12 Essential Principles you need to follow to become a successful animator
Animation is a process that involves the exploitation and management of still images to create the illusion of movement. An animator uses various computer technologies to capture the still images and then to animate these in any desired sequence. The process involves designing, drawing, making layouts and preparation of photographic sequences that are integrated into the multimedia and gaming products.
An animator can only succeed if he/she maintains a perfect balance between technology and creativity. In 1981 two bright Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas introduced twelve basic principles of animation to produce more realistic works. Originally intended to apply to traditional, hand-drawn animation, the principles still have great relevance for today’s computer animation and can be found not only in character animation but also in user experience design. The twelve principles are described below:
● Squash and Stretch
“Squash and Stretch” is considered as the most important principle. It gives a sense of weight and volume to drawn objects. For example, a bouncing ball appears stretched when falling and squashed when it hits the ground. Even slightly exaggerating on shortening and widening animated objects will give them that realistic feel.
Anticipation is used to prepare for the main action of an animated scene. Almost nothing happens suddenly. As the action appears more realistic if the audience is given a clue of what happens next.
Staging as defined by Johnston and Thomas is “the presentation of an idea so that it is completely and unmistakably clear,” so as the audience’s attention is directed to what is of greatest importance in a scene. The essence of staging is keeping focus on what is relevant, eliminating unnecessary detail, and avoiding any confusion.
● Straight Ahead
This principle matches two different approaches to the actual drawing process. One either draws out a scene frame by frame from beginning to end or starts with a few keyframes, and then fills in the intervals. A combination of the two techniques is often used to create a dramatic illusion of movement. Most of computer animation tools assist with the principle by automatically filling in the missing sequences in transitions between key frames.
● Follow Through and Overlapping Action
“Follow through” relates to parts of the subject that continue to move with inertia after a completed action. To achieve more realism make the same parts move at a different speed with “overlapping action.”
● Slow In and Slow Out
This principle suggests that almost every movement needs time to accelerate and slow down. Your animation will look realistic if more drawings are added to the beginning and end of an action, emphasizing gradual speed up and slow down, and fewer in the middle.
Arcs increase the realism of the subject’s action, as almost all lifelike objects tend to follow curved paths rather than straight lines.
● Secondary Action
When a secondary action adds support to the main action it also adds more dimension to the character animation and gives a scene more life. The principle of staging is very important in applying the actions correctly. Make sure secondary action emphasizes the main action, rather than take attention away from it.
Referring to the number of drawings or frames for a given action, correct timing is critical for establishing a character’s mood, emotion, and reaction. Simply put, use more frames to create slower action and fewer frames for a faster one.
The classical definition of exaggeration, employed by Disney, was to remain true to reality, just presenting it in a wilder, more extreme form. As a perfect imitation of reality can look static and dull in cartoons, exaggeration is especially useful and livening for animation.
● Solid drawing
Solid drawing considers an object following the rules of perspective in three-dimensional space. For an animator, this means understanding the basics of academic drawing, anatomy, weight, balance, light, and shadow, etc. To benefit from it consider taking art classes and sketching from life even if most of your work is computer-assisted.
Last but not least, appeal reflects compelling attractiveness or charm that can inspire devotion in others. The important thing is that the viewer feels your character not necessarily sympathetic, but always real and interesting.
By applying these principles in their everyday practices amateur and professional animators can easily proceed towards a successful. These principles are a part of the curriculum in many animation institutions. You have to keep in mind that the very first step of becoming a successful animator is getting your base strong by enrolling yourself into established institutions like Arena Animation Ameerpet and Mehdipatnam, that give you the security and freedom to reach the utmost creative potential.