Animated Video Production

Principles of Animation: Anticipation and Follow-through

David 04.10.2013

One of the main components in storytelling is the inclusion of a beginning, middle, and an end. The same applies when depicting a planned series of events within an animated scene. Anticipation, therefore, is the preparation of a character’s main action within the scene, whereas follow-through is the completion of that action. Used properly, this principle should better inform the audience of what the character is doing within the scene, while adding a level of weight and believability to the character as well.

Imagine you are watching a golfer about to hit a golf ball. The viewer must first see the golfer swing his club backward (anticipation), before connecting with the ball (main action), and then continuing on with the rest of his swing (follow-through). While this may seem overly simplistic, the absence of these elements can leave viewers disoriented, or worse, disengaged with the subject at hand.

Let’s take a look at an example from a spot we did for Eastlink Wireless. Notice how the progression of action operates in this scene. We first see the woman as she’s standing on the box. She then bends her knees in anticipation of what’s about to happen, and springs into action by leaping from the ground up into the air.


Here’s another example from a spot we did for Eastlink, which is a good example of follow through. In this scene, a man jumps from the right side of the screen onto a set of large letters spelling out “FREE.” In this scene the man follows through his action by landing, absorbing the impact by bending his knees, and then straightening himself upward once more. Can you imagine how unrealistic this action would appear if he stopped upon initial contact with the surface?


Be sure to check back next week, as we explore the techniques of “ease in, and ease out.”

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