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The Encyclopedia of Animation Techniques Hardcover – 1 Oct 1996
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This is a guide to the techniques of animation, aimed at the amateur, and to people already working in a production studio or those just keen to expand their knowledge. It covers three types of animation - drawn, modelled and computer generated. It gives a comprehensive, behind the scenes view of creating animated film, from treatments, scripts and storyboarding to filming and marketing. Through a mix of step-by-step photography and artwork commissioned by top animators, and from traditional pen and ink animation to claymation and computer generated, the techniques and advice cover areas such as suitable tools and equipment, characterization, movement, lighting, voices, music and planning layouts and backgrounds. This work includes a gallery of finished works by established animators as an inspiration and to demonstrate how professionals have used techniques to achieve a variety of effects. A supplementary section on preproduction systems, budgeting and how to launch yourself as a professional, aim to provide a guide to setting a career in motion.
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This is best described as a book of two halves. The first 100 pages (and strangely, the last dozen or so too) take in the technical and artistic aspects of many animation media, although this limited space means that each technique is given only the most perfunctory examination. The book is, at times, a panoply of imbalances, embarking one moment on a lengthy discourse about building metal armatures for model animation, and pausing later for a mere two page spread on lip-synching. This would be fine as a beginners manual for people who are interested in learning more about the subject of animation, but students and amateur enthusiasts might wish to look elsewhere.
The remainder of the book is closer to the aforementioned "coffee-table" book, with some 50 pages of high-quality stills, with only short captions present to distract the eye from this glorious visual treat. And a treat it is. Animations in a multitude of media are covered, many of which are instantly familiar, from TV commercials to popular shorts. Variety, it would seem, is the book's watchword throughout.
Unfortunately, the book is littered with errors, both typographical and factual, and anyone seeking more than a brief encounter with the world of animation production may feel that the cost of the 176 heavy-grade glossy colour pages might have been better spent on researchers and proof readers. This book rarely rises above the textbook equivalent of candy-floss; gorgeous in appearance and full of promise, but ultimately hollow and leaving one wanting more.
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