The Illusion Of Life !

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.

The Illusion of Life : Disney Animation


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.

Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnstone


This excellent short movie is about those principles, applied to simple shapes.

Like a cube

Check also the animated gif gallery


illustionof life_squash-strech

1 Squash and stretch

2 Anticipation

3 Staging

4 Straight ahead action and pose to pose

5 Follow through and overlapping action

6 Slow in and slow out

7 Arcs

8 Secondary action

9 Timing

10 Exaggeration

11 Solid drawing

12 Appeal


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