As a keen hobbyist looking to turn pro I thought it about time I started learning from the best, and one of my first stops was this highly recommended manual of esoteric knowledge; ancient secrets noted down by the man who knew the masters of animation personally. As a computer 3D animator, I wasn't terribly sure if it would be of significant use to me, but most of my fears were unfounded, and the info here is helpful whatever your chosen medium. I have to say that the most fascinating part is the historical info provided by Richard, of both his own exploits and those of the master animators he learned from. These guys drew the cartoons we all grew up with and love, the Tom & Jerrys, the Road Runners, the golden age Disney films, and they discovered not only the best ways to bring inanimate oblects to life, but to give them wieght and character at the same time. Richard has distilled their pearls of wisdom so that anyone who wants to can learn the ins and outs of animation. The drawings are nice and clear, the explanations easy to understand and you can practically animate the figures just by moving your eye across the page, they're so well done. While it undoubtedly concentrates on the 'classical' animator using pen and ink to make his mark, his character animation tips, timing sheet info and action design hints are invaluable for computer character animation. The man says himself that you have to be good enough with your chosen tool (pen or computer) to be able to stop worrying about how you're doing something and concentrate on the performance itself, what you're making your character do. Thus, most of his theory concentrates on performance and not drawing technique, a boon for the computer artists among us. Overall I'd say this book was a damn good buy. It's well made, clear, concise, interesting and full of hints, tips and ideas that are obviously gleaned from many years experience in the trade. He himself learned from the masters and applied what they taught him, might we not do the same?
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