The Five Fundamentals of Game Animation: An Introduction

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The 12 Principles of animation are the foundation for good animation, but video games have their own set of fundamentals separate from linear film and TV animation. Let’s look at them!

Thanks to Jonathan Cooper and his book “GAME ANIM: VIDEO GAME ANIMATION EXPLAINED” for helping me with this video. You can follow him on Twitter @GameAnim

You can start watching @New Frame Plus’s playlist on The 12 Principles of Animation in Games. Here’s the video on becoming a game animator if you’re lazy and don’t want to go to his channel and search:

Please consider supporting the channel through Patreon to help improve the quality of research, editing, footage capture, animation and overall production of each episode:


0:00 – 3:20 = It’ll Be Alright – YouTube Royalty Free Music
3:20 – 7:51 = See You Soon – YouTube Royalty Free Music
7:51 – 9:26 = Ubiquitous – YouTube Royalty Free Music


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34 thoughts on “The Five Fundamentals of Game Animation: An Introduction

  1. Ah man. So much content to mull over in such a small amount of time. Brilliant video, Dan. That GTA carjack transition was nice too!

  2. 😀 This was a wonderful video. My love for cartoons started my love for games and my desire to want to create games. Games always reminded me of playing a cartoon. 😁👍🏽

  3. Dan, thanks for the wonderful content. Looking forward to these videos. Also, you’re so kind and attentive on comments. Solid good dude behavior.

  4. 2:29 That was superb.Capcom really nailed it with those backgrounds.
    The atmosphere is vibrant and the characters look like oversized giant humans.

    Your recommendations for new channels was too long.The community section would have sufficed but its alright.

    What games are you planning to give spotlights in the near future.

    In my humble opinion studying the atmosphere,vibe,environment is easy so you could do it.I suppose its not that hard when you take a look at the graphics and say how you feel.
    You make us wait but the quality always delivers.

  5. I JUST handed in a uni paper on this ahaha thanks for the pro take on this! I can’t wait to see the others in the series 😀

  6. Sheep, Dog 'n' Wolf is a big part of my childhood, and the animation in that game, given the minimal resources the animators had to work with, are still fascinating to me even today. Infogrames got so much about cartoon-y animation right in that rather underappreciated game that even modern developers don't live up to.

  7. Thanks for the great video.
    A piece of constructive advice: 
    I suggest you use more upbeat music. The type of music you used here is a bit too relaxing and makes me feel sleepy (especially the music you used at the beginning of the video). Especially since you have such a calm and soothing voice.
    So yeah, thank you, and please consider changing the music.

  8. I love these. I get excited when a new video comes. You are doing a great job. Can't wait for the next one.

  9. I did the thing. That is… Hit like, subscribe, the bell, comment, order chicken, and stalk Dan… very quietly until the next episode releases.

  10. Nicely done! Its an interesting set of questions that are valuable in determining how well animation is working in a video game.

    Feel: Does the animation compliment gameplay?
    Fluidity: How well does it balance between various animation states?
    Readability: Does the animation communicate what action is supposed to be taking place? (telegraphed attacks etc.)
    Context: Will this animation suit what actions need to be done in game?
    Elegance: Can the animation be used in a more efficient or convincing manner? (for production or otherwise)

    I also wonder how you feel about one more fundamental that seems hinted at but not explicitly stated?
    Control: Does the computer, player, AI, or animator control what is happening?
    Basically a question of what combination of procedural animation, animator driven animation, and user controlled input is being used to achieve the final result.

  11. One thing I hate a lot about games with realistic animations, like Uncharted and new GoW, is when you slide or magnetize towards an enemy, like say punching someone or a platform when jumping to a ledge, it's ruins the whole thing and it happens way to often.

  12. You want a jarring example of game feel
    Play Death Stranding or RDR2 for a while until your brain is comfortable with it, maybe like an hour, and then jump to Assasins Creed Odyssey or Origins
    It's like your character has the weight of a feather, and if you want another crazy feel, jump to AC Unity or AC4 after playing Origins or Odyssey.
    God it's awful…

  13. The GTA V characters all have different walk and running animations though, even idol posses with weapons

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