Activity 8: Principles of Animation – Squash & Stretch


Whether you’re animating by hand or using digital techniques, there are some basic principles that remain universal. Lip-synching, squash and stretch, walk cycles – all are familiar hallmarks of animation, and should be mastered no matter how you prefer to animate.

Principles of Animation – Web Unit on Prezi

Squash and stretch:  The most important principle is “squash and stretch”, the purpose of which is to give a sense of weight and flexibility to drawn objects. It can be applied to simple objects, like a bouncing ball, or more complex constructions, like the musculature of a human face.   Taken to an extreme point, a figure stretched or squashed to an exaggerated degree can have a comical effect.  In realistic animation, however, the most important aspect of this principle is the fact that an object’s volume does not change when squashed or stretched. If the length of a ball is stretched vertically, its width (in three dimensions, also its depth) needs to contract correspondingly horizontally.



  • Create an activity 11 subfolder in your Unit 1 folder,
  • Go to the following online Flash book and navigate to page 63 and page 64:
  • Follow instruction to create activity,
  • Only create the gradient red ball squash and stretch,
  • Save your work as: firstlastname_activty11.fla
  • export movie as: firstlastname_activty11.swf



Teacher Tutorial:

Animation Unit, Principles of Animation from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

Animation Unit, Squash and Stretch Activity from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

Animation Unit, Squash and Stretch Activity part 2 from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

Animation Unit, squash and stretch part 3 from Digital Voices on Vimeo.

Teacher’s timeline example:

Teacher Example: