Animation is like a car

19.10.2014 - 5 minutes read

Remember the What is animation article ? Well, you can consider this being a part 2.

Animation is like a car.

9 lamborghini car wallpaper

(By the way I love and will be using of lot of metaphors. Why? Read more.

Every good product should have its purpose. Doesn’t matter if its a Ferrari or some low end brand. The core purpose of a car remains the same: “Get you and your stuff from point A to point B.” This definition applies to animation perfectly, you just need to swap “your stuff” for “your ideas” and you get something like this:

Get you and your ideas to a certain point

Just like a car, animation is at its core only a tool for delivering you from where you are to where you want to be. On top of that however, both of these have additional layers, each serving its own purpose. Some of them pleasing the eye, like a design of the car or style of the animation, some of them nicely hidden under the hood to keep the whole thing running, for a car its pretty obvious, for animation the motor is the actual technique, all the principles that you need to apply.


Furthermore when driving you can use a map to get where you want to get, in animation it is usually a script you can to follow. You can think of the waypoints on the map as a pose to pose approach. Or you can forget about the map and just start driving, that would be the straight ahead.

I could go on and on because these two things relate to each other really well…you get it, animation is similar to car, but where is my point ?

Even when having the most awesome car in the world it will get you nowhere because its just a car. You need a driver to move it, who is the driver? Its a human being, bunch of bones and muscles with mind. Just like you.


The car (animation) can’t move itself, the driver (animator) moves it and the mind of the driver controls the driver. As far as I know there is nothing else controlling the mind. Because of that the logic tells me to focus on the mind of the driver (animator).


By this we have just introduced 2 most important things when it comes to animation:

  • 1. Animation technique
  • 2. Mindset

Animation technique

Most of the beginners get caught in a trap thinking that this is the most important thing to nail down. Of course it is very important to know all the principles and rules but this is definitely not something you should be focused on the most.

  • – Timing, spacing, squash and stretch, all the principles and theory.
  • – There are dozens and dozens of tutorials and books on these.
  • – Youtube, google, Animators survival kit, Drawn to life.
  • – Check out the Animation technique article.


This is where the treasure is located. And this is what I will be focusing on the most. Just by acknowledging the fact that there is more to animation than just spacing, timing, poses etc. you instantly become a better, more complete animator.

  • – Attitude and approach.
  • – Realization of the fact that you are working with the audience on a subconscious level.
  • – Working with emotions.
  • – Communicating thoughts and ideas.
  • – Breaking things down.
  • – Studying human needs. (Read more)
  • – Studying subconscious mind. (Read more)
  • – Studying universal principles and rules.
  • – Clarity and quality over quantity.
  • – Using questions like Why? Or How?

Now that we are aware of what we need to study there’s nothing in our way to start digging into it.

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