12 Principles of Animation – Archs, Overlapping, Secondary Movement & Follow Through

February 3, 2014 § Leave a comment

Thinking & Practice Tutorial 03/02/14


Most objects, due to laws of physics, do not move in a straight line. Animation works better when taking this into account.

In After Effects a new solid was created. The ellipse tool was activated to make it circular, then it was dragged to the top left hand corner, the position was activated, and the timeline was dragged to 1 second. The object was moved out in a straight line. This created a simple animation, with no weight or character, just linear movement. The shape was duplicated then moved to the bottom. Once  zoomed in the bezier was moved up slightly. The timeline was moved to the final key and the bezier was moved on the opposite side. This creates an arch like movement when animation is played, which suggests weight and momentum.

Overlapping and Secondary Animation

The first layer was deleted, the second layer was moved across and up, then using the pen tool (which was set to no fill and solid stroke at 10 pixels). A  line was drawn and moved behind the solid, the layers were linked and the arch moved up to the top of the composition. The rotation was set to 35 degrees, the timeline was then moved to the middle, and the rotation was set to -35 degrees. Once played this creates pendulum like movement.

To add realism to this, an overlap was added. The line was curved using the bezier handles. This was done on the opposite side and then straightened up, which created a secondary motion and overlap.

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 14.26.40

Screen Shot 2014-02-03 at 14.20.58

Follow Through

When the primary action comes to a stop and secondary objects keep moving with momentum, this is called a follow through. To do this the movement was really exaggerated by dragging out the end of the pendulum , where it comes to a halt, then drag it straight and move it along the timeline to do the opposite side. When switching on the original layer you can see the difference in movement – one is more flowing and exaggerated than the other.


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