Introduction to Animation principles
The Twelve Priciples of Animation
The famous 12 Principles of Animation refer to those rules developed to make character animation more entertaining and engrossing by garnishing it with a realistic feel. These were developed by the animators Oliver Martin Ollie Johnston Jr. (1912-2008) and Franklin Rosborough Frank Thomas (1912-2004) who constituted the Golden era in the Disney studios during the 1930’s. Though these were developed keeping in mind traditional/2D animation, they can also be applied to the modern computer animation/3D animation as well.
The following are the 12 principles of animation which first marked its presence in the Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life, Frank and Ollie wrote in 1981
They are as follows:
- Squash and Stretch
- Solid Drawing
- Follow Through
- Pose to Pose
- Slow in Slow out
- Secondary Action
Explanation of the Animation principles
Let us understand these fundamental principles in a simple manner:
- Squash and Stretch:
This principle helps the animator to get a much more realistic feel to the animation that he does. A sense of weight and volume can be seen in the animation due to the utilization of this fundamental principle.
This refers to the number of frames that are used to create an action sequence. It could also be used to show how characters interact as well as emote.
This is basically a movement that enables the audience to know what the character is out to perform. It becomes necessary to understand this so that the personality can be given to the character.
To show the audience what is happening on the screen, staging becomes important. Focus is created and the mood gets established due to this principle.
- Solid Drawing:
Here, awareness of anatomy becomes necessary as the character has to be accurately created by considering it’s volume and weight so that there is a balance.
- Follow Through:
Awareness of this principle enables the animator to create a realistic movement to the created character. This could be commonly seen when the created character ceases to move and some of the attributes will take time to catch up with the movement.
- Pose to Pose:
Here, drawings are done at regular intervals to control the size, volume and proportions of the character.
- Slow in and Slow out:
The drawn character would need time to accelerate as well as decelerate. If sufficient time is not given, the animation would look artificial and jerky.
An arc like movement is necessary to show natural body movements in the hands, arms, fingers etc. of the created character.
This principle is used to bring out appeal to the existing action. It could also be used to give the action a much more realistic feel.
- Secondary Action:
Understanding of this principle is key to breathe life into a scene that the character has more dimensions. However, the primary action has to be kept in mind while designing the animation.
Just like an artist having charisma, it is equally important for the animated character. In the case of a character, a good legible design along with clean drawing is necessary from the animator while they create the character.
Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, are considered two of the animation masters at Disney during the Golden Age of animation. The book- The Illusion Of Life gives a history of Disney animation and explains the processes involved in clear, amateur terms, explaining 12 basic principles of animation. It contains 489 plates in full color, and thousands of black and white illustrations ranging from storyboard sketches to entire animation sequences.