Principles of animation

The principles of animation is also known as the bible of animation.

Squash and stretch –
Where something is squashed at impact and streatched on the fall and rebound. It moves faster during
the fall then slows down. It’s purpose is to give it a sense of weight and flexibility. It can be used for simple
objects such as a bouncing ball or more complex such as the human face. This can be used for a comical
effect however when used realistic its important that the volume doesn’t change when squashed or

Anticipation –
This is used to prepare the audience for a action. Also to make the action look more real. This can be used
for big actions like a dancer bending his knees or little actions such as someone looking off screen. There
can be a surprise gag which is made for the viewer to feel surprised.

Staging –
This is known in film and theatre, its purpose is to make it clear to the audience the importance in a scene.
This is for an action, mood, expression or personality. It can be done by placement of character, the use
of light and shadow, angle and position of the camera. It’s to keep focus on what is relevant.

Straight ahead action and pose to pose –
Two different approaches to the drawing process. Straight ahead means drawing the scene frame by frame
from start to finish. This creates more fluid, dynamic illusion of movement, and is better for producing
realistic action sequences. Although it’s hard to keep proportions and create exact, convincing poses.
Pose to pose starts with drawing key frame then filling the intervals later. This can work better for
dramatic or emotional scenes, where composition and relation to the surroundings are of greater importance.
The two are often used together, the computer animation removes problems for proportion and the facilitates
can fill in the missing sequences automatically.

Follow through and overlapping action –
Helps render movement more realistically and helps give the impression that character follow physics.
Follow through is separate parts of a body and will continue moving after the character has stopped.
Overlapping action is for parts of the body to move at different rates. A related technique is drag, the
character starts moving and the parts take some frames to catch up. For example inanimate ojects like
clothing or the body with the arms and legs. This can be used for comical effect while the realistic needs
timing on the actions exactly.

Slow in and slow out –
The movement of the body and other objects needs time to slow down and speed up. If it has more drawings
near the start and end with a few in the middle of the action this makes the animation look more real. This
goes for characters moving between poses such as standing up and sitting. This can go for inanimated
moving objects as well.

Arcs –
Arcs for greater realism. This can apply to a limb moving by rotating a joint, or a thrown object moving
along a parabolic trajectory. This typically moves in straight lines. As an object’s speed increases, arcs
flatten out moving ahead and broaden in turns. A fastball tends to move faster in a stright line then other
pitches, while a figure skater moves at top speed is unable to turn as sharply as a slower one. Traditional
animators tend to draw the arc in lightly on the paper for reference.

Secondary action –
This is so it can give the main action more life and can help support the main action. Someone could walk
with either keeping his arms together or swing them, he could be talking or whistling. The important thing is
to emphasize and not take attention away from the main action.

This refers the number of drawings/frames for a action. It’s established for a character’s mood, emotion
and reaction, it can also be used for communicate aspects of a character’s personality.

Exaggeration –
A useful effect for animation, imitation of reality can look static and dull in cartoons. The exaggeration can
depend on if you want  realism or particular style. Other forms can have the supernatural or alterations
in the physical features of a character or elements in the storyline.

Solid drawing –
Means taking forms in three-dimensional space, giving them volume and weight. The animator needs to
understand the basics of three dimensional shapes, anatomy, weight, balance, light and shadow. This involes
taking art classes and sketches from life for the claassical animator.

Appeal –
A character who is appealing is not necessarily sympathetic. The important thing is that the viewer feels
the characters are real and interesting. Likable characters a symmetrical or particularly baby-like face can
be effective for the character connecting better with the viewers. A complicated or hard to read face will
lack appeal.


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