Summer Wars: Material Book is the companion artbook for Summer Wars, the animated movie directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The ori...more(More pictures on my blog)
Summer Wars: Material Book is the companion artbook for Summer Wars, the animated movie directed by Mamoru Hosoda. The original edition is サマーウォーズ完全設定資料集 which is in Japanese. Udon has translated the book into English.
The first section looks at the character designs. This film has a rather huge cast, and surprisingly they are all family members, except Kenji. That's 30 characters, including the dog Hayate. The designs are in line art form before they are coloured anime style. Character designer is Yoshiyuki Sadamoto
Next is the world of OZ. It's a rather big world with lots of things going on but the designs here are printed smaller, relatively speaking. All the props that appear are also too small, basically the items that are on the shelves. Then there are the many fun and interesting crowd avatar designs. Avatars with more screen time have additional pages of art. That would be for King Kazuma, Love Machine, Kenji, Natsuki and the others.
The back half of the book covers the environment art which consist the props, pencil layouts of the house and the colour painted versions. The detailed background drawings are mostly of the house, designed to be historic looking, and certainly looks very inviting. It would be so cool to live in such a house.
Also included is an interview with Mamoru Hosoda. Throughout the book are rather brief commentary on the designs.
It's a nice book to get if you're fan of the film.(less)
There are more character designs. Mike and Sully are still the main characters but you'll also some a few familiar faces in their younger self in college. The monsters come in different shapes, sizes and colours. They are in sports, partying, playing pranks and coming up with all sorts of mischief.
Since the film is about college life, you'll see more art of the Monsters University campus. When I think of monsters, I don't usually associate them with bright and cheery hilly campus, but that's what you get with a Pixar film. You have Mike and Sully jogging in the stadium at dawn with sun casting a beautiful warm glow. It seems there's always a colourful party going on somewhere. The campus has several buildings and the main one is the School of Scaring. You'll also see the dorm rooms, fraternity houses and areas of Monsters Inc that are not shown in the first film.
The interviews with the artists and staff provide some insight into the design of the film. They talk about the differences and similarities between the two films, such as the old school scaring technology that you'll see.
It's a great book with lots of beautiful concept art.
Be sure to check out the first Monsters Inc artbook as well, which was sold out and reprinted. (less)
Here's the movie companion for Tim Burton's charming stop motion film Frankenweenie. It was originally a short film concei...more(More pictures on my blog)
Here's the movie companion for Tim Burton's charming stop motion film Frankenweenie. It was originally a short film conceived in the early 80s and made in 1984. The 2012 film is a charming remake of that short film.
This is a large coffee table book with a matte cover with movie title in gloss. It's 208 pages.
The book is filled with concept art, storyboards, interviews and photos behind the scenes. Among the development art, there are even sketches by Tim Burton from 1982 of his short film. It's interesting to see the original Sparky the dog in sketch and his final stop motion figure. Included, of course, is the history of the original short film.
The art and photos are printed huge. They look great, especially the photos of the stop motion figures. The character designs are stylish and they really make full use of the medium for caricature to create characters of all shapes and sizes and facial expressions. There are photos of character sculpts and their armature beneath. I love looking at studio photos just to see the working environment, how they create the characters and sets, and the overall organised chaos of a production set.
This is a wonderful visual companion for the film.(less)
I once attended a local animated film festival and found myself sitting in a screening room watching a collection of Bill Plympton's shorts. It was showing Guard Dog, The Fan and the Flower and other short films. They really had a lasting impression on me because they were so different from other animation available - they still are.
I always wonder how a guy like him can survive as an independent animator. This book answers that question, and more.
This is a 264 page book that's beautiful printed and bound with thick paper. It's an autobiography written by Bill Plympton in his own words. It's sincerely written and you can feel the enthusiasm he has for animation. He talks about everything from when it all started in school to creating Oscar nominated short films. You can see the different types of jobs he took to pay the bills (like creating music videos for Madonna), about serving the army (where he learned the power of shadows), where and from whom he gets his inspiration from, the different types of people he has to work with, or how to find Paul Giamatti to do a voice-over.
