What Is Squash And Stretch Animation? Guide For Beginners

If you’re wondering what squash and stretch animation are, or how they work, this guide is for you! Squash and stretch is the first of 12 principles of animations This guide will walk you through the basics of Squash and Stretch animation.

So let’s start.

What Is Squash And Stretch Animation?

The squash and stretch ( S&S ) principle is one of the most important principles in animation. It’s used to create the illusion of movement and to make objects look more realistic. The principle is simple- you squish or stretch an object to give it a sense of weight and volume. This makes it look like it’s moving through space. It’s used in both 2D animation and 3D animation and is one of the basic principles that all animators learn.

When animating in 2D, objects are often drawn with a sense of squash and stretch to give the appearance of depth and volume. This principle can also be used when animating in 3D to create realistic movement.

squash and stretch example
Courtesy – Creativebloq

This technique is often used in cartoons to make objects look more realistic. It can be used on characters to make them look like they are moving quickly, or on the scenery to give the impression of motion.

The absence of stretch and shape allows a stiffness or stiffness to the motion of CG animation. In the transition from a proper Squash pose to a Stretch pose or the reverse, you have the tendency to break the perfect solidity that CG animation brings into play.

What is the purpose of the squash and stretch principle explained?

The purpose of squash and stretch is to create the illusion of weight and Fleshiness in Animation. It can be used with common objects, like a bouncing ball, or more complex constructions, such as a person’s face.

This technique allows an Animator for a better sense of flexibility, motion, impact, and smoothness. It gives weight to a drawn object or Animation. This technique is demonstrated often with a bouncing ball, where the ball squashes as it hits the ground and stretches as it flies up. Though this animation principle is widely used in each and every Animation.

How does squash and stretch make animation more believable?

Squash and Stretch give life to an Animation. Below we will go through some examples which will show you how squash and stretch make animations more believable.

Examples 1 ( Ball Bounce Animation )

Here you can observe the way the ball is bouncing. When the ball hits the ground, it squashes and when it is about to go up, it stretches. Using this squash and stretch animation approach, animations appear more believable.

bouncing ball with squash and stretch

Here you can observe the way the ball is bouncing. When the ball hits the ground, it does not squash and when it is about to go up, it does not stretches. And the Animations look very dull.

bouncing ball without squash and stretch

By this example, you should have been acquainted with what is squash and stretch and what their intended purpose is. We’ll continue to address this topic further with more examples.

Examples 2 ( Rectangle Bounce Animation)

This is very similar to the Ball Bounce Animation. The rectangular object is squashing as it impacts the ground and stretching as it is lifted. But you can see the Volume of the object is maintained when it comes back to its original pose or when it comes to rest. We will also discuss this further in the post.

bouncing rectangle with squash and stretch

Examples 3 ( Happy Walk Cycle Animation )

Squash and stretch animation by Nikhil ray
Animated By Nikhil Ray.

In this Walk cycle, the character is happy, and you can watch the way that it bounces up and down. If you watch carefully, it is similar to that of a ball bounce animation and it is also squashing and stretching. Head, body, and legs are being squashed and stretched. So we animators use squash and stretch in every animation to make the animation look believable.

Examples 4 ( Head Turn Animation )

In this Head Turn Animation, you’ll see subtle squash and stretch in the head and neck that make it look more appealing.

Squash and stretch animation by Nikhil ray
Animated By Nikhil Ray.

Note that even without the overall head S&S, the principle has been applied within the poses to increase contrast and flexibility. The eyes and brows squash down. The mouth closes and disappears, then stretches into a smile again. Almost every unit or shape on the character can have S&S applied, so it’s something animators think about constantly as they pose. It’s not just added as a pass or layer later.

Maintaining/Preserving Volume

Maintaining size is also essential, so the object should not appear to grow or shrink so much that it actually looks as though it is growing or gaining size and mass. You need to keep in mind that whenever an object or an Animation Rig is Squash or Stretched it should maintain its volume.

bouncing potato  animation

For instance, the jumping potato when finally comes to rest returns to its initial shape and dimensions without being squashed or stretched.

How do you practice squash and stretch?

Before you begin practicing Squash and Stretch animation, I urge that you read up on the 12 Principles of Animation so that you may have a better understanding of these concepts.

If you’re aware of what the 12 principles of animation are, then maybe then you need to learn the Ball Bounce Animation, which will help with your understanding of Squash and stretch animation, and where to start with it.

You can refer to the below video for more information

Video by Alen Becker


In conclusion, squash and stretch animation is an important principle to understand when creating or animating movement. By understanding how to use squash and stretch, you can create more lifelike animations that are more believable to the viewer. As a beginner, it is important to start with the basics and practice using squash and stretch in your animations. With time and practice, you will be able to create more complex animations that are both realistic and appealing to the eye.