Which Principles of Animation Should You Know About?

editing animation

Animation has several principles, all of which are handy guidelines. This is true both for beginners and people behind any digital marketing agency in Manchester worth their salt. Here are some of the ones worth noting.

Arcs Animation

The visual path of an action from one extreme to another one is essentially an arc. It’s much easier for things to move from point A to point B in arcs, as compared to using straight lines. Arcs are also far more expressive, which leads them to have more likelihood of being used in animation.

Exaggeration Animation

Unlike the other principles which can be applied in other contexts, exaggeration animation only really finds acceptability when it comes to animation. The name itself is rather self-explanatory: movements are exaggerated for more impact, appeal and expression to be created.

Keeping a movement in proportion isn’t always the right choice to make. Really driving the point of an emotion or idea home into the hearts and/or minds of viewers can require measures such as exaggeration animation. This is likely why many animators use it often.

A good example of this is ‘Character A jumping, slamming a big mallet on Character B’s head’, which is something of a classic scenario in the animation world.

Secondary Action Animation

While similar to follow through animation, it’s not exactly the same. When an action isn’t necessarily caused directly by the main movement, happening alongside it instead, that’s secondary action animation. If a character just did a sprint, secondary action would be beads of sweat dripping from his or her forehead. 

Slow in Slow out Animation

In the context of animation’s principles, slow in slow out refers to an object’s need for time to declare and accelerate in movement. Essentially, an object must accelerate from something before it actually gets any traction going in-frame. That is the slow in.

As it leaves the frame, it goes back to slowing down. That is the ‘slow out.’

Professionals who do digital video production in Manchester will tell you that the slower the movement, the more frames the animation will end up needing.

To fully envision things, think of a conker on the end of a string, swinging. It’s fastest when it’s at the swing’s middle; swung to each side, it will gradually slow down before being pulled back by gravity. 

Timing Animation

Movement is able to gain meaning through time. When someone or something is fast, then the viewer will see that the element is nimble and light. On the other hand, something or someone being slow could indicate a heavy object or a particularly sad character.


All told, there are a dozen solid principles in play when it comes to animation. They should all be familiar to you, whether you’re a beginner or a veteran in the scene. Exaggeration animation is the only one that applies exclusively to animation; the other principles, like slow in and slow out animation, can also be applied to things like broader video production.

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