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5 must-read books on animation design

Flip through these to understand the history and principles of animation 
Last Updated : 02 September 2022, 23:48 IST
Last Updated : 02 September 2022, 23:48 IST

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The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams
The Animators Survival Kit by Richard Williams
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Timing for Animation
Timing for Animation
The Illusion of Life Disney Animation
The Illusion of Life Disney Animation
Character Animation Crash Course
Character Animation Crash Course
Frames of Anime Culture and Image-Building
Frames of Anime Culture and Image-Building

Ever watched cartoons and animated films, and wondered about the design work behind them? Here is a list of books that take a peek into animation design.

The Animator’s Survival Kit

Author: Richard Williams

The book is written by Canadian-British animator Richard Williams, who is best known for his work in ‘Who Framed Roger Rabbit’. It is based on his master classes, which were held in the US and across Europe. Here he explains about the principles of animation that every designer/animator, new or an expert, must be aware of. He encourages his readers to invent yet be believable. The book includes illustrations of the points he elaborates on. The author shares many tips, tricks, and techniques used in animation in it.

Timing for Animation

Authors: Harold Whitaker and John Halas

The book explains that timing is important in animation, and so is giving it enough space, understanding how long each drawing should be for a dramatic effect, among other techniques. Many vital techniques used by animators across the world have been explained with illustrations and simple directions here. The latest edition includes an insight into timing for digital production, digital storyboarding in 2D and 3D.

The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation

Authors: Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston

The authors of this book, Frank and Ollie, created animated masterpieces like ‘Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs’, ‘Bambi’, and ‘Pinocchio’. This book looks at the way the duo played a role in turning the Walt Disney Studios into a powerhouse and highest standard in animation. By using simple language and avoiding jargon, the book looks at the 12 rules of animation the duo created, where an emphasis on characters being realistic, while having their own essence is explained.

This illustrated book is not just a ‘how to do’ guide. It impresses with the original historic drawings of characters like Mickey Mouse and Donald Duck, Snow White and Bambi, among others. The book also looks at how some lifelike animation effects were achieved in Disney’s most popular films.

Character Animation Crash Course!

Author: Eric Goldberg

It is written by Eric Goldberg, whose work in films like ‘The Princess and the Frog’, ‘Wreck-It Ralph, and ‘Hercules’ were noticed across the world. The book comes with detailed text and drawings. It throws light on strong character personalities, and how to make characters pop off the page.

The book is an easy read, despite the important animation techniques it shares.

Frames of Anime: Culture and Image Building

Author: Tze–yue Hu
This book looks into the world of anime. Rather than being a guidebook, it looks into the history of the popular form of Japanese animation.

The author has used a variety of research methods, including interviews of expert anime animators, while looking at a period of nine years that included intensive fieldwork conducted in Japan and other parts of Asia.

*These books are available online

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Published 02 September 2022, 17:28 IST

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