After Effects – 12 Principles of Animation (Part 1)

January 27, 2014 § Leave a comment

After Effects - 12 Principles of Animation (Part 1)

The 12 principles are a set of guidelines created by the animators at disney to refine the idea of adding realism to
animated motion. They are practical devices for giving animation rhythm, weight and visual presence or appeal.
1. Timing – the beat of the animation. create a composition 960 x 540 25fps 5sec
2. create a solid 100px x 100px / move to left of comp
3. Move timeline to zero / P for position / click stopwatch to start animation
4. move timeline to 1 sec / move box to right / move timeline to 2 sec / move box back to left
5. this is effectively a ‘beat’ / the Spacing determines the pace of the beat – the tempo or rhythm
6. by adding a hold in the middle of the movement, you create punctuation
You can tune the tempo of the movement by adding another principle – Easing (Slow in – Slow out). This can be
confusing in After Effects – Slow in (ease out) and Slow out (Ease in). Using easing helps change the spacing
and adds subtlety to movement – see the diagram ‘easing.jpg’ on UniLearn.
1. remove the last key on the animation / animation just moves from left to right
2. Select the solid layer / Command D to duplicate
3. P for position and click on position to select all keys / move this layer down
4. select the first key / right click / Keyframe assistant / add Easy ease out
5. Select the second solid layer / Command D to duplicate the layer
6. select both keys / right click / Keyframe assistant / add Easy ease
7. play animation to see the difference between all three layers
By adding Exaggeration to certain aspects of our animated objects we can add further realism, giving the
appearance of weight. One of the techniques here is Squash and Stretch which distorts features or forms.
1. Create a new comp / 960×540 – 5sec – 25fps
2. Create a solid 100px x 100px / use the ellipse shape tool / double click to make a circle
3. Use the Pan behind tool to move the anchor point to bottom of circle
4. Duplicate this layer twice / change colour of solids in solid settings
5. Select all three layers / hit P for position / select stopwatch to start animation
6. Animate all three circles down to bottom from frame zero to 1 sec / then back up to 2 sec
7. move the first key in two or three frames / drag the work area in to two for three frames after end
8. Trim comp to work area / hide left most animation layer
9. select both of the visible animation layers and hit S for scale / click stopwatch to start animation
10. Hit U to show all keyframes on each layer / unlock scale constraint
11. On the middle keyframe, adjust Y scale (right %) to 50 & X scale (left %) to 200
12. move scale keys from frame zero to the frame before the middle to add squash
13. on each layer separately select middle rotation & scale keys
14. move just after middle / select each layer in turn / past both scale & rotation keys from middle
15. This creates a hold at the bottom /
16. repeat this with the scale key just before middle / past the key 5 frames after the hold
17. move keys closer together to increase speed of animation
18. drag work area in and trim comp to work area / play animation to check speed
19. now select the right hand layer and just work on that animation adding stretch
20. move the timeline very close to middle keys on the down stroke / change scale – x=75% y=150%
21. make sure ball is long and thin till it hits ground / copy this scale key to other side of middle
22. exaggerate squash at bottom / make stretch longer on up stroke
23. ball should be round at top (100% x 100%) / add an extra ket to the hold at the top (hover)
24. turn on motion blur for this layer / turn on motion blur for comp
25. Add easy ease for first and last position keys / turn on all layers / adjust timing
26. render out





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