The crack propagation characteristics obtained by observing the microstructure of bent coatings at different stages of applied strain were conducted. At the same time, acoustic emission (AE) features of released events were recorded. Generated cracks were found to emit weak acoustic emission events at the initiation (creation) of the crack at the coating surface, and then become strong releasing a uniform acoustic emission energy per event, when propagating transversally in the coating. However, cracks propagating at the interface with the substrate could generate both weak and strong events. It was also found that increasing the thickness of the coating leads to a decrease in the number of events and an increase of their released acoustic emission energy.