It is said that animation knows no limit. The designers and artists enjoy an unprecedented freedom in the industry and this is what makes an excellent art form. But no creativity is free from the technicality. The artists must understand the basic principles of design. If you are good in fundamentals only then you will not survive in this industry. Your creativity must get reflected in your work. You must know how to apply the basic principles if animation so that the characters are not too detached from reality. We will focus on the essential principles of animation.
Staging is very important as it ensures that the main focus is on the action that takes place during a scene. The actions should be presented one by one and should never overlap each other. In this manner the audience will understand every move and gesture and the main action will never get lost in the midst of all the things happening around.
Squash & Stretch
This is the most important principle of animation as it instills life into rigid objects. The most common example would be the bouncing rubber ball. The ball appears to be round at the peak of the bounce but it does elongated when it is pulled down due to gravity. However, there is no loss in volume. It takes a certain shape when it is squashed to the ground and this defines the rigidity of an object.
A secondary action should get noticed without pushing the main action into the background. For example, you may see a character putting his fingers on the table while speaking. This is a good example of secondary action.
Have you ever noticed that in real life we always follow a curved path rather than a linear one, if you pick up something using your arm? You are definitely following a curved path. This is the same principle which allows the movement of inanimate objects looks more realistic.
A character should be distinct from other characters. No two persons share the same personality. Even twins have different personalities. This same principle applies to character animation. The character will move in its own distinct movement, it will have its own thought and not be a puppet at all.
You must have come across certain scenes in cartoons where the wind displays an anticipation of the action before the fall of a character from a height. Remember those funny cartoon characters that pause in mid-air after its step off a cliff and then starts falling. The actions get a lot of depth and character when you add anticipation to it. Not to forget that proper timing is an integral part of anticipation.
This is the heart of cartoon animation. It takes ordinary animation to a level where it catches the eye. But it must be carefully used so that the actions do not cross the limits of reality.
One thing you must understand that there is no need to apply all the above principles in animation. The onus should be on learning the basics and why. You may omit one or more of these principles at the time of real work.
Margaret is a blogger by profession. She loves writing on cellphonebeat and technology. Beside this she is fond of books. She recently did an article on gizmowatch. These days she is busy in writing an article on cellphonebeat.