
a scene more life, and can help to support the
main action. A person walking can simultaneously
swing his arms or keep them in his pockets, he can
speak or whistle, or he can express emotions
through facial expressions.
The Animator’s Survival Kit – Richard Williams
9. Timing
 The more drawings between poses, the slower
and smoother the action.
 Fewer drawings make the action faster and
 Animation is either done on ‘ones’ (one drawing
photographed on each frame of film) or ‘twos’
(one drawing photographed on two frames of
Video: What’s ‘Animating on 1s, 2s and 3s’
10. Exaggeration
 The classical definition of exaggeration, employed
by Disney, was to remain true to reality, just
presenting it in a wilder, more extreme form.
 The more exaggerated your animation, the less
realistic and more ‘cartoony’ it looks. This is not
always a good thing. You still generally want your
characters to have a basis in reality.
Adventure Time – Spider Bite
Adventure Time – Finn’s Hair
11. Solid drawing
 Take into account three-dimensional shapes,
anatomy, weight, balance, light and shadow
 Avoid creating "twins": characters whose left and
right sides mirrored each other, and looked lifeless
12. Appeal
 A live performer has charisma. An animated
character has appeal. Appealing animation does
not mean just being cute and cuddly. All
characters have to have appeal whether they are
heroic, villainous, comic or cute.
Examples of animation principles in UP
How to add sound to Flash buttons
See exercise files
Principles of physical animation
 http://frankandollie.comPhysicalAnimation.html