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Principles of squash and stretch, timing, anticipation, ease-in, ease-out and overlapping action.

Mass & Energy

CGI objects are just images on the screen with no weight to them. Animated characters must move in a way to mimic mass and energy it would have if it were real.

Squash and Stretch

Squash shows the energy released to compress the shape of an object when it decelerates. Stretch shows the effect of acceleration and the energy released to lengthen the objects shape. 3D animation programs use motion blur to create this effect.

Ease-in, Ease-out

Objects do not move at a constant rate unless they are in deep space. A heavy tank for instance gradually increases (ease-in) to its full speed and then slows down to a halt (ease-out).


In movement objects can be snappy and a lot of CGI animated movements including mine can be slow with a bit too much ease-in and ease-out.


This is a smaller action preparing for a larger movement. For instance my creature in Enemy Grace pulls back its arm slightly before striking it forward with the stick weapon.


To use the strike example again, once the creature has struck, the forearm reflexes back before the main movement of the arm being pulled back. It is virtually the other end of Anticipation. If you bang the table with your fist, the fist reflexes back and does not remain motionlessly stuck to the table on impact.

Moving Holds

3D CGI characters look very false and dead when not moving. So even if an arm or the head is supposed to be still, it should be made to move very slightly over a number of frames to give the illusion of life.

Overlapping Action

These are animated actions of objects connected to the main animated character. This could be the keys the character is holding, for they do not remain motionless as they have there own movement.