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[non-Blender] Principles of Animation


This short video by Cento Lodigiani gives a quick overview of Disney's 12 basic principles of animation.

The 12 basic principles of animation were developed by the 'old men' of Walt Disney Studios, amongst them Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, during the 1930s. Of course they weren't old men at the time, but young men who were at the forefront of exciting discoveries that were contributing to the development of a new art form. These principles came as a result of reflection about their practice and through Disney's desire to use animation to express character and personality.

This movie is my personal take on those principles, applied to simple shapes. Like a cube.

About Author

Bart Veldhuizen

I have a LONG history with Blender - I wrote some of the earliest Blender tutorials, worked for Not a Number and helped run the crowdfunding campaign that open sourced Blender (the first one on the internet!). I founded BlenderNation in 2006 and have been editing it every single day since then ;-)


  1. Craig Richardson on

    Although Disney is what I grew up with in terms of what I saw on tv, Japanese anime is the art form that I believe in, and not Disney, Disney for me is to simple.

    • Josh Strawbridge on

      uh.... not trying to harsh your buzz since i like anime a lot myself but i have oh so rarely seen any anime with animation that would actually stand up against disney's. anime tends to have some blatant shortcuts and work arounds used to cause less work and results in less actual animation. anime tends to simplify things massively in comparison to disney work.

      if you're just talking about style and visual looks of things then you should note that these things aren't style specific so they can be, should be, and are used even in anime.

    • David McDermott on

      You are referring to content/style not technique. The video is talking about the techniques that will help you be a better animator, whatever you are creating. Disney was an incredible technical innovator.

      • Craig Richardson on

        For one you are actually right, I was not commenting on the video in terms of the techniques that the video showcased, I was commenting slightly of topic about the style of the art or the art form, and I was only stating a fact that Disney's art form is very simplistic in nature and colourful of which is cool but I personally like anime because I feel it is more complex, again it is only my opinion on the matter and the comment was not intended to cause an argument.

        I was reading the description of the video when it says Quote "but young men who were at the forefront of exciting discoveries that were contributing to the development of a new art form.", I was just merely saying that, Disney is not the art form that I personally like, but anime is, because I like how it feels more grown up.
        thank you

  2. Josh Strawbridge on

    the squash and stretch looked very broken.

    the end box size is bigger than it was at the height of the bounce even though the box should have returned to it's normal shape at that point before deforming again.
    it should have gotten more thin along with the more vertically stretched it became but it didn't appear to.
    without thinning out during the stretch the illusion of keeping the same volume broke and it just ended up looking like a box that was growing downward and gaining mass until the gained mass just disappeared during the squash.

  3. JudeJackson on

    Guess if you want to be a total douche and make that meaningless comparison, then maybe you can compare Disney's feature productions to some Japanese cartoons, or compare the output of a single studio to the entire creative works of an entire country, whichever completely irrelevant, loaded position you want to argue about like a childish computer science major.

    • Josh Strawbridge on

      so i guess calling people a douche for making a comparison isn't being a douche?

      just so you know in general i enjoy anime more than most of disney's stuff but that doesn't change the fact that most anime does use blatant shortcuts and workarounds to lessen the workload. i'm sure most of them do that because they're on tight schedules that would be extremely difficult to meet otherwise. i mean look at Attack on Titan. there were plenty of delays on that likely because there were also a lot of scenes that required much more animation than you get in your average anime scene.

      at any rate i was just trying to point out that it isn't really so cut and dry as saying Disney = simple and writing off the principles the video is about just because they'd rather watch anime than disney.

      • JudeJackson on

        Well if you don't feel bad about being an arrogant neckbeard, that's no skin off my nose. I'm sure you feel very clever explaining how a television production is usually lower-budget and more limited than a large studio feature production, and I'm sure it doesn't seem especially hypocritical at all to compare apples to oranges on that case. It's still stooping to the level of someone who's trying to compare anime to Disney, but if you're content at that level that's fine.

        • Josh Strawbridge on

          you realize that disney has made more animation than just feature films right?

          if you feel that strongly about it find me a disney show animation where they just throw a completely still shot of a character up and just animate the hair blowing in the wind how about it? or maybe a long shot of a close up of a characters face who isn't talking or moving?

          • JudeJackson on


            Of course I would be harder-pressed to find an example that matches your specific description, because there aren't many low-budget Disney productions that would actually bother with taking a dramatic beat, but it would be fairly easy for me to go through a few feature productions and show you a nice lumpy handful of re-used footage, off-model characters, cliche gestures, and just-plain-bad character acting. But that's beside the point. Trying to compare all Japanese TV to Disney is like comparing Studio Ghibli to Terrytoons, Hanna-Barbera, and other TV studios and then claiming that means JApanese animation is superior.

          • Josh Strawbridge on

            you seem to have misunderstood me. i wasn't saying one one superior i was just saying that disney stuff has more actual animation in it so it's not so cut and dry as "disney is simple and anime is better" since anime may not be as simple visually on a per frame basis but it's certainly much more simple in other areas (such as animation in most cases).

            even as far as things have fallen in phineas and ferb vs the disney cartoon shows i watched as a kid there's still more actual animation happening per episode than in most episodes of anime. that doesn't mean i'd rather watch phineas and ferb or the disney cartoons i watched as a kid than anime though. i'd rather watch anime 9 times out of 10. i'd also be extremely doubtful that there's been a week gone by where i haven't watched at least one episode of an anime since the spring 2012 anime season.

            the thing i suggested you find isn't about dramatic beats or pauses when one character is saying something normal and they're cycling through close up motionless shots of faces just to break up the monotony of the same shot of a character moving nothing but it's mouth more often than not. even in that episode you linked the characters tend to move more while talking than they do in most anime.

            disney animations tend to also not use a lot of still images being panned across as an entire shot.
            if you're going to complain about those things in disney stuff you also have to note that anime also reuses footage, has tons of cliche gestures, and aside from not just bad character acting tends to have very little actual character acting in most cases since the thing moving most is the mouth rather than the character. if it weren't for the voice actors actually putting in some emotion as well as the still shots along with background music/noise inferring a mood then most anime characters would seem stone faced when they aren't popping into one of those over exaggerated reactions.

            again, i'm not saying that disney is better than anime. i do generally enjoy anime more than most disney stuff but i'd be foolish for me or anyone interested in animation to ignore the things this video is about just because we may like anime more regardless of it's frequent use of blatant shortcuts. especially since, as i said in the original comment i made, the things in this video aren't style specific just because it was something the "old men" of disney came up with.

  4. There is a big mistake about timing. Actually what is showed is variation of spacing... But I really like the concept of doing everything with a cube, ti's very clear and efficient.

    • Josh Strawbridge on

      i think it was just poorly explained there.
      the timing used for one animation in that part made the big box look much harder to move and heavier than the other which looked looked easy to move.

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