Despite a lot of efforts made to facilitate animation with computer technology many artists struggle to produce compelling works in the field. Our previous post on the topic revealed that brilliant animation is all about sticking to the very basics. Adhering to the laws of physics is how you begin, but what about more abstract issues, such as emotional timing and character appeal?
In 1981 two bright Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas introduced twelve basic principles of animation to produce more realistic works. Since then the principles have been adopted by almost every professional animator, and have been referred to by some as the “Bible of animation.” Originally intended to apply to traditional, hand-drawn animation, the principles still have great relevance for today’s computer animation and can be found not only in character animation, but also in user experience design.
Twelve basic principles of animation below are paraphrased from The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation, one of the “best animation books of all time,” and illustrated with examples made using Animatron.
Squash and Stretch
Considered the most important principle “squash and stretch” gives a sense of weight and volume to drawn objects. It is best described with a bouncing ball, which appears stretched when falling and squashed when it hits the ground. Even slightly exaggerating on shortening and widening animated objects will give them that realistic feel.