Top critical review
49 people found this helpful
Good as a 'coffee table' book
on 4 May 2004
The book has a very nice cover and nearly every page is filled with glossy colour pictures. Most of the pictures of from 10 year old animations, toy story 1 for example, so don't expect anything new here.
I also thought the title was a bit misleading - "The complete Animation course: the principles, practice and techniques of successful animation". I wouldn't describe this book as a 'course' exactly, and I have yet to find any mention of a single principle of animation or technique.
There is NO disussion of timing, poses, arcs, weight, anything of that nature. Instead, the book gives a double page spread to each of its topics (most of the space on those pages is taken up by shots from Toy Story 1). Inside, you will find BASIC info on (2pages each) sound, story, rotoscoping, cutout animamtion, digital animation, stop motion, 3D Animation, lighting, tracking shots (not camera techinques or discussion of any other camera angles, composition or anything like that, but trackin shots) and more.
Let's have a look at one of those sections - 3D animation. You get a paragraph on 'choosing the right 3D package for you' which in short is, do you want a free one that does a few things or do you want to pay for one like max, maya or xsi (no exlanation of what they are or how they differ from each other) accompanied by a screenshot from 3dsMax 4 (version 6 has been out for some time). Here is an extract from these pages:
"Of courseyou probably don't want to spend all your time learning complex software. Luckily there are 3D programs that allow artists to create models and animation in simple and intuitive ways".
It then goes on to mention Poser and Bryce (2 pieces of software that are a bit like libraries of characters and environments which allow the user to select a character from here, an environment from there and put them together to make a 'pretty' picture. I would say that this is ok for peopel who want to dabble into animation but definitely not for anybody who wants to take it up seriously - I use Maya every day with my job as a professional aniamtor and I only use less than 10 of it's basic tools out of thousands so, yes, it IS a complicated piece of software but no, you don't have to learn all of it and nobody expects you to so I would say that this is also misleading.
To sum up, I would say this book is great if you have no idea about animation, it is a lovely coffee table book and might make a nice present for a young kid just getting into animation, but it is definitely not a course and you will not learn how to animate from reading this book, you will learn what equipment you will need in order to make animation but you won't know where to get it from and how to use it properly. If you want to learn how to animate I would suggest:
"Cartoon Animation" by Preston Blair (a master animator)
or "The Aniamtor's Survival Kit" by Richard Williams
This is a very nice book, but I was expecting there to be something about the principles and techniques of animation (as it says on the cover), rather than a brief summary of equipment and types of animation, which is why I gave it 2/5.