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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Bringing the sketch to life, 22 Aug 2010
By 
Picard (USS Enterprise) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)    (VINE VOICE)   
This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
Length:: 3:19 Mins

Such is the power of 'Animation', a huge book filled with sketches from the production of famous Disney films that it can capture the interest from those who thought animated films were expendable. This was certainly the case with my members of family - individuals that scorned on the films as lacking in originality. Its never worth arguing with such people unless you know you can actually convince them otherwise, and this product can thankfully do just that.

It is a timeline of learning, evolution and development from a 'studio' that originally employed less than 100 people, and operated in an old Dairy. These crude beginnings can be found here, shown in high detail with all the artefacts that were present on the animation paper. The drawings are simple, but importantly they demonstrate personality. Some say that Disney himself was the creative genius behind many of the productions during his lifetime, but I would argue his most important impact on the film industry was that he was willing to push people and encourage 'animators' into a territory that had, previously, never been taken seriously. Without the demand for perfection and learning that soon followed in this type of medium, there likely wouldn't be animated 'films' today.

The evolution that entailed is quite obvious as the drawings begin to look more and more confidently drawn, and the pencil lines become more effortless. As the book moves away from the Silly Symphony era into full-scale productions, techniques such as 'rotoscoping' (tracing live actors from film) become apparent and there is a wonderful sense of history about these particular frames. One of the highlights of the Pre-WW2 era is the 'Night on Bald Mountain' scene from Fantasia, in which the book presents 2 frames of Chernabog the devil as he caresses fire from the summit. Bill Tytla, who animated not just this character but Dumbo (quite opposites!), clearly demonstrates a wonderful sense of perspective and structure as the complex but frightening build of Chernabog realms in his own power.

Although the 1940's didn't give much in terms of memorable features, you're more likely to be familiar with the next decade, even though at the time, many of the releases between 1950 and '59 were subject to mixed reception. The frames from Cinderella show how over the last decade, the animators had drastically gained confidence in human form, and the more realistic approach to rendering the human figure was a feature of the stylized 50's films. Alice in Wonderland, although slammed by many critics for too much 'Disneyfication', probably demonstrated much of the best animation to come out of the studio. The abstract and wacky nature of the themes were enough challenge even the best draftsmen, but as this book demonstrates frame by frame, there is little convention in the film and therefore seemingly simple scenes such as the Mad Hatters tea party (see video) are subject to a lot of careful planning and thought into the timing and rendering of some hilarious actions.

"Mustard? Now lets not be silly!"

By the time Sleeping Beauty was released (1959), it is universally acclaimed that the studio had reached a peak in the field of technical and artistic perfection. This is not surprising, given it was in production for over 6 years and animators spending record time on a single draft. The book includes a wonderful collection of frames that highlight this painstaking time for the studio; Malificent attempting to stop Prince Philip, and the young man again riding his trusty steed. The level of detail in these drawings and the personality they produce are, quite simply, mind boggling.

And so, the book continues to flow through the Xerox era - that being when the animators drawings could simply be 'photocopied' onto a cel, rather than inked. The drawings become untidier and far looser as cost becomes an issue, but emotion is still conveyed wonderfully. At the end of this book, we have arrived at 'The Princess and The Frog', Disney's latest 2D romp.

What we have here is an important documentation of one of the greatest artistic mediums at our disposal. The book beautifully reflects a history that began when typical animation terminology, such as 'in-betweening', wasn't even heard of, and when animators had no literature to learn from. The appreciation comes from acknowledging that these legendary artists developed the medium themselves, and thanks to the relentless nature of Walt himself, they were able to develop the art, document it and pass on everything they had learnt to others so that 'animation' became 24 frames a second of pure art.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspiring, 16 Jan 2010
By 
Parka (Singapore) - See all my reviews
(HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
Length:: 0:26 Mins

John Lasseter mentions in the introduction his first job in college was pulling animation sequences from "the morgue" - Disney's archive of animation artworks. Well, this book is filled with those animation boards from "the morgue". Specifically, these are boards before the clean up process -- before sketchy pencil lines are removed and colours, backgrounds added.

The second book in The Archive Series is still a huge thick hardcover with the boards printed gloriously big. Compared to the first volume, every artist is now properly credited to their work. There are a couple of fold-outs which are unnecessary because the art isn't printed across the fold anyway.

