The Illusion of Life

My brother and I studied animation, and for a time we were enamored with the cartoon design principles that were founded at Walt Disney studios. Whether you’re an artist or not, you have been charmed by these design standards from the best of animations.

What’s endlessly fascinating is that these are animation tricks that emulate real life. They appear the way we know these motion tricks work from our human experiences. Yet, animators have exaggerated real-life motion, as to add personality and amusement to the movement of everyday, lifeless, motionless objects.

And when good design techniques are applied to a good story and good characters, the viewing is all the richer. These practices haven’t changed in 70 years. Mankind will be hard-pressed to come up with better approaches 500 years from now, because the techniques seem nearly flawless. When you have the illusion of life, you shouldn’t change a thing.

Joe Darnell

Joe is a UI and graphic designer with prior experience as the creative director for three media-based businesses. Joe’s passionate about web design and graphic design with about 15 years of experience in the media industry. Additionally, Joe is the host of the Top Brew and Techtonic podasts, both featured on iTunes.