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Elemental Magic, Volume I: The Art of Special Effects Animation: The Classical Art of Special Effects Animation Paperback – 19 Feb 2009


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Elemental Magic, Volume I: The Art of Special Effects Animation: The Classical Art of Special Effects Animation + Elemental Magic, Volume II: The Technique of Special Effects Animation: 2 (Animation Masters Title) + How to be an Illustrator
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Product details

  • Paperback: 328 pages
  • Publisher: Focal Press (19 Feb. 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0240811631
  • ISBN-13: 978-0240811635
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 26.9 x 2.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 97,353 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

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Review

Now, finally classical effects animation gets its day in the sun with Joseph Gilland's fascinating new book. It's a revelation of the amazing blend of the art and craft behind the magic of this wonderful art form. -Don Hahn, Academy Award-nominated producer of Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King

Veteran Disney animator Joe Gilland's informative book delivers, for the first time, the real nitty-gritty on the art of hand-drawn special effects. The mysteries of hos to believably animate abstract forms representing rain, fire, smoke, etc. are revealed in articulate prose, revelatory graphs, and elegantly beautiful sequential imagery. A must-have guide for animation pros, teachers, and students!
-John Canemaker, Academy Award-winning animator, internationally-renowned animation historian, and teacher 

About the Author

In his 32+ year animation career, he has worked with such studios as Walt Disney Feature Animation, Don Bluth Animation, Productions Pascal Blais and the National Film Board of Canada. At Walt Disney Feature Animation, he served as Supervisor of Visual Effects for the Disney features Lilo & Stitch and Brother Bear. At Disney he also served as Head of Special Effects Units for the Disney features Kingdom of the Sun and Tarzan, and was Special Effects Animator on such notable titles as Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, James and the Giant Peach, Hercules and Mulan. He served as Designer and Supervisor for all 2D and 3D visual effects on the television series Silverwing, and Chaotic at Bardel Animation in Vancouver. He has also designed and directed a wide variety of television commercials. Clients include General Motors, CocaCola, Honda, MacDonald's, Gillette, Players Tobacco, Larrouse Dictionaries, and Radio Quebec. For almost three years, he was the Head of animation, and Digital Character animation at the Vancouver Film School. He lectures at animation schools in Canada, Europe and Asia, and has conducted workshops at animation festivals and schools around the world. he is a professional musician and performer as well. He has been writing professionally for over three years now, and has a bi-monthly column in the online Animation World Magazine, entitled 'The Animated Scene' which has an enormous readership around the world. He has also had articles published in Animation Magazine, the world's foremost industry magazine, as well as well as an article in 'Cartoons' The International Journal of Animation.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Gemma R on 11 Aug. 2010
Format: Paperback
This book on special effects animation is a great resource for professionals and/or students studying the craft. The author, Joseph Gilland, has packed a lot of thought and step-by-step drawings into this book to give you the best start on special effects animation. He has worked on Disney and Don Bluth films (this is evident in his style) so it's coming from a reliable source!

I myself am studying animation at University and always puzzled how certain effects were achieved and what they look like frame-by-frame. Gilland doesn't pretend to be the only resource or instructor for this type of animation, but his detailed chapters on theory and his incredible original drawings demonstrating the action certainly helps! There are also inspiring photographs of the elements to show where your research should always begin.

The most detailed section seems to be the chapter on water--he covers waves, rain, splashes, drips, surfing and more! It shows a huge amount of research and tips for how to get it looking just right, no matter what style you would prefer to render it in. A lot of his examples are actually lessons on the physics and understanding of it all!

This is a brilliant resource and provides a great read as well as an essential backbone for any aspiring special effects animator, or it will serve as a great supplement to any other type of animation, 2D, 3D or otherwise! Highly recommend this for students!
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Format: Paperback
*Aesthetic criticism
*What's inside, Thematic material reviewed
*Secrets of capturing Disney-esque animation revealed
*Who's this book for?

If the old adage, "Never judge a book by its cover," hold true, then Elemental Magic certainly reinforces this notion. If there's any concern, it's that the wonders of this book may be passed up because of this nondescript cover layout. I also feel the author could have come up with a more intriguing sub-title.

When I first opened this soft cover, rectangular book, and I thought "OMG!" Inside, this book looks like an illustrator's private sketch book. Hundreds of beautifully hand-drawn, colored sketches: some segregated from the text, others used as a background (watermarked) with the text overlaid.

Next to each illustration is a brief, but thorough explanation of the process. And, the key to understanding this message is summed up in one word: energy.

Joseph Gilland, the author, is a 30-year animator and has worked on some of the biggest animation features over the past 20+ years including Mulan, Lilo & Stitch, Tarzan, Pocohantas and a few others. Some of the sketches that became film cells are reproduced with his notes below the art!

The book is outline with two (2) brief chapters before he introduces the philosophy of animation: The Preface and The History of Classical Animation. The remainder of the book gives step by step analysis not of how to sketch a flame or construct an iceberg, for instance, but of the techniques of how to get in touch with what he refers to as the "energy of the elements." How does one capture the essence of a burning flame? Shattered glass? A wisp of smoke or the pixie dust floating through gust of wind?
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Format: Paperback
This not only helps you with the daunting task of animating fire, water, smoke and pixie dust! But also makes you understand how animation works in general...
Such an inspirational, fantastical book for any aspirering or pro special effects animation, or animator in general!
And don't stop their, Joseph Gilland has released a second book which is "Elemental Magic, Volume II: The Technique of Special Effects Animation (Animation Masters Title)"
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 19 July 2009
Format: Paperback
Length: 0:16 Mins
Joseph Gilland is an animator with over 30 years of experience. He has worked with Disney and other studios on movies like Lilo and Stitch, Mulan among many other titles.

When he wrote this book, there wasn't any book dedicated to classical hand drawn special effects animation. It's great to be able to highlight the work done by special effects artists, who are usually the unsung heroes of animation -- if their work is good, nobody notices!

This book focuses more on dealing with liquids, fire, smoke, explosions and (other-worldly) magic. The chapters are broken down into the order of covering design concepts, discussing scale and perspective, then moving to breakdown the energy, action path and timing.

Joseph Gilland presents his topic with examples on his own, complete with tips and common mistakes to avoid. You'll learn stuff like how animators can remove details and yet keep things realistic. For example, when dealing with liquids, he would talk about the different factors that affect animation, like water density, force, gravity, viscosity, after splash, etc. The various examples include the simple water droplet to creating waves on which surfers surf on.

There's also a chapter on props. These are stuff like breaking branches, falling leaves, moving fabric, crumbling clay, etc. Animating special effects is essentially animating energy. Throughout the book, there are a lot of detailed explanation on how different elements and objects interact with one another.

While the book is on classic hand drawn animation, there are also some non-technical writeup on how you can use computers to aid in creating these effects.
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