Arcs– To achieve greater realism in movement of living creatures the arched trajectory needs to be taken into account. the movement of limbs produce an arch or even thrown object move along a parabolic trajectory.

Squash and Stretch

Squash and stretch is used to exaggerate movements such as a ball bouncing, a rocket taking off. It give a sense of anticipation of a movement often used as a comedic effect.


Anticipation prepares the audience for something that’s going to occur and where its going to occur. This can be depicted by motion holds and switching back and forth between shots.

Staging (mise-en-scene)

Presenting and idea so that the intention of i.e the character is clear using key character poses and shot types.

Straight ahead action and pose to pose

The braking down of structured motion into a series of clearly defined key points. In a straight ahead action the character will move spontaneously through the action one step at a time until the action is finished.

Follow-through and overlapping action

These are techniques used to make actions richer, fuller, detailed and more subtle. Follow through are actions that occur after a movement and is usually an indication of how the character feels about what has just happened or what is about to happen. Overlapping is the overlapping of multiple actions of a character.

Secondary action

These are smaller motions that compliment the dominant action. for example the bobbing of the body and head in a walk cycle.


The exact moment and the amount of time a character spends on an action adds emotion and intention to the characters performance. Like how quickly it takes for the leg to bend in anticipation for a jump.


This is intended to emphasize the intended action of the character. This can be achieved well using squash and stretch.

Solid modeling and rigging.

Emphasizes the definition of a shape necessary to bring a character to life. This helps convey weight, depth and balance.Riggs are best when they are optimized for specific personality and character motion.

It involves understanding the basics of anatomy, composition, weight, balance, light, shadow etc to make something believable and recognizable in the effect and image you are trying to portray.

Character personality/Appeal

Characters must have an interesting personality, be well-developed, have a clear set of desires that drive their behavior and actions in order to get an emotional connection with the audience. This could be achieved in the way a character moves. Fine tune the personality using key poses and turnarounds.

I found a really good clip of the principles of animation examples using ice age 2. Just puts them in context.

I also read, in ‘The Anime Art of Hayao Miyazaki’ that all forms of animation comprise a set of basic phases:

Concept– This is the pivotal controlling idea on the basis of which stylistic and technical decisions about the execution of an animated movie are made.

Design– This refers to the visualization of the preliminary concept through the drawing of storyboards that show how the story will be articulated in terms of a specific graphic-pictorial language, how the action will develop, camera angles and where the characters fit into the story.Making the character real and interesting, be it a heroin or villain.

Model sheets– Outlining attributes of individual characters in accordance with the style of movie.