Learn Disney's 12 rules of animation from these GIFs

Animator Cento Lodigian has shown just how important Disney's '12 ways to more lifelike animation' are by turning them into a series of GIFs starring a simple cube.

All from a simple cube, Italian graphic artist Cento Lodigiani has revamped The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston of Walt Disney.

With retro visuals and sounds, Cento skillfully reminds us of the founding greats of illustration, and how their twelve principles still inspire even the flashiest of animators today. Unsurprisingly, there have been plenty of takes on the Thomas’ and Johnston’s principles, but Cento’s work has particularly charmed viewers – and is super easy to understand.

As well as the video, which was created in After Effects with some cell-animated sections, Cento also has a Tumblr dedicated to GIFs of the twelve principles.

From Squash and Stretch to Exaggeration, here we have picked our favourite of Cento’s GIFs.

Squash and Stretch

This neat trick gives the illusion of weight and volume to a character – and can even bring a cube to life.  


Anticipation is a backward movement that prepares the audience for a forward one, like a golfer’s back swing before a hole-in-one. 

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Follow Through and Overlap 

When the main body of a character stops, its other parts have to catch up – nothing stops all at once. 

Slow In and Slow Out 

For an action, more drawings are grouped near the starting and finishing poses, with less in the middle. This softens the movement. 


Like all these principles, Exaggeration stays true to reality, while making it more wild. Good taste can stop this veering into the ridiculous, keeping its appeal polished. 

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