This book is primarily on the character art and animation. Artists and animators who want to give their characters life, make them act or emote, will gain a lot from this book. This is more so than the first book because here it features a lot of expressions. There's no mistaking how the characters feel or what they are doing just by looking at their expressions and poses.

For animation sequences, well, the boards included are actually a mixture of in-sequence and standalone. You'll probably be able to recognise the many memorable scenes, like how Dumbo swings from her mother's trunk (sweet!), when Pinnochio takes his first step or the spaghetti-eating-to-kissing scene (classic!) in The Lady and the Tramp.

Plenty of legendary artists are included, like Ub Iwerks, Norm Ferguson, Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske, Dick Huemer, Grim Natwick, Art Babbitt, Fred Moore, Bill Tytla, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Marc Davis, John Lounsbery, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, Les Clark, Wolfgang Reitherman, John Sibley, Bill Justice, Clyde Geronimi, Ted Berman, Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Mark Henn and Tony Bancroft.

This is an inspiring book highly recommended to animators.

(There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Marvellous Disney drawings, 13 Jan 2010
By 
Stefan B (Bergen, Norway) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
Length:: 0:55 Mins

This marvellous gem of a book is almost like a box full of original drawings, with an opportunity to study the beautiful lines of Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl and all the other great Disney animators.

You get 260 pages of drool-inducing animation drawings, all the way from "Oswald the Lucky Rabbit" up to "The Princess and the Frog"

Highly recommended to anybody even remotely interested in hand-drawn animation.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not quite what I expected, 18 April 2011
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This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
At first I was disappointed that there was no writing what so ever to anchor the sketches. Literally none. It would've been nice to have had a bit of description or the artist's thoughts to go along side. However, the more I stared at the pages, the more intrigued I became. I'm an animation student and I've learnt about the principles of animation (Disney are after all pioneers) so it's nice to see how movements are predicted and how the in between frames reach the desired end pose. When examining the sketches I like to see where the character puts majority of their weight, or the progress of secondary animation (like Dumbo's ears for example). Moreover, it's a real relief to know that even the Disney team does rough sketches first and then a cleaner version. This can be seen from the faint circles that might be drawn in a blue pencil and also it's nice to see the use of line of action. The harder I look at the sketches, the more I can guess how they created the characters and how they drew each frame. It's still amazing though and staring at the frames still seems magical because I'm seeing the actual sketches to my favourite characters and films. If you have the money I would recommend this (the price isn't too much) if you're interested in looking at the rough sketches for Disney films. However, if you want to learn more about the principle of animations, maybe the Illusion of Life would be better suited. Even I shall purchase it when I can.
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5.0 out of 5 stars amazing, 13 Oct 2013
This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
The book's definitely for people who are interested in disney animation but the classic hand drawn animation not tangled or wreck it Ralph. The book has so many drawings from the famous films such as bambi learning to walk, Ariel singing part of your world and Walt Disney's favourite scene the transformation of Cinderellas dress, it's also got a short paragraph by the famous disney artist John Lasseter.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bibbidy bobbedy boo!, 23 Jun 2013
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This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
The definition of animation is life, and if there is one thing that Walt Disney's animators did, was bring life into every drawing in this book. LOVE IT. Great for relaxing and inspiring.
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5.0 out of 5 stars awesome, 16 May 2013
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This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
Love this book, it is an amazing addition to my animation book collection and is always worth picking up to get you inspired and motivated for animating.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Disney Animation Archive Book., 17 Mar 2013
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This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
Brilliant Disney Animation Archive Book. The book condition was neat. Brilliant drawings by Disney Animators. I use it for my Animation resources.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Hand drawn Characters, 11 Jan 2011
This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
This book is perfect for any true disney lover, It is filled with the most beautiful drawings by all the animators of walt disney. It not only shows the classic disney character designs but some more recent ones too, its not expensive and its a truly lovely book.
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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A special Disney book., 1 Jan 2010
By 
Christine Newman (Kent, UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) (Hardcover)
This is a beautiful book that will have pride of place on any book shelf and will be really appreciated by a real Disney fan.
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Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives)
Animation (Walt Disney Animation Archives) by Disney (Hardcover - 12 Dec 2009)
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