12 Principles of Animation - Secondary Action

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Seconday Action in Animation

A secondary action is a supplementary activity to the main activity. The purpose of secondary action is to emphasize the personality and emotion of the character.

Differences between Secondary Action and Follow

The follow-through action takes place only after the main action; while there is no such cause-result relationship between the secondary action and its main action.

When a pitcher throws a ball, their arm swings after the ball flies out of their hand - the main action is throwing the ball, and the arm-swing is the follow-through action caused by the inertia power of movement.

When a pitcher throws a ball out and strikes out, they jump, waving their arm with a clenching fist. That arm swing and fist-clenching are the secondary actions that emphasize their excitement.

How to Create the Secondary Action

Secondary action is about emotion and styling. Therefore focus on the adjective or adverb when designing the secondary action. For example, "Jimmy walks happily" and "Jimmy walks sadly", focus on the actions that present "happily" and "sadly." Acting out the actions or reference videos help you capture the details.

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