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10 Master Principles of Animation

10 Master Principles of Animation

If you are interested in animated films, here’s a basic explanation what animators do to create 2D or 3D films.

Disney developed a system back in the 1940’s which can explain the process well.

Enjoy!

Below is a list from Old Disney master “Ollie Johnston” with a few adjustments.

1. Animators do not illustrate words or mechanical movements  

                                                                                                                                  They illustrate ideas & thoughts, with attitudes and actions. We can see in the drawing below of the little girl how her body is shifted down towards screen left and her head is positioned evenly at a 3/4 position to the screen. The eyes have us leading our eye towards what she is looking at. The body position is helping us determine she is somewhat reserved in her approach. The brows are leading upwards and angled in such a way that we can feel the intensity of the lift and the muscles working in the face to lift the brows. The mouth slightly open but not stretched fully also gives us a sense of awe. Most people do this when staring at something they are unfamiliar with. The clothes and hair position also play a role in executing ideas and thoughts but in a much less obvious way.

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    2. Animators Squash and stretch characters bodies for better visual attitudes.                                                                                                              

    This is very straight forward. In the picture below an exaggerated tongue is used to push the action even further.

    No bull tongue can do what is happening in this drawing but in the cartoon world anything is possible!

      3. They tend to move things before the dialogue/sound even reaches our ears!

      Animators have somewhat of a standard thing they must all remember in there daily routines while at work. Things move 2, 4 or even 8 frames before you can hear dialogue. It is a trick that just stuck over time. Eyesight has a quicker response vs sound which is why animators use this principle.

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        4. Many good animators spend 1/8th to 1/4 of there time planning and 3/4 the time animating in CG.

        The following sketches are rough drawings where the artist is seeking form and planning out positioning which best suits the dialogue and scene.

          5. Some super talented & experienced animators do not plan. They just animate from frame 1 and let things flow.

          The animator with a strait-ahead approach would not require all these mouse poses to be created beforehand. They would create them as they went along.

            6. Animators anticipate everything! Most times they require a pose which shows what is going to happen next.

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            Bugs Bunny hits this “anticipation” pose before running. It adds a whimsical nature to what we see on screen which = entertainment.

              7. Everything pretty much moves in an Arc in animation. Unless something is specifically meant to move in a straight line.

              The red dots here signify spacing between objects. This spacing determines the fluidity of movement & acting on screen.

                8. Exaggeration in animation provides a sense of excitement and visual entertainment vs static drawings or movement.

                The drawing below shows exactly why realism has very little if any on screen entertainment value.

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                Developing a sense for good exaggeration in both 2D and 3D, is a learned skill which gets stronger over time.

                  9. Overlap, Settle, & Secondary Animation are other key components to good animation

                  Author Richard Williams depicts the seaweed movement as a perfect reference for people to see how it plays into principles.

                  richard williams book

                    10. A process called “slow in and slow out” is also a key component to why animation looks so appealing on screen. 

                    Below the pendulum swings from left to right but has more drawings closer to each other when moving in and out of position at the top.

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                      praveen nadaraju

                      Classical & Computer Animator & Industrial Designer

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                      1 5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory 2 Are You Right-Brain Dominant? (7 Right Brain Characteristics) 3 How To Leverage The Subconscious Mind 4 17 Ways To Develop a Growth Mindset 5 7 Simple Brain Training Habits to Boost Your Brain Power

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                      Last Updated on January 21, 2020

                      5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

                      5 Proven Memorization Techniques to Make the Most of Your Memory

                      Do you forget stuff every now and then? Are you trying to enhance your memory but not sure how?

                      All you need is the right memorization techniques to make the most of your memory.

                      The human brain is fascinating. More specifically, the vast interconnections within our mind. Mendel Kaelen compares the human brain to a hill covered in snow,

                      “Think of the brain as a hill covered in snow, and thoughts as sleds gliding down that hill. As one sled after another goes down the hill a small number of main trails will appear in the snow. And every time a new sled goes down, it will be drawn into preexisting trails, almost like a magnet. In time it becomes more and more difficulty to glide down the hill on any other path or in a different direction.”

                      The intent of Kaelen’s discussion is to think of new ways to temporarily flatten the snow. Kaelen remarked,

                      “The deeply worn trails disappear, and suddenly the sled can go in other directions, exploring new landscapes and, literally, creating new pathways.”

                      The idea here is to temporarily rewire your brain, or as Michael Pollan remarked in How to Change Your Mind,

                      “The power to shake the snow globe, disrupting unhealthy patterns of thought and creating a space of flexibility-entropy-in which more salubrious patterns and narratives have an opportunity to coalesce as the snow slowly settles.”

                      So, how can we rewire our brain allowing deeply worn connections to disappear and new connections to form? The answer is quite simple. We must change the way we store information in our mind.

                        Let’s examine 5 specific memorization techniques that will change the way you think and remember information.

                        1. Build a Memory Palace

                          What is it?

                          The method of loci[1] (aka memory palace) is a method of memory enhancement using visualizations with the use of spatial memory. It uses familiar information about your environment to quickly recall information. It is a method that was discussed by Cicero in an ancient dialogue called De Oratore.

                          How to use it?

                          Ron White discusses in How to Memorize Fast and Easily: Build a Memory Palace, that it’s essentially a room or building that you have memorized and you use locations in the room to store data. Ron informs us,

                          “You memorize locations in a room and then you later go back to those locations to retrieve the data that you want to remember.”

