Animated Video Production

Principles of Animation: Secondary Action

David 04.22.2013

Secondary action is the use of a subsidiary action within a scene to add more life and dimension to the main action. Generally, this will be something moving (hair blowing, clothes rippling, etc.) that is affected by the main action. If the secondary actions are featured too prominently, they can overshadow the main action, but used properly secondary action can add believability and detail to the scene.

Take a look at an example from a video we made for Viewboost. In the bottom left of the screen we see a “Cheese” Jedi who unveils his lightsaber, and then swings it around. The swing of his lightsaber is the main action within the scene, but look more closely at the way his sleeve swings from side to side. The movement in his shirt is an example of secondary action, as it works to supplement the swinging of the lightsaber.

secondary action1

That’s all until next week. May the animated principles be with you, always.

  • yodiddlydoo

    Actually, what you have explained here is overlapping action and follow-through. Hair, sleeves etc are not secondary action, those are follow-through and overlapping action. Secondary action would be if the Jedi were to grab a second saber as he swings his lightsaber around, or uses the force to push something. Secondary is an ancillary movement or action to the main one. If you are confused still, frank and Ollie explain it quite well and Richard Williams has it in his book as well as there being a plethora of articles online at your disposal.

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