Let’s go down memory lane. Remember watching Powerpuff girls or Scooby-Doo? And for the newer kids on the block, you must have watched Death Note or Rick and Morty? How do those characters move so smoothly as if they were real? And despite being a cartoon, the impact of animation makes it so intriguing to watch. We have all been absorbed into the animation fandom through shows or cartoons, haven’t we?
Animation is a method to manipulate figures as moving images. But as the world of technology picked its pace globally, the world of animation advanced. Today, animations are made using CGI-Computer-Generated Imagery. To give you a visual idea, Thanos is a computer-generated character!
The field of animation is more profound than it seems. There are different dynamics to take care of while portraying fictional characters as real. The way they talk, the way they walk, the way they sigh, the shadows, the breeze-everything needs to be considered before the final product comes to your screen.
This article will discuss these twelve principles of animation in order. Understanding and abiding by these basics will provide a deeper insight into the world of animation and all the things that should be considered while creating realistic and appealing animated characters.
1. Squash and Stretch
One of the most fundamental principles, squash and stretch, indicates an object’s weight, volume, and flexibility. For example, when a ball falls to the ground, the ground flattens it. However, the ball tends to widen to its original shape against the impact of the ground. While squash and stretch happens all around us but fails to catch our eyes most of the time. This animation technique gives a fun element to the animated objects. It exaggerates the effect and creates an illusion about the object’s physical attributes.
The activities leading to the main action give a powerful impact. It provides the audience with little clues about some significant action that is going to happen. This hooks the viewers by intriguing them into believable movements and maintaining curiosity. For example, elements leading to a character’s arrival, backing foot before kicking a football, etc.
The placement of characters in a particular frame or scene, their angles, their activities that convey their intention clearly is collectively called staging. The staging of a character and setting are the crucial elements that facilitate the advancement of the plot. It effectively directs the audience’s attention towards the story.
4. Straight ahead action and pose-to-pose
These are two techniques of animation. Drawing each action frame one by one as you go along is what you call Straight ahead action. In pose-to-pose, you work on the extremes at first. You draw the beginning and the end, then work your way from the middle frame and fill up the frames accordingly. The straight-ahead action method gives you the freedom of surprise, while pose-to-pose gives you a specific command over the action. Both these techniques bring spontaneity and structure to your animation.
5. Follow-Through and Overlapping Action
The element that describes the other activities caused by/leading to the primary action is the follow-through principle. These secondary elements overlap the primary action that takes place. For example, the movement of your skirt and hair when you twirl.
6. Ease In and Ease Out
Controlling the factors leading to the main action is called ease out. For example, accelerating a car (it takes a couple of seconds to attain a certain speed and acceleration). Controlling the factors caused by the main action is the Ease In principle. For example, stopping a car (it takes some time to slow the vehicle before coming to a complete stop). The ease in and ease out principle provides realism to the animation.
Arcs add a realistic illusion to the animation. The absence of arches might make your animation seem mechanical. All the activities that we perform involve curved trajectories. Including arcs in your animation would give it a natural and relatable touch.
8. Secondary Action
Gestures that reinforce and add a flair to the primary actions are called secondary actions. These actions support, add personality and give more insights into the main character, their thoughts, and activities.
9. Timing and Spacing
This principle indicates how an action pans out and changes by the second until its completion. A sense of timing and spacing in your animation is essential. For example, the ball’s momentum when it bounces and how the spacing becomes wider as it drops.
An exaggeration is to enhance the character’s physical attributes and actions to create a dramatic or comedic effect. This technique helps increase the visual appeal of your character while adding a personality to your story. Exaggeration can be done by changing the character’s expressions, features, or body to induce a reaction from the audience and advance the plot.
11. Solid Drawing
As an animator, you need to be careful about ensuring your characters appear to be three-dimensional despite the drawing being two-dimensional.
Experiment with different attributes of your animated characters. Viewers remember the feel and the appeal of any character. No matter the role, the characters need to have a certain flair and charisma, which adds to their dimension and caters to the people’s expectations about that particular character. You can enhance the appeal of your animation by experimenting with different shapes and their proportions while ensuring the balance between detail and simplicity.
Konnect Me Animation has created this animated video describing the twelve principles of animation:
Intrigued about how you can create an appealing animated video for your brand? Want to incorporate all these principles into the videos that can amplify your business? Connect with us to create a wholesome experience for your audience with our product explainer videos.