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Timing for Animation Paperback – 7 Sep 2009
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"Among my favourite books, Timing for Animation (Focal Press), by Harold Whitaker and John Halas ranks high. Originally written in 1981 (and newly revised in 2009) this slim volume presents a thorough analysis of the many kinds of timing issues one encounters in producing a narrative style animated film. Timing on Bar Sheets, Movement and Caricature, Newton's Laws of Motion, Objects Thrown Through the Air, Timing a Slow Action, Timing a Fast Action, Timing to Suggest Weight and Force... these are only a few of the many chapters included. A thoroughly compiled manual, it's an old and current favourite."--Animation World Network
About the Author
Known as the "father of animation" and formerly of Halas and Batchelor Animation unit, John produced over 2000 animations, including the legendary "Animal Farm" and the award winning "Dilemma". He was also the founder and president of the ASIFA and former Chairman of the British Federation of Film Societies.
BAFTA-nominated professional animator and educator for 40 years, many of his students number among today's most outstanding animation artists.
Tom Sito is an Adjunct Professor of Animation at USC, Woodbury College, and UCLA and has written numerous articles for Animation Magazine and Animation World Network. Tom's screen credits include the Disney classics THE LITTLE MERMAID (1989), BEAUTY & THE BEAST (1991), ALADDIN (1992), THE LION KING (1994), WHO FRAMED ROGER RABBITT (1988), POCAHONTAS (1995), FANTASIA (2000) and SHREK (2001). Tom is President-Emeritus of the Hollywood Animation Guild Local 839 IATSE. He is vice president of the International Animator's Society (ASIFA/Hollywood) He is a member of the Motion Picture Academy, the National Cartoonists Society and Hollywood Heritage. In 1998 he was named in Animation Magazine's list of the 100 Most Important People in Animation.
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I received a comment from J Fella with regards to a comment that I made in reference to another book but one that has no correlation to the subject of this book. I can't for the life of me, remember why I had mentioned it. Maybe it was because I was reviewing 6 film books that month and the one mentioned really, really impressed me.
This book, TIMING FOR ANIMATION, is more of a theoretical than applicable book. And, as such, it should be viewed in that context. Having this book for almost 2 years now, and picking it up on random occasions, I've had a change of heart about it's worth. But, since this book has been the foundation text for animators for almost 30 years, I felt (and still do feel) that we should have seen more examples of animated films whose success was, at least, in part attributed to this work. That omission makes it a 4-star and not a 5-star book.
Again, thanks to J Fella, for the constructive criticism, it is warmly received and needed.
******* ******* *************
TIMING FOR ANIMATION is a newly revised version of one of the film industries revered books on animation since it was first published in 1981. This second edition is essentially an addendum to the first edition and not an adjustment to the material.
*Introduction-- What is this book about and how it should be used?
***Pro's and Con's
*Timing For Animation is not exactly a thematic book on animation. It is a sub-topic. Timing For Animation is essentially a philosophical discussion about the execution of movement for any and all scenes within a project. You will not find within this book (nor should you expect) broad-based lessons on how to create animation or technical aspects of filmmaking.
Timing For Animation is used to determine the fluidity or as the authors stated, "what gives meaning to the movement." Directors, animators (and, by necessity, the auditing dept.) plan out scenes television program, commercial and feature film with these theories in mind. This sub-topic provides answers to questions like how fast or how slow will the execution of certain gestures affect the overall vision of the storyteller(s). When to move and when not to move? Where and when to insert gestures? How does the environment (natural elements) react to given situation?
**Also, there are slightly different rules for executing a scene ("mise-en-scene") for television work, commercial advertisement and feature-film projects. These differences are discussed within.
Some of the sub-topics are as follows:
What is good timing?
How is timing supposed to affect a moment in the film?
Timing and the use of storyboards
Timing for television and Timing for film
Timing for actor-based programs, "motion capture."
Movement and caricature
Cause and Effect
Objects thrown through the air
The effects of friction, air resistance and water
Timing to suggest weight
Synchronization for speech
***Pro's and Con's
+ Introduction by John Lassater, head of Pixar, about the importance of "timing" in animation is very important.
+ Until recently, it was the only book that dealt specifically with the subtext of animation. The other is, now, Elemental Magic (5-stars).
+ Revised version details how timing is used on the internet, motion graphics and digital animation.
+ Essential topic-discussion for directorial, artistic and budgeting considerations in the pre- planning stages.
+ Hundreds of beautiful animations, makes this an aesthetically attractive book on its own
- Relatively thin book with sparse examples and barely half a page of explanatory notes per subject
- No cd-rom with supplementary material (this should be par for the course with such texts)
- Some chapters could have been condensed; others could have been expounded more thoroughly.
**** Timing For Animation is an important book that addresses the critical issue of the importance of fluidity in a scene. Thirty (30) years ago it was considered the only authority on the subject in print, however, this newly revised version has little to offer that than the previous version.
I'm recommending this book as an addendum to one's animation book collection. It should go hand-in-hand with any pre-visualization and pre-budgetary decisions for a given project.
I bought this book with a view to simply reading as much as i possibly could on the subject but Timing for Animation seems to occupy an awakward gap. It introduces you to the principles of animation (giving some admittedly good examples) but doesn't attempt to actually explain them.
I therefore presume it's aimed at the true beginner, but it leaves me wondering what the point is.
Why buy this book that seems to say 'here's a principle you'll need to know so go look it up' when The Animator's Survival Kit' introduces the principle AND explains it?
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