Character animation is the process of creating the illusion of life in animated characters. It’s a crucial aspect of the animation industry, as it enables studios and artists to tell engaging stories, evoke emotions, and captivate audiences worldwide. In this article, we’ll delve into the art of character animation, exploring its history, principles, and techniques.

A Brief History of Character Animation

Character animation has its roots in traditional hand-drawn animation, dating back to the early 20th century. Walt Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) was a groundbreaking achievement in character animation, setting the standard for future productions. The introduction of computer-generated imagery (CGI) in the 1990s revolutionized the industry, enabling the creation of more complex and realistic characters.

The 12 Principles of Character Animation

In the 1930s, Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas developed the 12 principles of character animation. These principles remain the foundation of character animation, ensuring that characters appear lifelike and engaging:

  1. Squash and Stretch: The ability to exaggerate movements and deform characters for comedic effect.
  2. Anticipation: The movement or action that precedes a main action.
  3. Staging: The presentation and placement of characters within a scene.
  4. Straight Ahead Action and Pose to Pose: Two different approaches to animating scenes.
  5. Follow Through and Overlapping Action: The continuation of movement beyond the main action.
  6. Slow In and Slow Out: The practice of slowing down animation at the beginning and end of movements.
  7. Arcs: The use of curved motions to create fluid animation.
  8. Secondary Action: The addition of secondary movements to enhance the main action.
  9. Timing: The control of the length and pacing of scenes.
  10. Exaggeration: The amplification of movements and emotions for dramatic effect.
  11. Solid Drawing: The ability to create a sense of volume and weight in characters.
  12. Appeal: The creation of visually appealing and engaging characters.

Techniques in Character Animation

Several techniques are employed in character animation to bring characters to life:

  • Keyframe Animation: The process of setting key poses and movements, with the computer filling in the missing frames.
  • Motion Capture: The recording of live-action performances, translating them into digital data.
  • Facial Animation: The creation of realistic facial expressions and lip movements.
  • Physics and Dynamics: The simulation of real-world physics and dynamics in animation.

The Future of Character Animation

The art of character animation continues to evolve, with advancements in technology and software pushing the boundaries of what’s possible. The rise of virtual production, AI-assisted animation, and real-time rendering is transforming the industry, enabling artists to create more sophisticated and immersive characters.


Character animation is a unique blend of artistry, technical skill, and storytelling. By understanding the principles and techniques of character animation, artists can craft believable, engaging, and memorable characters that captivate audiences worldwide. As the industry continues to evolve, one thing remains certain – the art of character animation will remain a vital part of the animation industry, bringing joy and wonder to generations to come. vizjer