Tuesday, 12 March 2019

The Importance of Anticipation

Anticipation - Illusion of Life
Anticipation is one of the 12 Principles of Animation, and it is one of the key principles that every animator must master.

Every action tends to have three components: an anticipation, an action, and a reaction. If you make the anticipation clear, then the rest should follow effortlessly.

Consider the anticipation drawing of Donal Duck on the left, taken from the classic Disney instruction manual "The Illusion of Life" - still a must-have book on every animator's shelf.

It's absolutely clear what Donald is about to do - even though he hasn't done it yet.

The trick with a good anticipation pose is that it is made so clear that the audience knows what the character is going to do, before he or she actually does it. 

Consider the drawing below and left, taken from the Animator's Survival Kit - another book that every animator should own

The staging of this pose is so clear that we know exactly what the character will do next. 

Disney Studio
Like all the 12 Principles of Animation, Anticipation was discovered early on at the Disney Studio in Los Angeles. 

Walt Disney constantly pushed his animators to improve their work, and insisted that visual gags should be clear, ensuring that the audience could always see everything clearly, so they could anticipate what was going to happen. 

Below are two more examples, also from the Animator's Survival Kit.  The first shows a man about to hammer a nail into the wall. There are three ways to stage the pose - but only one way is clear, and actually tells the audience what is about to happen. 

In the second example, a baseball player winds up, anticipates, and throws a ball. Again, the anticipation pose is so clear that we know exactly what will happen. 

A good anticipation drawing, or pose, helps the audience understand the shot. Like so much else in animation, being clear is 50% of the task in hand. 

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