12 Principles of Animation and the History of Animation Development in the World

12 Principles of Animation – Sinaumed’s certainly understands very well that an animation cannot be separated from the creativity of the animator’s hands. Yep, the main capital for an animator to be able to create a good animation is when he is able to capture an existing momentum in the form of a sequence of images, so that it seems as if the image is moving or alive.

An animator is different from a comic artist, cartoonist, or illustrator, especially when making a picture appear to be moving or alive. In terms of making this animation, it cannot be said that the process is easy, because there are many basic theories that an animator must learn.

One of the basic theories regarding making this animation is regarding the 12 principles of animation. These 12 principles of animation cover a lot of things, from the basics of motion, timing, visualization, to the techniques of making it. So, what are the 12 principles of animation? How is the history of the development of animation in the world to be as sophisticated as it is now? So, so that Sinaumed’s understands these things, let’s look at the following review of the 12 principles of animation!

What are the 12 Principles of Animation?

1. Solid Drawing

The main basis of the process of making animation is drawing. Yep, this drawing activity plays a significant role in determining neither the process nor the result of an animation, especially classic animation. Solid drawing is the ability to draw characters from various angles so that the characters will appear 3D and be consistent in each frame of the animation.

Usually, when applying this principle, an animator will still consider all the attributes of his character. Starting from the location of the eyes, clothing models, to any accessories attached to the character, must be drawn consistently. Not only that, an animator must also have sensitivity in terms of balance, composition, weight, and lighting for his character.

Actually, in the Solid Drawing principle which depends on this drawing activity, it can be replaced by using a computer. It’s just that, drawing a character by hand actually produces a more “real” animation.

2. Squash & Stretch (Flexible)

This first principle is when there is an addition of a bending (plastic) effect to the character or object, so that it will appear as if it is expanding or contracting. If so, then the character will have a livelier motion effect. This principle can be applied to characters in the form of living things, from humans to animals. Later, ‘enhancements’ will be given as well as dynamic effects on certain movements. Then, can this principle not be applied to characters that are inanimate objects? Of course you can, usually inanimate objects such as tables, glasses and bottles are used.

3. Timing & Spacing Timing (Duration)

In the principle of timing, it determines when a movement on a character must be carried out. Meanwhile, the principle of spacing refers more to the placement and number of images, so that it will determine the acceleration and deceleration of the various types of motion in the character. These two principles have different definitions but are related to one another.

In timing, it determines how many seconds a character can walk until it stops at its destination. Meanwhile, spacing determines the density of the image more. This was also expressed by a Disney animator named Grim Natwick, who argued that ” Animation is about timing and spacing “.

Look at the following picture!

In the picture, there are numbers that indicate the frame number. While the existing line shows the distance or change between objects before and after (spacing).

4. Anticipation (Initial Movement)

Anticipation is the preparation for the initial movement which has 3 parts, namely the initial part (anticipation), the movement itself, and the final movement ( follow through ). This principle can be considered as preparation for motion or square off. Just like humans who want to run or jump, they will definitely make a square off first, right? Well, in making animated characters as well.

For example, for a character who wants to make a jump, it must be preceded by a bending motion and then actually jump. Another example is when a character is about to make a hitting move, then his hand must go backwards then forward.

5. Slow In & Slow Out

Almost the same as the principle of spacing related to acceleration and deceleration. This principle also emphasizes that every movement in a character must have different acceleration and deceleration.

Slow In: occurs when a movement that was initially slow then becomes fast.

Slow Out: occurs when a relatively fast movement then progressively slows down.

6. Secondary Action (Closing Movement)

Namely an additional movement that aims to strengthen the main movement so that the character looks more realistic. Please note that these additional moves may not exceed the main move … 

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For example, in a stepping motion, the position of the hands must be able to balance the footsteps. Likewise with the position of the waist which will also rotate when the body is leaning to the right or left.

7. Arc

Namely a movement that follows an arc-shaped pattern (circle, ellipse, or parabola). This principle is usually used for characters who will move to throw the ball, so that the existence of this “Arc” is shown on the trajectory of the hand or the trajectory of the ball’s motion in the air. Another example is when an animator wants to make a character shake his head, the resulting movement will curve slightly up or down to form a circle.

8. Follow Through & Overlapping Action

The principle of follow through is when a body part continues to move even though the character has stopped moving. For example, when the head turns to the right, the hair also moves.

While overlapping is when the movements precede each other. For example, when there is an animal character that is jumping, shortly after jumping, its ears are still twitching even though the main movement has stopped.

9. Straight Ahead & Pose to Pose

The straight ahead principle is to create animations by drawing them one by one, frame by frame, from start to finish. Even though the use of this principle seems time-consuming, the image quality remains consistent, because it is only done by one person. The principle of straight ahead also requires improvisation from the animator so that the results of the movement of the characters look more natural. Unfortunately, without the animator realizing it, through this principle it is not uncommon for the character drawings to grow or shrink.

While the principle of pose to pose is making animation by drawing only on certain keyframes. Furthermore, the in-between or interval between keyframes will be drawn by other animators. This method actually saves more time because it involves a lot of resources, so it is often used in the animation industry.

10. Staging

Staging in this animation principle includes how the ‘environment’ around the character is created to support the atmosphere of part or all of the scene. Therefore, this principle really refers to the cinematography and the silhouettes of the characters. If it is related to the silhouette of the character, then it is related to how the ‘camera’ is positioned in the shooting.

If the camera is in the down position, it can make the character look big and scary. Meanwhile, if the camera position is above it will actually make the character appear smaller and look confused. The most effective position is to be on the side, so that later the character will look dynamic and attractive.

