12 Principles of Animation

Squash and Stretch:SQUASH & STRETCH

Squash and Stretch gives the illusion of weight and volume to a character as it moves.  Squash and stretch is useful in animating dialogue and doing facial expressions.  It can be applied to simple objects, like a bouncing ball, or more complex constructions, like the muscles and parts of a human face. An example here is the bouncing ball below, as it hits the ground, the force makes it squash down but also stretch out side ways to make up for the volume of the object when it has a loss of height.


Staging is presenting your idea so it makes sense and conveys a message. Its purpose is to direct the audience’s attention, and make it clear what is of greatest importance in a scene; Johnston and Thomas defined it as “the presentation of any idea so that it is completely and unmistakably clear”.



Anticipation is an action that tells the viewer what is happening next. A good example of this is Wile E. Coyote and The Road Runner, a lot of Wile E. Coyote’s traps that backfire use a lot of anticipation in the way that they effect him to make it more comical.



Straight Ahead and Pose to Pose:

Straight ahead is the process of animating each frame in order.  Leads to fluid and often stylised animation.STRAIGHT AHEAD & POSE TO POSE

Pose to Pose (keyframing)

Animations are blocked out with the main movements or poses in place.  Used more now with 3D animation but originated with cel animation.

Follow Through and Overlapping Action:

Actions or attributes continue and overlap into the next action. People usually use this to make it seem like physics apply to the animation. a good example of this is how a cape would continue to move after a superhero ad turned.


Slow In and Slow Out:


This is a softened action, making it look more life-like. This  is done by having many key frames to start so the animation moves slower and at the end, this gives the impression that a force is actually happening upon the object or person.



This is the idea that all actions, with few exceptions follow an arc (or a slightly circular path). This is especially true for humans and animals, so when applied in animation this looks more appealing to the eye as even eye movement is carried out in arcs.


Secondary action:

his action adds to and enriches the main action and adds more dimension to the character animation, supplementing and/or re-enforcing the main action. for example; a character starts to laugh, the primary action is the large grin that comes with laughter coming shortly after, the secondary action would be maybe the shoulders bounce up and down along with the laughing, re – enforcing how funny it is.



More drawings between poses slow and smooth the action. Fewer drawings make the action faster and crisper. A variety of slow and fast timing within a scene adds texture and interest to the movement.


Exaggeration in a walk or an eye movement or even a head turn will give your animation more appeal, not extreme distortion of a drawing or extremely broad, violent action all the time. Its like a caricature of facial features, expressions, poses, attitudes and actions.



Solid Drawing:

Solid drawing takes an enhanced level of realism to the skill of drawing, adding good form and a three-dimensional feel to an animated work. No matter what tool (pencil or computer) is being used to create the drawing, it must work in three-dimensional space.



Appealing animation does not mean just being cute and cuddly. All characters have to have appeal whether they are heroic, villainous, comic or cute. Appeal, as you will use it, includes an easy to read design, clear drawing, and personality development that will capture and involve the audience’s interest.



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