Two of the original animators at the Disney Studio, Frank Thomas plus Ollie Johnston, were real-life best friends. Below their retirement, they continued to delight in teaching younger artists their craft, and wrote a book outlining the twelve principles of animation that they themselves had used during production from classics like Snowy White and Pinocchio. This is an outline of the first four principles.

Squash and Stretch

The first principle is commonly known as “Squash and Stretch.” When animating a figure in motion, it’s important to give the figure the view of having concrete weight; squashing something horizontally or stretching it vertically gives the revenant of redistribution of that volume. In a simple animation of a bouncing ball, it makes the motion appear more dynamic; subtle uses of squelch and stretch are vital for realistic constructions, making them seem more life-like. But it’s always important to keep the volume of the object consistent; in case a sphere stretches out whereas hitting the floor, it need also squash down correspondingly.


One of the most incredible aspects of the human mind is its ability to remark including unravel tiny visual cues and movements subconsciously. Until we are no longer aware of it at all, it is something that we don’t plane really notice; even if the particular issue can’t be identified, we know something is off. This includes things like a basketball player bending his knees before a jump, or a character looking towards the object they’re about to interact with. The principle of anticipation comes in at this point: animators must remember to include these anticipatory movements when working on their characters, as it helps to make everything seem more realistic. Of course, anticipation can be omitted lacking warning for a comedic surprise gag.


The principle of staging is just as important in animation as it is in live-action films. Animators appropriate the visual language that we have become used to due to usual film work, and whereas they use veto camera, they still create convincing narratives. An notion must subsist staged in an unmistakably clear way, to constitute clear what is important in a scene and this opinion is something that Ollie Johnston and Bluff Thomas emphasized. This means more than just placing the characters inside the frame; animators can fix the movements to total emphasis to what is important, while they more discriminate how to factor in camera perspective, besides work with light and shadow.

Straight Ahead Action vs Pose to Pose

If you’ve never lively a sequence in your life, how would you go about doing it? An initial drawing can be created connective later frame-by-frame animation can sequentially follow? Or would you instead draw out the big and important parts, and fill in the rest later?

Both techniques have drawbacks, but they’re both extremely useful. Storyboard a sequence start to finish, or ‘Straight Ahead Action’, results in a very fluid illusion of movement, but it’s tough to maintain the right proportions of the characters. The proportional problem cup be solved by sketching out the important points of a scene and then filling in from those high points; a very effective method for dramatic scenes. Animators generally use a combination of the two.