12 Principles of Animation

12 Principles of Animation is an informative video describing the 12 principles of animation. Click below to view video, followed by notes and thoughts on the video.

12 Principles of Animation as described by Frank Thomas

Notes on the 12 Principals of animation:

September 2015

Notes on the 12 Principals of animation

1. Squash and Stretch — Amount of S and S depends on objects mass. Make sure you maintain volume consistency.

2.  Anticipation — preparing to give clue about what is happening next and to make it appear realistic. Before running crouch down — exaggerate…the wind-up…helps communicate action.

3. Staging- Be in control of where people look. Make sure elements in scene are working so that you are in charge of where people are looking. Make big actions far away and expressions close-up.

4. Straight ahead (decide where the character will end up. animate that. good for actions. or Pose to Pose — animate each movement as you go.

  1.  – keys (primary) make first
  2.  – extremes farthest character will go
  3.  – breakdowns — connections good (fire water)

5. Follow through and overlapping action (drag) tip of the appendage is last to catch-up. When stops follow through then retract. drag and follow through —drag toward where it was.

6. Slow in, Slow out — Start slow and go faster then slow. Consider carefully when to sue. Can mean only drawing one in-between.

7. Arcs- most movement are in an arc. slow in slow out create arcs. step down and up in an arc…

8. Secondary Action – gesture that supports more action to add to main character.

9. Timing – personality and nature of animation. Consider drawing on 1s 2s or 3s…do you want it smooth or jittery?

10. Exaggeration — take to next level to increase amount of impact.

11. Solid Drawing – draw in 3D but toward a vanishing point. use spheres an cubes and rectangles. draw perspective lines “overlap” Avoid twinning and symmetry.

12. Appeal — characters should be pleasing, charismatic, interesting. Dynamic designs — variety of shapes every character design begins with a clear shape. Exaggerate, enlarge or shrink what defines personality.

Great site with animations by independent artists:


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s