Principles of Animation . . . for 3D Animators!

The most important thing that every animator has to understand is the principles of animation. Without having a good grasp of this principles, an animator wouldn’t be able to produce a beliavable animation. Here is the list of animation principles for 3D animators and the explanation of it:

1. Squash and Stretch – defining the rigidity and mass of an object by distorting its shape during an action. 2. Poses – every poses on animation has to be solid, it has to guide the viewer eyes with the right line of action and flow lines. In every scene the poses has to have variety of intensity. To make a pose to be believeable it also has to have the right weight distribution and the right staging of the characters to make it interesting to watch.

3. Timing and Spacing – Timing is how long does it takes to get from one key pose to another. Spacing is the way to get from one kew pose to another, whether its fast and getting slower or other combinations of the movement speed. 4. Anticipation – is movement prepares the audience for a major action the character is about to perform, such as, starting to run, jump or change expression. A backwards motion occurs before the forward action is executed. 5. Staging – Staging is the presentation of an idea so that it is clear. This idea can be an action, a personality, an expression, or a mood.An important objective of staging is to lead the viewers eye to where the action will occur so that they do not miss anything. This means that only one idea at a time occur, or else the viewers may be looking at the wrong thing. This can be achieve by. the framing of the camera, the flow lines of the character’s line of actions, and also movements. 6. Follow Through and Overlapping Action – Follow through is when the main body of the character stops all other parts continue to catch up to the main mass of the character, such as arms, long hair, clothing, coat tails or a dress, floppy ears or a long tail (these follow the path of action). Nothing stops all at once. Overlapping action is when the character changes direction while his clothes or hair continues forward. The character is going in a new direction, to be followed, a number of frames later, by his clothes in the new direction. Timing becomes critical to the effectiveness of drag and the overlapping action.

7. Ease In and Out – this is reffers to the variation of the speed of the movement of the spacing between two poses. 8. Exaggeration – Accentuating the essence of an idea via the design and the action. Exaggeration does not mean just distorting the actions or objects arbitrarily, but the animator must carefully choose which properties to exaggerate. If only one thing is exaggerated then it may stand out too much. If everything is exaggerated, then the entire scene may appear too unrealistic. 9.Secondary Action – This is an action that directly results from another action. This action adds to and enriches the main action and adds more dimension to the character animation, supplementing and/or re-enforcing the main action. Example: A character is angrily walking toward another character. The walk is forceful, aggressive, and forward leaning. The leg action is just short of a stomping walk with few strong gestures of the arms working with the walk. At the same time there’re some head tilts and turns to accentuate the walk and dialogue, but not so much as to distract from the walk action. All of these actions should work together in support of one another. Think of the walk as the primary action and arm swings, head bounce and all other actions of the body as secondary action.

10. Arcs – the visual path of action for natural movement. All actions, with few exceptions (such as the animation of a mechanical device), follow an arc or slightly circular path. This is especially true of the human figure and the action of animals. Arcs give animation a more natural action and better flow. 11. Appeal – Appeal means something that the audience will want to see. This is equivalent to charisma in a live actor. A scene or character should not be too simple (boring!) or too complex (can’t understand it). One principle to achieve this is to avoid mirror symmetry. Asymmetry tends to be more interesting and appealing. It’s good to share, hopefully it helps!… =) For Frequent Update and Tips & Tricks add me on twitter… Keep Animation!


11 thoughts on “Principles of Animation . . . for 3D Animators!

  1. Hi!

    Great summary of the 12 principles of animation.

    Every so often it’s great to be reminded of them to see what’s missing in your animation.

    Very cool stuff.

  2. Although I agree with most of your summary of the basic 12 principles of animation, I do not agree with replacing Solid Drawing with Poses. I understand that you are trying to apply the basic 12 principles of animation to the 3D animator. But you should not change them to excuse the lack of drawing skills in the 3D animator. In fact, taking away solid drawing is hindering them as an animator. Solid drawing is as important as squash and stretch to a 3d animator. The better the animator is at drawing the better an animator will be. The ability of creating a form or figure with nothing more than a pencil and paper helps the animator understand; line of action, weight, form, shape, balance, silhouette, mass…etc. The 3D animator doesn’t need to be the next Leonardo. but having the foundation in drawing will make them reach their highest potential as an animator. The 3D animator always will benefit from time set aside to plan out the animation he/she is going to work on by drawing out the poses in thumbnails, gesture drawings, or using a software program like Flipbook. This not only assists the animator in experimenting with different poses quickly, it saves time during the workflow. Poses should be added to solid drawing not replace it.

  3. Good post for the most part. But don’t replace solid drawing with poses. Poses is a sub-category under solid drawing but never a replacement. Animators whether they animate in 2D or 3D need to know the fundamentals of drawing to be great animators.

  4. I don’t know why my original post was not added. But like I said before, you are hindering 3D animators by not putting importance on solid drawing. Solid drawing extremely important to the 3d animator. If you make people believe that it is only for 2D animation you are wrong. And if you do not like my posts, or posts of those who disagree with you, then don’t have a section where people can leave comments.

    • Hi ,sorry that I didn’t approve it straight away… I just logged in today and didnt check everyday as I work most of the time and cant really go on the net… not that I dont want to approve =)

    • well, but I know that some of 3D animators cant draw and produce amazing character animation (as Im talking about principles for 3D animation)… and in my opinion if someone cant make good pose in 3D it’s going to affect alot in the animation…

  5. Pingback: Final Major Project Week 2 – DanielleSoulsby Digital Design and animation

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