The book's also filled with lots of artwork. There are sketches, cartoons, paintings, storyboards, photos, animated stills, etc. Bill Plympton's style of colour pencil drawings is unique but his other works show the other side of him. He's has included some amazing caricatures he created during his fifteen years in making political cartoons. The sketches and storyboards are great because of the wacky ideas, and you get to get a glimpse into how his mind thinks.
It's fascinating to look into this world from a perspective of an independent animator. You get a new sense of appreciation for the medium after realising the sheer effort it takes to create one.
This is a very inspiring book. Highly recommended.(less)
I was enjoying the book when I felt something was off. The pages came off the spine. Now, they are hanging by the threads that hold the pages together. I don't know if it's just my copy or the printing batch.
Anyway, if you're getting this book in UK or Europe, it's distributed by Titan Books. The prices are slightly different. Not sure about the binding quality for that.
Luckily, the content is pretty good. The concept art are very beautiful. I think the artists really nailed the character designs. They look quirky and wacky, and have a great sense of personality, from their looks to posture to attire. The harsh desert environment sure is unkind to these characters. You can almost feel the dryness of their skin, or even sand in their hair. Most of the character designs are from production designer Crash McCreery.
Besides the town and buildings, there aren't a lot of other environment art. The other images included are some storyboards and film stills.
The film is made by Blind Wink Productions and Industrial Light & Magic. The book features a good amount of commentary on how the characters, design concepts and the experiences of working on a full length animation - a first for both the director Gore Verbinski's production studio and ILM.
The book is enjoyable with the great art and stories but the binding is a letdown.(less)
This is sort of a behind-the-scenes book that looks at animation production inside the famous Aardman Studios, creators of successful Wallace and Gromit films, Chicken Run and others.
The perspective is that of Aardman Studios so this book focuses on stop-motion animation. The 3-D in the title means the physical 3D, the actual construction of stuff, as compared to computer generated 3D (only a small section is on that).
The book starts with a long but interesting history of animation, right from the day stop motion was used for films up to the recent releases for Aardman Studios.
The second part jumps into the more technical side of making animation. There are chapters on basic clay animation, model makings, set designs, animating movements and expressions and using CGI. These are all furnished with lots of great pictures and insightful commentary from the staff. It's difficult not to marvel at the ingenuity behind making these animation. There are explanation on the camera tricks used, on how to create enduring characters on paper and in clay, and other production stories.
The final part looks at film making in depth, from scripting to animating, including thoughts given to creating other related content like games and websites. Several films were used as mini case studies, such as the early Peter Lord's Adam, Curse of the Were-rabbit, Chicken Run and other lesser known films.
This is a very insightful book on stop-motion animation, and on how Aardman Studios make theirs. Recommended to fans and enthusiasts. (less)
This book is a great tribute to the some of the most classic animation characters ever created - the Looney Tunes gang - from Bugs Bunny to Marvin the Martian. It brings back good memories of watching these cartoons back in the past. Although I can't remember exact stories, I still can remember the crazy antics of the characters.
The book is filled with art, animation stills, and funny autobiographies written by the Looney Tunes characters themselves. You can read in their own words about their rise to fame, the jealousy among cartoon co-characters, and other hilarious jokes. I still get a chuckle out of seeing Tweety in Sylvester's sandwich, knowing seconds later Tweety would somehow escape.
Also included are some mementos like postcards, sticker book, Porky Pig mini-comic, a Tasmanian Devil mask and other cool stuff.
This book is a blast from the past. Recommended for fans of classic animation.(less)
Der Mond: The Art of Neon Genesis Evangelion is just one of the many books on the popular anime. Many of them are in Japanese. This is one that's translated to English by publisher Viz Media. It's a larger than usual art book, hardcover, 120 pages and reads from right to left.
It collects the art of Yoshiyuki Sadamoto (貞本 義行), the Japanese artist who created the characters for Evangelion. The pages are filled with huge beautiful prints. If you collect the manga series, you'll find some pieces familiar because they are the chapter splash pages. Most of the art are character based, and there are also some sketches which I like.
