Frank and Ollie
Our Work
Tales from the Table
Nilknarf & Revilo
Animation Tips
Principles of Physical Animation
Principles of Emotional Animation
Animation Notes from Ollie
Work In Progress
Contact Us
Best Homework Help
Site Map
At the Academy
The Marie E
Ollie's NEA Medal
Frank Thomas
Ollie Johnston

Animation Tips  >  Keys to Emotion in Animation

by Frank Thomas & Ollie Johnston, June 2003

  1. Is the character doing what the director wants in the sequence?
  2. Is the character doing only one thing at a time?
  3. Is the character putting over the story point in the scene you are doing?
  4. Is the character acting as if there is something going on in his mind?
  5. Does the character appear to be doing something on his own?
  6. Can the audience tell what the character is thinking?
  7. How does what the character is doing effect what the audience is thinking?
  8. Does the character have appeal?
  9. Is it passionate? Is passion going into the drawing and coming out of the character?
  10. Is it the simplest way to do it?
  11. Have you made small story sketches of one important character to be sure everything is working before you make a lot of drawings?
  12. Would any one else besides your mother like what you have done?



"Frank 'n' Cuke"(requires QuickTime)

See if you can tell what the character is thinking and feeling in this short stop action animation created by Frank in 1985 with a Macintosh Plus.

"The Whistling Contest" (requires QuickTime)

Try watching this short animation we created in 2002 with an eye towards what each character is thinking and feeling.

Hosted by our
friends at

Unless otherwise credited, all characters, logo images and titles shown herein are
© Copyright 2011 by All rights reserved. Reproduction of any of these images, pages or parts thereof without specific written permission is strictly prohibited.