Are the 12 Principles of Animation Random?

Notes of a Noob Animator

In Chapter 3 of the universally acclaimed book, The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, the authors describe how the 12 Principles of Animations came into existence. They write:

The animators continued to search for better methods of relating drawings to each other and found a few ways that seemed to produce a predictable result. They could not expect success every time, but these special techniques of drawing a character in motion did offer some security. As each of these processes acquired a name, it was analyzed and perfected and talked about, and when new artists joined the staff they were taught these practices as if they were the rules of the trade.

Thomas and Johnston in The Illusion of Life

The Principles thus developed were:

  1. Squash and Stretch
  2. Anticipation
  3. Staging
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose
  5. Follow through and Overlapping Action
  6. Slow in and Slow…

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