Animation Specialization_12 principles

12 principles of animation

Hello there
In this blog post,I am going to talk about the research I did for my animation specialization! It is  “12 principles of animation" created by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson. No matter what  you are creating,neither 3D or 2D animation,those techniques are essential for your animation needs.


1.Timing and Spacing
In my 3D dog animation, timing is affected by the number of frames that inserted between each action. For example, I want to animate dog’s walk cycle and I nee to set the key frame as  feet contact the ground to pass pos… and in between this two action I need to insert feet down on the ground position. This is what I understood about timing, moreover, spacing refers to how those single frames are placed. For instance, in 24 frames  I set one action in second 1 and another action in second 24, the result of this animation is gonna move slowly in between, conversely,if I set one action in second one and another  action in second 5,this result will be faster .

「squash and stretch」的圖片搜尋結果
2.Squash and Stretch
There is a lot of squash and Stretch happened in real life and also in animation. It gives the flexibility to your object.In animation squash and stretch can also be exaggerated.The good way to understand squash and stretch is to look at the bouncing ball.↓↓↓↓↓↓↓

Anticipation is an action that gives the audience a clue about what is going to happen next.For example, the dog is going to move forward but it has to move back slightly, it’s about making easier for the audience to understand the action and also, but also about making the action feel more grounded and believable.


4.Ease in and Ease out (Slow in and slow out)
As any organic object move or come to the target, in the first place of moving is like a car accelerate and gain the speed, and when it close to the target it will deceleration the speed. If every movement wasn’t considered this principle (ease in and ease out),everything will look really abrupt and jerky.In my 3D dog animation, the ball is moving toward the dog a bit quicker but after hitting the dog’s feet, it slows down and then stopped. This is the video↓↓↓↓↓


5.Follow through and overlapping action
Follow through and overlapping action can be considered as two different actions. For example, when a character is walking,many parts of his body will move back and forward,so once he stops his action his arm or hand won’t stop at the exactly at the same time. The example of 3D dog animation is that

Everything which belongs to organic or natural always moves in some arcing motion. Arc is a crucial step of creating smooth animation! A robot walking is an exception because it is not an organic object and also it walks a straight line. For instance, when the arm swings back the hand will be dragged back and the arc of the arm swing is like a small half circle.

Exaggeration is to add more weight and power to the character or the object’s appeal in order to convince the audience and draw their attention.In this principle of animation, it can add more fun and cartoony on your animation work!

8.Solid Drawing
Solid drawing basically includes weight, volume, and balance. People who are doing 2D animation need to think about the anatomy of the character and also how to pose the character to keep the weight balance!In 3D animation,it doesn’t need to think more than 2D does,which can save a heap of time to focus on another area of animation but solid drawing is also important in 3Ds.


In this principle, the character designer has to draw something really pleasing to look at but it doesn’t mean the character has to have a good looking,he or she can have an interesting appeal instead!There is 3 point about appeal which is a variety of shape,play with proportions and keep it simple.Change or exaggerate the characters’ body shape can make them more interesting in appealing. However, keep your character design simple is necessary for the design,otherwise you need to draw all the details hundreds of time! and it will kill you….:'(

10.Straight ahead and pose to pose
Straight ahead and pose to pose are two different techniques for how the animators go about animating.Straight ahead is drawing one frame and then next to the others, it emphasises every detail in just one action. For example, a character jumping, the first action is standing straight and next action is bending the both knees and then next action is the toes contact the ground and…etc.. About pose to pose, animators needs to set up an important pose for an action, it has to be easy to understand and pose properly to tell the action.


11.Secondary Action
Secondary action is to support the main action and emphasise what character is doing.For example, a character is walking, the premier action is foot waking cycle and secondary action is arm swinging and every other part where body move,it can be added more emotion when the character walk,such as angry….sad….disappointed and…. etc.


In this principle of animation,it’s to set up the scene and accurate camera angle to present what’s going on to the viewer.Staging can involve many other principles, such as timing acting, camera angle,position and setting.

Understanding the 12 principles of animation

12 principles of animation



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