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5 Essential Principles of Animation

August 16, 2021
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5 Essential Principles of Animation

The introduction of animation has wholly revamped the world of storytelling. Many Pixar and DreamWorks productions that we see around us today result from nothing but animation. If you are a newcomer, you may ask, “What is Animation?” Animation is the activity of transforming static images into photographic sequences, and this is made possible by adhering to the laws of physics and basic animation principles.

Most animators struggle today when it comes to producing satisfactory animation results. This is because animators refrain from applying core principles of animation. 2 Disney animators devised a set of 12 principles in the early 80s. They are also known as the “Bible of Animation.” Their sole purpose is to help designers implement quality animation seamlessly. With that said, here are 5 essential animation principles you need to know as a beginner:

1. Squash and Stretch

Squash and stretch form the basis of most animations, and this principle directs a sense of volume and weight to the objects present in a space. For instance, if someone in animation stretches a rubber band, changing its volume by demonstrating a stretching effect would offer a realistic feel.

Animation Principle 1: Squash and Stretch
Animation Principle: Squash and Stretch

2. Anticipation

People like to guess what happens next, especially when experiencing animated content. Offering an anticipating effect to the animations can create a developing impact for the main scenes of the presented media. For example, showing some animated frames of a person looking for car keys in his home can give the audience an immediate idea about the following action.

Animation Principle 2: Anticipation
Animation Principle: Anticipation

3. Staging

Staging is all about presenting the core idea clearly and concisely. This principle helps direct the viewer's eyes towards the main essence of a scene. This helps showcase the importance of an element or an action in a location and helps eliminate obtrusive details from a frame.

Animation Principle 3: Staging
Animation Principle: Staging

4. Arcs

Whether a design is static or animated, arc lines help in adding much-needed liveliness. They do so by boosting the realism of a subject’s activity in a frame. Chopping of fruits, sea waves, etc., are the finest examples of demonstrating liveliness through arc lines, and they are way better at showing the richness of a frame than straight lines.

Animation Principle 4: Arcs
Animation Principle: Arcs

5. Timing

There wouldn’t be good animation content out there if it weren’t for timing. Timing plays a vital role in setting the tone and reception of content presented to the audience. Speed is one determining factor in setting the timing of action inside an animation sequence. For example, making use of more frames would help create slower movement. On the other hand, lesser frames help to generate a faster action.

Animation Principle 5: Timing
Animation Principle: Timing

This concludes our top 5 essentials you need to know to create fantastic animations. If you are willing to learn more about the exciting energy world of Animation, check out the brand-new Animation course on ProApp. It covers everything ranging from introduction to tips and tricks to help you embark on the path of becoming a skilled animator.

5 Essential Principles of Animation
Rashika Ahuja
Head of Content & Marketing at ProApp
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Rashika is the brain behind the content strategy on ProApp, both in terms of courses and marketing. She is an Engineer by education but a Content Writer, UX Writer, Marketer, and Mentor by profession. She has worked with tech giants like IBM and Accenture and has spent the last 3 years working with designers and training them. Currently - Focusing on Building an army of creators via ProApp.

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