Animation. The Twelve Principles of Animation

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1 Animation The Twelve Principles of Animation Image 01. Public Domain. 1

2 Principles of Animation Image 02. Public Domain. In their book, The Illusion of Life, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas present the twelve principles of animation used in animated films that they produced for Walt Disney. Most of these concepts were developed when Disney sent his animators for drawing classes at the Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. These principles have become the industry standards and are still used to this day. 2

3 1. Straight Ahead Versus Pose To Pose Straight Ahead animation means drawing the frames in sequence. This leads to spontaneous motion. It works well with abstract animation and fluids. Image 03. Used with permission. Pose To Pose is the more often used animation technique. It requires the animator to create strong poses (keyframes) first and then add the in-between frames. Image 04. Used with permission. 3

4 2. Arcs Almost all natural motion is in some form of an arc. If a ball is thrown, it usually follows an arched path. Pivot points often define the arc. The pivot point for the thigh is the hip and the pivot point for the calf is the knee. Most human motion follows an arc. If a boxer throws a punch, the motion of his glove follows an arc. Image 05. Used with permission. Image 06. Used with permission. 4

5 3. Timing Timing is the amount of frames used as an object moves across the screen. Timing can imply weight. Light objects have less resistance and move much quicker than heavy objects. Actors work with their timing to get the maximum impact from their lines. Speed can imply emotion. A fast walk may mean happiness and a slow walk may mean depression. An animator must determine how many frames are needed for a given movement. A stopwatch or video reference can be helpful. Image 07. Used with permission. 5

6 4. Slow In and Slow Out Also known as ease in and ease out. Most motion starts slowly, accelerates, and then slows again before stopping. Imagine a car that went 40 mph immediately when stepping on the accelerator and went to 0 mph when hitting the brake. Gravity has an effect on slow in / slow out. When a ball bounces, it increases in speed as it gets closer to the ground. It decreases in speed at the top of the arch. Image 08. Used with permission. 6

7 5. Squash and Stretch Living flesh distorts during motion. Exaggerated deformations will emphasize motion and impact. Although objects deform like rubber, they must maintain volume while being squashed and stretched. A bouncing ball will squash or elongate on impact and stretch vertically as it leaves the point of impact. This is the most well known and often used principle. Image 09. Used with permission. 7

8 6. Anticipation Animation can occur before an action. Before you jump, you bend your knees. By exaggerating this action, the animator can guide the viewer s eyes. The formula for most animations is anticipation, action, and reaction. Image 10. Used with permission. 8

9 7. Follow Through & Overlapping Action Follow Through is the action that follows the main action. It is the opposite of anticipation. When a baseball bat hits the baseball, it does not stop abruptly. A boxer does not freeze at the moment a punch lands. Overlapping actions means that all elements do not stop at the same time. A good example of overlapping action is the movement of an animal s tail. Image 11. Used with permission. 9

10 8. Secondary Actions Secondary actions are actions caused by the impact of another object. They movement of a ball that has been kicked is a secondary action. Secondary actions are also minor actions that occur due to a major action. Most people blink their eyes when they turn their head. Facial expressions are secondary actions. Image 12. Used with permission. 10

11 9. Staging Staging is the clear presentation of an idea. The animator can use the camera viewpoint, the framing of the shot, and the position of the characters to create a feeling or strengthen understanding. Image 13. Used with permission. 11

12 10. Exaggeration Exaggeration is used to increase the readability of emotions and actions. Animation is not a subtle medium. Individual exaggerated poses may look silly as stills but add dramatic impact when viewed for a split second. Animators should use exaggeration to increase understanding of feeling, but be careful to not overexaggerate everything. Image 14. Used with permission. 12

13 11. Solid Drawing To get maximum feeling from the audience, animated characters must be drawn or modeled precisely. Proper drawing and modeling can reveal a characters weight, character, and emotion. Proper drawing and modeling are needed to give the character proper depth and balance. When creating animated characters, it is a good idea to not add too much detail. Image 15. Used with permission. 13

14 12. Appeal Animated characters need to have a unique personality and have a wide range of emotions (happy, excited, fearful, embarrassed, angry, scared, etc.). Character flaws are actually a good thing. Audiences can be sympathetic to characters that have a flaw or two. Complex personalities and moral ethical dilemmas add to character appeal. Image 16. Used with permission. 14

15 Image Credits Image 01. Photos of running horse. Photos taken by Eadweard Muybridge (died 1904), first published in 1887 at Philadelphia (Animal Locomotion). This image (or other media file) is in the public domain because its copyright has expired. Image 02. Photo of Walt Disney. This work is in the public domain because it was published in the United States between 1923 and 1963 and although there may or may not have been a copyright notice, the copyright was not renewed. Image 03. Growing flower animation. Created by Mark Harman. Used with permission. Image 04. Drinking soda animation. Created by Mark Harman. Used with permission. Image 05. Bouncing ball path. Created by Mark Harman. Used with permission. Image 06. Girl moving arm. Created by Mark Harman. Used with permission. Image 07. Stopwatch on cellphone. Photography by Mark Harman. Used with permission. Image 08. Swinging pendulum. Created by Mark Harman. Used with permission. Image 09. Ball squash and stretch. Created by Mark Harman. Used with permission. Image 10. Girl swatting fly. Created by Julie Stevens. Used with permission. Image 11. Boy jumping off ledge. Created by Rachel Racanelli. Used with permission. Image 12. Bowling ball hitting pins. Created by Mark Harman. Used with permission. Image 13. Old man reading newspaper. Created by Alex Moran. Used with permission. Image 14. Girl hitting golf ball. Created by Sam Ko. Used with permission. Image 15. Sherlock Holmes Drawing. Created by Hailey Pier. Used with permission. Image 16. Man holding wand. Created by Sophia Hopping. Used with permission. 15

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