It's not all Evangelion art though. Towards the back there are also illustrations from other projects like games and other anime. The only I recognise is Fatal Fury fighting game. The others are The Wings of Honneamise, Leiqunni Nondelaiko, Nadia of the Mysterious Seas, Aoki Uru and others. There's even an album cover for Eric Clapton.
There isn't any commentary beside the credits for the illustrations.
Nice book for the anime and manga fans of the series.(less)
This book reminded me of the oversized art books Disney used to published for Mulan, Pocahontas, Hercules, etc. Although not as large as those predecessors, the feeling of familiarity really comes from the content. This is a Disney book after all.
There are plenty of beautiful art to be seen. The pages are filled with sketches, storyboards, animation drawings, production drawings, background art, photos of Disney artists at work. The print quality is nice.
A lot of names are mentioned and there's no doubt Disney has some of the most talented artists around. Story artist Brenda Chapman is amazing at capturing the nuances, expressions and feelings of the characters with her storyboards. There are also production paintings from Hans Bacher that set the visual style for the film. The animation line drawings from the animators are wonderful as well. Glen Keane designed the Beast, inspired by a buffalo head he bought from a taxidermist shop.
The commentary follows the production of the film, from the history to the reception after it was screened. It even covers the updated edition for IMAX and the additional footage added. The stories and interviews are interesting and as with every movie, you'll be able to read all about the challenges of making an animated film. There's also a chapter on the Broadway adaption.
This is a great book that I can easily recommend to animation art lovers.(less)
This is a very beautiful book for Disney's 50th feature film, Tangled, which is also the first 3D computer-animated fairy tale for them.
The 160-page hardcover is filled with the very distinctive Disney style art, featuring character designs, environment and storyboards.
I love the beautiful character sketches and there are lots of them. Some of the character artists are Jin Kim, Claire Keane, Bill Schwab who drew really expressive characters. But much of them are drawn by legendary animator Glen Keane, and they really stand out with their lively action poses. It's fun to see the many expressions and tricks Rapunzel can do with her 70-feet hair. Other than Rapunzel, there are sketches for Flynn Rider (prince), Pascal (chameleon), Maximus (horse) and other characters like the bad guys.
As for the environment art, you'll get to see the familiar Disney towns and castles as interpreted by artists today. The design inspiration comes from previous Disney films like Cinderella, Pinocchio and Sleeping Beauty. Some of the paintings from those films are also included. It's about translating what used to be 2D into 3D and you can read all about the challenges from the artists' interviews.
The change in medium for creating Tangled makes it feel like a totally fresh Disney fairy tale, yet it also feels like the older ones at the same time. It continues Disney's legacy in animation in a fine way.
This book is a treat to artists, animators and art lovers. A lot of great artists contributed to the art and unfortunately I can't name them all so you'll have to get the book to check out their work. (less)
The Pixar Treasures is finally out after a long delay. I had some doubts about the book because it's pricey and has only 64 pages. But once you flip through the pages, you'll understand why it cost so much.
The book comes with a slipcase and it's designed like a scrapbook. It tells the story of Pixar complete with loads of pictures. There are 28 chapters covering the history, the making of various films, the people, their ideas and other interesting stuff.
The stories will feel familiar if you have the other book To Infinity and Beyond! -- still my favourite Pixar book. The Pixar Treasures presents a very condensed version of the whole Pixar story with the short 2-page chapters. However, this book has content up to the recent Toy Story 3, which means it also covers Ratatouille, Up and WALL-E, which aren't in To Infinity and Beyond!. The stories, though familiar, are still inspiring to read. They are short and will definitely leave you wanting more.
The highlight of the book are the pullout replicas of memorabilia, artwork and photos. Many of the pictures are never-before-seen art and photos. That's a lot of new content not published elsewhere in their other art books. There are lots of things you can pull out or pull. You'll see items like the Disney's Visitor Pass (ca. 1980), Presto poster, an animation flip-book, a (fake) newspaper front-page with Luigini's story, a few attached booklets and other goodies.
This book is clearly designed with the collector in mind. It is beautiful and inspiring to read.
Highly recommended to Pixar fans.
