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Fundamental Principles of Animation That Enhances Your Presence

How to make Animation look even more lively? This is a daunting question that has troubled many animators from Disney as well. After pondering on this much-needed aspect, they creatively came up with 12 fundamental principles of animation that contributed greatly to get their work recognized worldwide. This extract will get you acquainted with these 12 basic animation principles that will make any animator or animation company stand out.

If even you are wondering, as many other animation studios do, which is, how to make your animated graphics brim with life, energy, and more appealing. The best and most practical advice that we can offer to you from Animation Feast would be to follow the below mentioned 12 simple animation principles, which will definitely help you. These are the same very principles that every other reputable or leading 2D animation studio resides upon.


The Bible of Animation

The story goes on something like this: Nine aged men were associated with the animation franchise “Disney Studios”. These men began to consider how they could make their animations more realistic and persuasive. They tried several options based on this thought; they explored numerous possibilities and tested their skills to their best potentials.

During this process, they eventually concluded systemizing 12 principles, which has been elaborated upon in “The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation,” a book published in 1981. In today’s time, this book is considered the bible of animation. Both its authors – Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas – are highly regarded as the animation geniuses of the 20th century.

The famous “Nine Old Men” by which they were later better known and recognized by, as they were not old, in actual, at the time. Instead, they were young enthusiasts who were very eager and determined to achieve the most realistic results possible in animation.

Their results and inputs were so impressive that they were soon regarded as the discipline authorities. Thus, it comes forth how they earned the title of “Nine Old Men” since Walt Disney borrowed the Nine Old Men moniker from Franklin D. Roosevelt, who used it to describe the Supreme Court’s judges at his time.


The 12 Principles of Animation, Explain:

1- Squash & Stretch

This is primarily the most crucial principle that adds the illusion of weight and volume to either a character or an object. It is also used to create authentic and various facial expressions.

2- Anticipation

Every important action or movement has an anticipatory movement that precedes it, and anticipation is well used to prepare the audience for the movement or action to prevail. It is also often used for comic effect.

3- Staging

A scene should be vividly clear enough to clearly represent the characters’ intention, attitude, or mood. This can be catered to and achieved by carefully staging the scene through each shot regardless of whether it is a medium, long, or close up via the characters’ poses, camera angles, or even frame rate.

4- Straight Ahead Action (Pose to Pose)

Their in-depth knowledge presented that fast scenes should be shot with a straight-ahead animation where every pose in action is drawn distinctly.

There is a possibility where volume, weight, and even proportions can get lost during this process, but on the other hand, the animation will look fresh. Pose to pose animation relies greatly on a few key poses while the other poses are filled in later and are used for additional emotional scenes.

5- Follow Through and Overlap Action

For this principle to be effective, timing is a crucial aspect. Follow-through means that the body parts, clothes, or even the character’s hair start to move a bit later, while the body’s core is stagnant. Overlapping means that these elements move at varied rates and should be represented or as such.

6- Ease-In & Ease-Out

At the beginning and end of each pose, further drawings or frames should be added or made rather than during the movement itself. If you are going ahead to portray a gag or shock, it is best to opt for ease-in or ease-out poses.

7- Arc

The movement of animals and humans depends on a slightly circular path or arc regarding a swing of an arm, head turn, etc. So it is used in animation as well for a more realistic movement.

8- Secondary Action

A few additional movements of clothes, body parts, or any other elements may further add to the main action and movement. These are considered secondary actions, but they also work collectively to support and complete the main action. So, it is essential not to skip them.

9- Timing

You can add more or fewer frames to a single movement – the more you add, the more the movement will look slower and by fewer, what is meant is that it will look faster. This is called the trial and error principle, so you can best play around with it until you have mastered it.

10- Exaggeration

When it comes to exaggerations, it is quite important to stick with common sense and taste. Staying in tack with this principle will help you achieve the style you require, which is more realistic, dramatic, comic, etc.

11- Solid Drawing

You can also give your drawings a three-dimensional effect by sticking to this “solid drawing” principle. Apply it to create a solid volume, weight, and even form your characters.

12- Appeal

Making your character appealing is a great advantage if you use clear design and personality development. Now may it be either the hero or villain. Your character must be perceived as realistic and intriguing by the audience. If you make this happen, you surely have achieved your goal and aim.


Principles of Animation for Your Own Work

Although today we mostly use computers for animation, these animation principles devised by Disney’s Nine Old Men are still applicable and are extremely helpful in creating high-quality video animation. You can also check how these 12 principles of animation look in visual form by connecting with us at Animation Feast and asking for our portfolio or sample work.

Go ahead and view how we help our clients to create the perfect and most impactful animation videos. Animation Feast has been listed as a leading 2D Animation Studio for decades, and much recently, it has attained various titles and awards for providing 100% satisfaction to its clients amongst all its competitors in the industry.



Regardless of what type of animation you want to create, whether it’s motion graphics, 3D, or stop-motion, you can surely apply these principles in your work. And if you are into character animation, you can not go wrong by applying them.

There is no questioning that Disney Studios have brought a visual revolution in animation, so having their teachings as your guiding points will surely boost your work to a superior level.

We at Animation Feast recommend applying each of these 12 fundamentals. We also ensure to religiously follow them in our projects to present our best potential while also adding other professional animation techniques and strategies to provide nothing but perfection.

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