12 principles of animation

This concise video from “Learn to Animate”, shows the 12 principles of animation. These principles are from the book The Illusion of Life (Disney). Although this tutorial doesn’t cover Blender, it’s very useful when you want to make your animations look believable. What I like is that the video only takes 10 minutes and still covers a lot. Therefore I recommend this tutorial if you plan to animate.

12 Principles of animation

The 12 principles

Below a concise list of the 12 principles as checklist.

  1. Squash and Stretch. When you Squash or Stretch, the volume must stay the same. It gives a comical effect.
  2. Anticipation. Is a preparation for the main action. For example before jumping you bend through your knees first.
  3. Staging. Direct the audience attention. For example with shadows and light.
  4. Straight ahead action and pose to pose. Two different drawing processes where Straight Ahead is a drawing frame by frame. In contrast to pose to pose which is with interpolation.
  5. Follow through and overlapping action. Loos parts follow later.
  6. Slow in, Slow out. The time needed to accelerate and to slow down.
  7. Arcs. Many movements follow arcs.
  8. Secondary action. Some details emphasize the main action.
  9. Timing.
  10. Exaggeration. The more exaggeration you use the more cartoonish the look.
  11. Solid drawing. (versus flat).
  12. Appeal.

When to watch this tutorial

Below a few reasons to watch this tutorial

  • You start with animations.
  • You are already familiar with animations but want to check these tips.
  • Both suitable for Grease Pencil- and regular animations.
  • You are just curious about the 12 principles by Disney.

Other sources about the 12 principles of animation

It’s fun to watch this 3D sketchfab scene on Blender Nation. But if you are looking for a closer description, check this Wiki page. Another page with examples (gif) is this page.

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