CG101: 12 Principles of Animation

With this tutorial, we will take a software-independent look at some of the vital terminology required to build a solid foundation for learning some traditional animation techniques known as the 12 Principles of Animation. Software required: none.
Course info
Rating
(14)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Apr 16, 2012
Duration
9m
Table of contents
Description
Course info
Rating
(14)
Level
Beginner
Updated
Apr 16, 2012
Duration
9m
Description

With this tutorial, we will take a software-independent look at some of the vital terminology required to build a solid foundation for learning some traditional animation techniques known as the 12 Principles of Animation. The purpose of these standalone lessons is not to learn how to use any specific software, but rather to focus on learning fundamental terminology. It is recommended that you are familiar with all of the terminology discussed throughout these lessons before starting to follow along with any animation tutorials. Software required: none.

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Section Introduction Transcripts
Section Introduction Transcripts

Introduction and Project Overview
In this lesson, we will learn about the animation principle of timing and spacing. In animation, timing and spacing is crucial in order to create believable and appealing movement. Timing and spacing characterizes the weight and defined movement of a subject. For instance, we can guess that an animated object has little weight if its movements are swift or if it takes very little time for the object to accelerate and decelerate. On the other hand, a slower moving animated subject can tell us that it is perhaps heavier and more massive. The timing of an animation is considered the beat, or the time it takes to get from one gesture to the next. In this example, we see the action of a character swinging a sword. If we look closely, we can begin to break the character's action down into beats. First, the character's initial pose. Second, the character's anticipatory pose. And third, the character's action. And finally, the character's rest pose. These beats represent the extreme gestures of the character's action. The timing of the animation is very critical, because if an animation is not timed correctly, the action will look wrong. Now that we have an idea of what timing is, let's look at spacing. Now, spacing, simply put, is the motion in between each of the beats. Let's look at our example again. As the animation plays, watch carefully. We can begin to see the spacing between the beats are very linear, very even. This even spacing breaks the believability, because it makes the motion very even. Now, if we correct the spacing, we can see that the motion is now more natural and the object starts to feel like it has a sense of weight to it. Timing and spacing can be adjusted to fit the look and style that you're going for. Looking at our example, we can see that the animation flows nicely and is believable. Now let's alter the timing and spacing a little bit. Notice that when this animation is timed differently it has a drastic effect on the outcome of the animation. Now whether your animation is stylized or more natural, the timing choices that you make can help make your animations more entertaining to watch. So when animating, study as much reference as you can to ensure that your animations are timed and spaced correctly, so in the end, the movements of your subject are believable and appealing.

Cg101: 12 Principles of Animation
In this lesson, we will learn about the animation principal squash and stretch. Squash and stretch is used to create the illusion of weight and preserve the volume in an animated character or object. If we add more squash and stretch to an object, it becomes clear to the viewer that what we are animating is pliable and malleable. On the other hand, if we add little or no squash and stretch, the object comes across as rigid and inflexible. Let's look at an example. Here we have a bouncing ball. If we stop the animation, we can see that the squash and stretch has been pushed. This makes the ball feel as if it's made of a rubber-like substance. Let's reduce some of the squash and stretch. Now the ball bounce looks more rigid and resembles something like a bowling ball. Although both balls are identical, by adding squash and stretch to one and removing it from the other, they appear to be totally different. Squash and stretch can be implemented in a number of different ways in your animation. Not only can you use it to define a subject's weight, flexibility, and volume, but you can also use it for exaggerating gestures. As you animate, be sure to incorporate squash and stretch. This will help give your animation some added appeal.