A video on the 12 principles of animation titled “The Illusion of Life” by Cento Lodigiani has been making the rounds this week. It’s a very well down breakdown of the animation principles defined in the 1930s, which are still relevant today. What makes this video work so well is the simplicity of the design. By using a simple shape, it focusses the attention on the principle described and shows just how well it works by bringing life to a square. Cento has also created a Tumblr with handy GIFs of each of the principles.

Even if you don’t consider yourself a traditional animator, or if you think motion design is separate from animation, these principles are worth studying. Apply them to your next motion design piece. You’ll have a stronger result because of it.

To learn more about these principles and get a great foundation on animation, I highly recommend The Animator’s Survival Kit by Richard Williams. It’s a great read and reference to have with you at all times.