The illusion of life – Disney’s core animation principles

From the video’s about page:

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. 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.

This movie is my personal take about those principles, applied to simple shapes. Like a cube. Check also the animated gif gallery here.


  • polterbyte


    • this is how you can remember: “The principal is your PAL.”

      • Terry Maraccini


  • NathanielNY

    I’m confused—you are quoting here, right? (e.g. “This movie is my personal take…”) But without attribution or link, except to say “Written by Dave Mark” at top? But Dave Mark did not make the movie, right?

  • NathanielNY

    Oh, I found where the text is from — — seems correct to me to provide a link when directly quoting from a webpage, unless you want to create the impression that the writing is yours.

  • Dave Mark

    Sorry about the confusion. Was quoting from the video’s page, but my markup was missing an escape character and I did not make it clear where the quoted text came from. Hopefully this update clarifies things. Mea culpa.

    • NathanielNY

      cool item – thanks for original post & for fix

      • NathanielNY

        & update “principles” too

  • Moeskido

    One of my favorite books, “Animation: Learn How to Draw Animated Cartoons,” written by Disney animator Preston Blair, taught these principles using character sketches. It was part of the Water Foster art book line, which I used to see in art-supply stores.

  • Dave Mark

    LOL. Totally missed the “principals vs principles” comments. Thanks to all who noticed and tried to get me to see this. Sorry it took so long to fix!!! Heh.