One of the great things about working in moving image is the amount of resource that is available to you as an artist.
For motion graphics artists and animators alike, one of the greatest documents is the twelve principles of animation. Originally put together by Disney artists for the book ‘The illusion of life’ as a definitive guide to making your work look better, the twelve principles is one of the most useful guides for creating visually stunning animation and improving your skill set.

Have a look at the example below, and see some of the rules in action.

Ok, lets start with a bouncing ball.
Great, but it doesn’t look very realistic. Its just a ball moving up and down at a constant speed. Time to apply rule one.

Rule – Slow in Slow out

Simply put, acceleration and deceleration. A bouncing ball needs to speed up when its falling and slow down as it reaches its highest point of travel.

This simulates gravity and gives the audience an idea of the ball’s density and weight.

Rule – Squash and stretch

Have you ever seen a ball hit the floor and keep its shape? Bowling balls don’t count, they also don’t bounce.

Applying squash and stretch to an object or character will give it a more organic elastic feel. The idea is that if an object is squashed down it should stretch out sideways and vice versa.

Rule – Secondary action

So a bouncy ball thats squashing and stretching, and has acceleration and deceleration, is great. But what about adding some secondary action?

Adding secondary actions to the main action gives a scene more life, so we put in a nice little rotating face and a interactive shadow.

These principles are a fantastic starting point for any motion artist or budding animator to help improve the standard of their work.

If you would like to read more about the twelve principles of animation, there is a great video demonstration of all twelve here.