This book bills itself a "guide to non-traditional animation techniques," by which the author means pixilation, time-lapse photography, and downshooting material other than cartoon cels (e.g., clay, sand, collages, cutouts, -- or anything else). This book excludes "traditional" animation, such as cartoon cels and CGI.
By "cutouts," think of Monty Python or early South Park (which eventually moved over to CGI, while maintaining the "cutout look"). Yes, if you want a book that covers "cutout animation," this book is for you.
Actually, the techniques covered in this book are far older than CGI, so it's really a book about traditional, but less popular, animation techniques.
The book's coverage of "non-traditional" animation is extensive. It begins with an an overview of the history of film and animation, with references to the Lumiere brothers and Georges Melies.
I'm no animation expert, and I was surprised to learn about all the issues that an animator faces.
Much of this book deals with technical issues, such as lighting, cameras, and lenses. When downshooting three-dimensional materials (e.g., sand, clay, collages, cutouts), shadows are a potential problem. Your camera is "facing" characters head-on, so you must beware of shadows coming in from the side. This book will advise you on how to set up your lighting gear.
Low-budgeters will find useful tips. Professional animation stands are expensive, but apparently, many animators get good results from jerrybuilt equipment. This book will teach you about cheap tricks that work.
I learned about lenses I'd never knew existed. For instance, the "tilt shift" lens. This lens tilts out at a diagonal angle, which tilts its focal plane (the area that's in focus). So rather than the background or foreground being in focus, you might have the left background and right foreground in focus.
This is useful if an object is moving from the left background to the right foreground, over an extended period of time (hours or days), and you don't want to sit by the camera all that time, forever adjusting its focal length. As you can imagine, the (very expensive) "tilt shirt" lens is popular in time-lapse photography.
Although the book covers "non-traditional" animation, it's not stuck in the past. Digital cameras and computer programs are covered.
If you want to do time-lapse photography right, you'd either need an intervalometer (which times the shutter release) -- or you can use Dragon Stop Motion software (or a similar computer program).
The book also covers aesthetic issues, such as pacing and the use of music.
Business, marketing, and distribution is also covered (e.g., film festivals, Withoutabox, copyright, and marketing on the internet).
The book is written in easy-to-understand (non-pretentious) prose, lucidly explaining sometimes complex issues. Appropriately, it's heavily illustrated to further clarify its points.
The author, Tom Gasek, is an award-winning animator. He's worked with Art Clokey and Nickelodeon, among many others. His work has appeared at New York's Museum of Modern Art. He is an "assistant professor at the School of Film & Animation at the Rochester Institute of Technology.