12 Principles of Animation – Part I

12 Principles of Animation – Part I


Disney’s Nine Old Men developed the principles of animation as a way to communicate about the art that they developed so masterfully.  The 12 principles of animation are not meant to be a check list.  They are however concepts that can be used in combination to achieve a specific results.  If an animation is developed fully all of the principles will be present in varying degrees.  Goofy is a strong exercise in Squash & Stretch, Follow Through & Overlapping Action, Arcs, Exaggeration.  Timing and all the other principles still apply but may not be pushed as far.  Mickey has different traits that are pushed for full effect and his personality is effected because of it.  The realizations about the differences in character traits have led to the creation of many memorable characters over the years.

Here is a list of the Nine Old Men and some of their contributions to the art of animation:

1. Les Clark – Animated Mickey Mouse
2. Marc Davis – Character Designer (Maleficent, Pirates, Haunted Mansion)
3. Ollie Johnston – Mr.Smee, Step Sisters, Ichabob Crane, Sir hiss
4. Milt Kahl – Shere Khan, Edger the Butler, Sheriff of nottingham, Madame Medusa
5. Ward Kimball – Lucifer, Jaq & Gus,  Mad Hatter, chesire cat
6. Eric Larson – Peg, Peter Pan Flight, Brer Rabbit,fox,Bear – Became a trainer.
7. John Lounsbery – Gators, George Darling, the kings, The Elephants
8. Wolfgang Reitherman – Crocodile, the Dragon, The Rat
9. Frank Thomas – Wicked Stepmother, Queen of Hearts, Captain Hook

Frank & Ollie

Two of the nine old men I would consider to be the Fathers of Modern Character Animation.  Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston pushed the limits of animation and began to develop personalities in characters.  They were friends that worked on many scenes together and even live next to each other in California.  They played a major part in the future of the the Studio after Disney’s sudden Death. During that time they carried most of the load in the Jungle Book.

Disney Animation: The Illusion of Life (ISBN 0-7868-6070-7)

They authored The Illusion of Life which talks about Disney Animation, The Nine Old Men, The Principles of Animation, as well as the Animation Process and it’s history at Disney Feature.  Brad Bird having had known Frank and Ollie place cameos of the two in The Iron Giant & The Incredibles.

The Iron Giant – Frank and Ollie

The Iron Giant

The Incredibles – Frank and Ollie

The Incredibles

12 Principles of Animation – Part II / Part III / Part IV

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