The 12 principles ofanimation are the most crucial techniques you must master as an animator. Created by the pioneers of animation, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston and first introduced in The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation, these 12 principles should be your ultimate guide for creating appealing and realistic character animations.

Explore the 12 principles and start mastering them in your own work to create captivating animations. Use this as a reference if you’re ever stumped on a principle or your animation needs some help.



1. Timing and Spacing

Timing and spacing in animation is what gives objects and characters the illusion of moving within the laws of physics. Timing refers to the number of frames between two poses. For example, if a ball travels from screen left to screen right in 24 frames that would be the timing. It takes 24 frames or one second (if you’re working within the film rate of 24 frames per second) for the ball to reach the other side of the screen.

The spacing refers to how those individual frames are placed. For instance, in the same example the spacing would be how the ball is positioned in the other 23 frames. If the spacing is close together, the object moves slower, if the spacing is further apart the object moves faster.


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