Animated Video Production

12 Principles of Animation: Staging

David 06.10.2013

Staging is the third of twelve basic principles of animation, and is often overlooked by animators, despite its ability to inform every aspect of a narrative.

Simply put:

Staging directs the audience’s attention toward the most important elements in a scene in a way that most effectively tells the story.

Similar to the idea of “blocking” in theater or film – staging deals primarily with where the characters are positioned within the scene. However, the placement, angle, and position of the camera – as well as the use of lighting – are important elements as well.

In this clip from our video for Sevanta Dealflow, the placement of the character within the scene allows us to easily follow his actions and gives us a good sense of the scene’s physical layout.

The protagonist can’t actually see his subordinate, but the subordinate is so busy that the sound of his scurrying to and fro is enough to draw his attention. This motivates the cut to medium shot, which then pulls back to the two-shot to reveal that his colleague is also worried about this problem.

12 principles of animation staging gifWe are building from problem, to realization, to sharing the realization, to a solution. Staging is the most effective principle of animation to move that narrative arc. A more familiar choice might be to have the subordinate pass by in the foreground, but staging the action this way is more dynamic and original.

And that’s staging – the third of twelve principles of animation.

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