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The 12 Principles of Animation by Disney

January 8, 2012

Disneys principles of animation can be seen in the majority of cartoons. This clip gives an example of all 12 principles of animation in a clever way and then explains them later in the clip. –



Timing – The easiest way to demonstrate timing in animation is through a ball dropping, this picture shows the movement of the ball throughout an animation. The speed of which it drops has to be a lot faster at the beginning as it is from a greater height – law of physics – and then slows as it reaches the end of the frame.

Slow in and slow out – The example for “timing” also fits well with this technique as it is clear than at the beginning and end the animation will be slower.




Squash and Stretch – This little example is good for showing how squash and stretch works in animation and goes through the process. It is a valuable clip that proves worth watching despite having to read subtitles.


Arcs of motion – A lot of cartoons use this technique to create believable motion.
 From this picture of Mickey Mouse it is clear to see he looks more realistic in his stance.






Anticipation – The Lion King – Mufassas Death. From 0.37 the music changes to a more ominous tone and sets the anticipation for what is about to happen. Simbas eyes look more worried, then the rocks on the ground start to tremble, birds fly over in the sky and then the herd is seen moving towards where Simba is.  At 0.51 we can see the sheer terror in Simbas face (squash and stretch). With the music heighten the audience have been captured and begin to anticipate what will happen in the forthcoming seconds.


Exaggeration – Aladdin is full of exaggeration, this example of the genie singing “friend like me” as Aladdin is floated along and the genie grows and shrinks from the lamp. His eyes and eyebrows grow creating a humorous scene.


Secondary Action – This technique makes a scene more in depth and complex and can gather more interest from the audience. This particular picture shows body language that shows the character is happy, his face adds to this as it is full of delight.


Follow through and overlapping action – Mickeys Circus has a great example of this. as Donald Duck walks forward and his hat goes with him but then runs to fast and it stays behind for a split second. It’s a classic clip that shows the majority of the animation techniques.


Straight ahead and pose to pose – This picture illustrates how some animators use the straight ahead technique in which they will draw every frame to create movement of their animation. However, others use pose to pose – the bottom part of the picture – in which they create the key drawings and by animating these, the character is brought to life.


Staging – The Lion King. Hakuna Matata – During the performance of this song, there is a stage light that signs on to the characters showing who is in the centre stage and is very like what a staged performance would be like therefore it is a good example of staging in animation.


Appeal – Appealing to audiences through animation means that cartoons have to be drawn well to support a well-developed character. As animation technologies grew you will notice the difference of the original drawings to what today’s standard can bring. However, these drawings were still good enough at the time and created much appeal. These drawings of Cinderella and the Disney princess’ demonstrate this.











Solid Drawing – This picture of Aladdin and Jasmine establishes a great example of solid drawing as it is with the background and definition of the characters that links back to appeal and gives a good desired look of the animation.



From → 2D Animation

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