Oh Crap, I posted!
Dr. Billy here... yeah I'm a little late to the party but hey what can I say, It's against my nature to read blogs much less actually post to one. But for the sake of solidarity with my fellow practitioners and those of you who subject your cerebral cortex to irradiation I'll do what I can.
Those pesky principles:
In golf its said that a short putt has a 100% chance of not going in the cup. Similarly a scene coming up short on the principles has a 100% chance of sucking. I can hear you already, "Dear god, not the principles again! Won't you give it a rest, I just want to animate."
Dr. Stephen & I get this response from students all the time... it cracks me up because, in my opinion, its not animation without them. They're the building blocks on which you not only construct the foundation of your scene but they can also can describe character, emotion, intention and keep the attention of the audience exactly where you want it.
I kinda see it like this: Until you get out of blocking & you start getting things on arcs, overlapping the elements, making room for the anticipations, squashing & stretching to show weight & mass, exaggerating a liitle more or a little less and working tirelessly to squeeze appeal out of the character... your not animating, your just moving stuff around.
Just like in a recipie some scenes will rely more on one principle than another. Look at your scene, think about how you can get more out of the scene by really focusing on a principle that will elevate the scene. Just beware though... the principles dont take lightly to being exploited & will exact their revenge by making your scene unwatchable if you go too far without good reason. I believe that when it comes to the principles you should always be looking at the scene & asking yourself "what's left, what's missing'... and when in doubt just start going down the list.
The best resource for understanding the principles can be found in chapter 3, in the book "The Illusion of Life". I know that there are other publications on the topic which have much more elaborate illustrations describing these concepts but I like to always return the source. Sometimes fewer illustrations & more thought provoking text can be just as educational.