                          Example

                          An easy 5-step example, in the form of a Wiki, can be found at Artofmemory.com. Let’s examine the the steps:

                          • Step 1. Choose a place that you know well. For example, your house or office.
                          • Step 2. Plan the route and pick specific locations in your route. For example, your front door, bathroom kitchen, etc.
                          • Step 3. Decide what you want to memorize. For example, geography, list of items, answers for a test, etc.
                          • Step 4. Place one or two items, with a mental image, and place them in your memory palace. Exaggerate your images. For example, use nudity or crazy images forcing it to stick in your mind.
                          • Step 5. Make the image into a mnemonic.

                          You can learn more about this technique here: How to Build a Memory Palace to Remember More of Everything

                          2. Mnemonic

                            What is it?

                            A mnemonic is a memory device that aids in retention and/or retrieval of information. Mnemonic systems are techniques consciously used to improve memory by helping us use information already stored in long-term memory to make memorization easier.[2]

                            How to use it?

                            Mnemonics make use of retrieval cues to encode information in our brain allowing for efficient storage and retrieval of the information. The trick is to learn how to easily create mnemonics. If you find that you struggle with creating your own, try the following website: Mnemonic Generator.

                            Example

                            I recently came across a video using mnemonics to memorize countries. Memorizing Countries using Mnemonics is a video created as an introduction to a class for using memory techniques to learn the names of countries on maps.

                            I actively search for videos that provide enormous educational value, yet receive very little exposure. At the time of this writing, this video has received less than 4k views. Let’s examine the video.

                            Goal: Create a mnemonic to memorize the countries in the Caribbean (just the countries you need to learn).

                            Step 1. Looking at a map – write out each country (for which five were chosen).

                            Cuba, Jamaica, Haiti, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico.

                            Step 2. Write the first letter of each country vertically.

                            C

                            J

                            H

                            D

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                            P

                            Step 3. Create a sentence or phrase.

                            Cubs

                            Just

                            Hate

                            Doing

                            Push-ups

                            Cubs just hate doing push-ups. (Cuba Jamaica Haiti Dominican Republic Puerto Rico)

                            3. Mnemonic Peg System

                              What is it?

                              According to Artofmemory.com, a mnemonic peg system is a technique for memorizing lists and it works by memorizing a list of words that are easy to associate with the numbers they represent.[3] These objects are the pegs of the system.

                              How to use it?

                              The trick is to create a Number Rhyme System with each number having a rhyming mnemonic keyword.

                              Example

                              Let’s look at an example of a Number Rhyme System:[4]

                              0 = hero

                              1 = gun

                              2 = shoe

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                              3 = tree

                              4 = door

                              5 = hive

                              6 = sticks

                              7 = heaven

                              8 = gate

                              9 = line

                              Another technique like the Peg system is the Number Shape System.[5] Here you are assigning mnemonic images based on the shape of the number. Watch the following video for an example of this system: Number Shape System for Memorizing Numbers.

                              4. Chunking

                                What is it?

                                Chunking is a way to remember large bits of information by chunking them into smaller pieces of information. We are more likely to then remember the information when we put the small pieces back together to see the entire picture.

                                How to use it?

                                In the video Chunking – A Learning Technique, we can see that there are several ways to chunk information.

                                Example

                                Let’s examine a simple example using a nine-digit number.

                                Step 1. What is the number you are trying to remember?

                                081127882

                                Step 2. Cut the number into smaller pieces through chunking.

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                                081 – 127 – 882

                                Let’s look at one more example from the same video.

                                “Piano teachers will first demonstrate an entire song to students. They will then ask their students to practice one measure at a time. Once the part has been learned and the neural connections in the brain have been built, then students go on to the next measure. After all chunks have been played separately, they are combined until the entire piece is connected.”

                                5. Transfer of Learning

                                  What is it?

                                  Transfer of learning is a way to learn something in one area and apply it in another. Authors of Thinking at Every Desk, Derek and Laura Cabrera inform us about the transfer of learning,

                                  “If a student has a high transfer skills, she can learn one thing and then teach herself 10, 50, or 100 additional things.”

                                  How to use it?

                                  There are two specific ways to use it:

                                  1. Vertical Transfer (aka Far Transfer). Think of learning something in grade school and applying it another grade or later in life.
                                  2. Horizontal Transfer (aka Near Transfer). Think of learning a concept in history and applying it in math.

                                  Example

                                  I provide a detailed step-by-step example for this technique in this article:

                                  Learn How to Learn: How to Understand and Connect Difficult Ideas Easily

                                  The Bottom Line

                                  The key to using the techniques discussed here is to remember that we must actively think about information.

                                  We cannot simply drill information into our brain through rote memorization. We must change the way we think about memorization. We must find a way to “shake the snow-globe” in our mind or flatten the snow so that we can create new learning paths.

                                  Or as Derek and Laura Cabrera point out, we must insert “Thinking” into the equation,

                                  “Information X Thinking = Knowledge”

                                  More About Enhancing Memories

                                  Featured photo credit: Nong Vang via unsplash.com

                                  Reference

                                  [1] Remember Everything: Memory Palaces and the Method of Loci
                                  [2] The Learning Center Exchange: 9 Types of Mnemonics for Better Memory
                                  [3] Art of Memory: Mnemonic Peg System
                                  [4] Art of Memory: Number Rhyme System
                                  [5] Art of Memory: Number Shape System

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