11. Exaggeration

This principle emphasizes more on animated movements that have dramatic elements and even tend to be hyperbolic. This principle is usually applied in animation with the comedy genre, so it requires dramatic movements that tend to be extreme, especially in certain expressions. In short, through this principle, the character will be more exaggerated but that is precisely its charm.

12. Appeals

The principle of appeal is closely related to the visual style of animation. Through this principle, not infrequently even the audience will be able to identify where the animation comes from. Take another look at Doraemon animation , Spongebob Squarepants, to Adit & Sopo Jarwo . Must have a different visual style right ? Well, this appeal usually includes style, color, and 3D.

History of the Development of Animation in the World

In an era that is as sophisticated as today, the existence of animation is increasingly popular, especially with the existence of 3D animation that can be created through software. Yep, technological developments have also greatly influenced the development of animation as well. In the past, the Mickey Mouse character, for example, had to be made frame by frame by the animator. What’s more, animation is not only developing in America , you know , but also in Japan, Russia, and even Indonesia.


America is considered as the origin country of animation, even though the first animation was actually created by Charles Émile Reynaud , a French animator. In the 18th century, animation began to develop in America using stop motion techniques. In this technique rely on a series of still images which are then arranged into one so as to create the impression as if the image is moving. This technique is quite difficult to do, you know, because it requires a lot of time and money. To create an animation for just 1 second, it takes a process of approximately 12-24 frames!

The first American to use the stop motion technique was J. Stuart Blackton, who is later considered to be the father of American animation. Thanks to this idea, Blackton succeeded in creating several films using the stop motion technique, namely The Enchanted Drawing (1900) and Humorous Phases of Funny Faces (1906).

As technology develops, especially computers, animation production is also growing. This development makes animation divided into two types namely 2D and 3D. Just a little trivia, between 2D and 3D animation there is a very obvious difference. In 2D animation, animated figures usually use bitmap graphics or vector graphics. While 3D animation is more complex, it is not uncommon for effects to make characters more alive, such as water, fire and lighting effects.

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Also in America, the most popular animation production house was founded along with its characters, namely Disney. Yep, this Disney production house was created by Walt Disney with his works like Mickey Mouse, Donald Duck, Pinocchio, and others. Tell me who are your favorite characters in Disney movies!

Many countries are trying to follow the development of animation from this superpower, one of which is Japan. Even these two countries compete in making animation even though both have different characteristics and visual styles. Animation originating from America is famous for its use of sophisticated technology, while Japanese animation is more on an interesting storyline.


The development of animation finally reached the Asian continent, with Japan as the first originator since 1913. At that time, Shimokawa Bokoten and his colleagues created an animation entitled First Experiment in Animation which turned out to be a big seller. Japanese society calls animation as anime. The development of the anime industry occurred when the Japanese film industry was in decline.

In 1963, an animation entitled Astro Boy appeared which was shown on television with an interesting storyline. Coupled with the existence of a graphic design that was considered sophisticated at that time, this animation was a huge success. Entering the 1990s, many interesting but provocative animations emerged, such as Hideaki Anno’s Neon Genesis Evangelion , Hayao Miyazaki’s Mononoke Hime , and others. In general, these animations carry complex themes of love, courage, and friendship.

As digital technology has developed, animation production in Japan has also developed. Many studios produce animation, one of which is Ghibli , whose works are still popular today. Through this animation, it indirectly reflects the state of society in Japan.


The Russian state has also contributed to developing popular animations, for example Masha & The Bear which has been broadcast on Indonesian television. The development of animation in Red Bear Country was initiated by Ladislas Starevitch , who became known as the Father of Puppet Animation. Even his name is often juxtaposed with Winsor McCay who is the Father of Image Animation.

The occurrence of the October Revolution in Russia in 1917, caused Starevitch to migrate abroad and made the development of animation in that country also stop. It was only in the late 1920s that the Russian ruler, Stalin, was convinced to provide animation studios with capital to make films for propaganda purposes. Yep, the existence of animation turned out to be used as political propaganda but this condition ended in 1956 as the end of Stalin’s leadership.

In the next leadership, Khrushchev, then brought a reform, especially in the world of politics and culture. That is the starting point for the development of animation, even though it takes quite a long time. The development of Russian animation, which has increased in terms of quality, is marked by Fjodor Khitruks’ work entitled History of a Crime (1961). The animation carries a contemporary theme and tells about issues in the reality of the modern world. Even the animated film is considered to be a criticism of Russian society because it tells the story of a man who cannot sleep because of noise disturbances from his neighbour’s environment.

In the era of Khrushchev’s leadership, puppet animation was also born again after being on hiatus for several years. The return of puppet animation was sparked by Soyuzmultfilm in 1953. The most famous animated puppet character is Cheburashka, from the fairy tale story by Eduard Kaspersky. Along with its development, Russian animators are able to produce quality works with international cooperation. For example, there is The Mermaid (1996) by Alexander Petrov, which even received an Oscar nomination.


Our country is also among those following the development of animation, you know , even though it is progressing slowly due to the difficulty in the scope of promotion for the animators. Another reason why the development of animation in Indonesia is very slow is the lack of formal education regarding animation and the lack of mastery of foreign languages. Yep, Indonesian people before this era were very limited in mastering foreign languages, so most animation houses from abroad were less interested in setting up studios in Indonesia. In fact, the wayang kulit culture is also one of the oldest forms of animation in the world.

Nowadays, because technology is getting more sophisticated, animation production in Indonesia is also developing in various ways. Call it Adit & Sopo Jarwo, Battle of Surabaya, Juki The Movie, Kiko and Friends, Somat Family, and many more. Even though it has not yet spread to other countries, we must be proud because Indonesia has been able to create animations that have flexible movements and educational characters.





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