Bouncing Cube(s)

In the following activity, we’re going to explore the 12 principles of animation and how we can apply some of them to objects in Cinema 4D.

But what are the 12 principles of animation?

Disney’s twelve basic principles of animation were introduced by the Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas in their 1981 book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation.[a][1] The principles are based on the work of Disney animators from the 1930s onwards, in their quest to produce more realistic animations. The main purpose of these principles was to produce an illusion that cartoon characters adhered to the basic laws of physics, but they also dealt with more abstract issues, such as emotional timing and character appeal.

The book has been referred to by some as the “Bible of animation”,[2] and some of its principles have been adopted by traditional studios. In 1999, The Illusion of Life was voted the number one “best animation book[…] of all time” in an online poll done by Animation World Network.[3] While originally intended to apply to traditional, hand-drawn animation, the principles still have great relevance for today’s more prevalent computer animation.

“Twelve basic principles of animation”, n.d.

Before we jump into Cinema 4D, let’s take a look at the following video, 12 Principles of Animation, by Alan Becker. This will give us a foundation of some of the terminology we’ll be using throughout this activity.

OK, now that we got some of the terminology out of the way, let’s jump into Cinema 4D and put it all into practice. Starting with the first video in the following playlist create a looping animation of a cube bouncing up and down on the same spot. In the second video, you’ll build on what you learned in the first and some additional controls to animate your cube jumping from one platform to another.

If you have any questions, please post them in the comments below or send me an email at