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"A Prerequisite For All Animated Projects." Timing For Animation: A Critical Review
on 6 December 2009
Update: July 2, 2011
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.