The 12 Principles Of Animation

The 12 principles of animation was created by Disney animators in 1981 to aid in the future of Disney animations. The boo would help produce more realistic animations while still using the basic laws of physics and how to deal with different things such as emotional timing and character appeal.

  1. Squash and Stretch
  2. Anticipation.
  3. Staging.
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose.
  5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action.
  6. Slow In and Slow Out.
  7. Arc.
  8. Secondary Action.
  9. Timing
  10. Exaggeration
  11. Solid drawing
  12. Appeal

I found these collection of videos explaining all 12 of principles mentioned above in a great about of detail, I would recommend watching them as they helped me to understand the 12 principles in their entirety much better than reading them and trying to understand by yourself.

Squash and Stretch

This principle is used to create a sense of weight and flexibility to the objects in the world, the stretch used to elongate a characters face or squashing a character when they fall to the ground giving a realistic feel appealing to the laws of gravity.animate-squash-stretch-preview-01.gif



Anticipation is used to build up to something that is going to happen letting the audience prepare for what is about to happen, as the action may be small and be missed so it makes sure that whatever is about to happen is not missed.anticipation_by_chuustar-d6mxi7f.gif


Staging is used to direct the viewers attention to an area of the screen or stage, to focus on the area where something is happening such as an expression on a face or someone doing something under a desk the area around would be blurred out or the area would be enlarged.Staging.gif

Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose

Straight ahead action is where you draw out a scene frame by frame from the start of the animation to the end where as pose to pose is used to work on one object for a few scenes and then going back to work on the scenes again, this would be more useful as you would not get lost to what you are doing with each object.StraightAhead&PoseToPose.gif

Follow Through and Overlapping Action

This principle helps to create more realistic movements, making sure that the animation feels better to look at. Follow through is used to makes sure that smaller parts of the body with more flow such as the end of hair would keep moving after the initial action. Overlapping action is used when different parts of the body are moving at different speeds this would be like clothes that are lighter so would take longer to be affected by gravity.

Slow In and Slow Out

Both slow in and slow out are used to show acceleration and slowing down this could would be mixed with anticipation to create a smooth animation that looks realistic while still being a cartoon.


The arc principle makes all actions look natural creating grater realism in your animation this would mostly be added to different limbs and body parts as when moving limbs they would most likely create an arc rather than a straight line.


Secondary Action

Adding a secondary action helps to make your scene more active with more life with more things happening at the same time, however a secondary action should not take away from the main focus of the scene rather add  to the effectiveness of the scene giving the main object support.


Timing is the number of drawings for each action in a scene, using this correctly it would help to make the objects appear as if they abbey the laws of physics and with an object taking longer to fall in a scene could create a feeling of weight or weightlessness.


Exaggeration is used to make the scene feel less dull as sometimes a animation that looks realistic that could look repetitive and boring so exaggerating features helps to make an animation more interesting keeping a viewers attention for longer.

Solid drawing

The principle of solid drawings means that you take into account three dimensions when designing different objects in our animation, you can do this by adding shadows, giving the object clear weight or balance.


This principle helps to make the character feel more alive, giving them a personality such as if they are charismatic, sympathetic or evil. all help to make the characters more interesting and overall your whole animation more interesting overall.



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