I hope other animation studios also come up with their own treasure books.(less)
The Art of Megamind is another nice large format art book published by Insights Editions. It's 156 pages and sports a non glossy dustjacket for a change.
The pages are filled with beautiful concept illustrations from DreamWorks artists. There are colour strips, character designs, background paintings, storyboards and designs on weapons of mass destruction, some robots and vehicles. The book is filled with plenty of vibrant colours besides blue of course.
There are actually more superheroes than there are shown in the trailers, and they are included in the book. There are sketches for each and you can see which ones made it and which were dropped. The variety is great. You might have seen Minion already, the gorilla robot with fishbowl head holding a piranha. Other designs for superheroes aren't as insane but still very creative.
It's interesting to see how the news reporter Roxanne's early sketches resembles Tina Fey (voice actor) and eventually moved away from that. On a side note, Megamind and Metro Man didn't look like Will Ferrell or Brad Pitt to start with.
The environment designs are also very beautiful and nicely painted. Much is on Metro City and there are also set locations which includes Megamind's lair. Right at the back are some fun designs for Megamind's army which are the robots, vehicles and gadgets. There are funny as well as weird outrageous designs. Donkey missile launcher, anyone?
The commentary is great and talks about the designs and characters.
Overall, a wonderful book for animation fans and artists.(less)
This book's a nice tribute to two of the best animation storytellers. It's written by John Canemaker, very well researched, filled with stories and little anecdotes from even before these two storytellers started in animation. Now you can know all about the background stories, how they work, the influence and contribution they made, how friends and colleges felt about them and how much they were missed.
These two storytellers are very fascinating characters. It's interesting to see how they changed over the years, particularly with Joe Ranft from his turbulent childhood, or not when Joe Grant came back after a mysterious 40-year hiatus. I've seen their names mentioned many times in other books and videos but their background stories are nothing that I imagined.
The book also provides many references to the work they have done, particularly the story sequences in movies such as the early ones from Pixar where Joe Ranft was involved in much of the storytelling, and for Joe Grant the character designs for classic Disney films. You might remember the army men sequence in Toy Story, the witch from Snow White or the dancing broomsticks in Beauty and the Beast. There are some of their storyboards, caricatures, photos and drawings from other artists who share the same work with them.
It's an interesting read, recommended to those who are curious to know more about their style of storytelling. You might even pick up some storytelling or storyboarding tips.(less)
This is a wonderful art book for a spellbinding animation series. Making the series took 6 years, hundreds of artists, and hundreds of thousands of drawings. This book showcases a selection of some really beautiful illustrations.
There are loads of character and background designs inside, in sketches and in their finished coloured form. The main characters like Aang and others come with cool animation sequences created with pencils. Also included are many of the discarded concepts which were difficult to animate or doesn't suit the story. Appa had some really awesome spiral horns but were discarded, unfortunately. The character drawings are superb. Just by looking at their different expressions you can pretty much guess their characteristics.
Besides the characters which includes the town folks and soldiers, there are also drawings for many miscellaneous stuff like storyboards, airships, hybrid animals, wanted posters, promotional posters, chibi (or super deformed) style and random doodles from meetings.
Did I mention the background paintings? The world created is so beautiful!
The whole book is annotated heavily by Bryan Konietzko and Michael Dante DiMartino. They talk about everything on production, from creating the pilot episode to Nickelodeon approving the final season. You can see and read about their influences and inspiration everywhere, from Buddhism, Studio Ghibli, Gainax, Chinese martial arts, etc. It's very interesting to see how they apply what they learned from research to their drawings and animation.
This is a fantastic art book for the series and fans, which should appeal to anyone who hasn't watch the series. Good art appeals to all.
This art book is for Serial Experiments Lain, an anime with a very complex plot on reality.
If you've watched the anime before, you probably remember the bleak, dark and seemingly apocalyptic style of art used. Colours are very limited which is quite apt for the anime. This book focuses on the character Lain and contains many full page illustrations, sketches and even a short manga section.
I thought the character design for Lain wasn't strong enough. The only distinctive part about here besides the disturbing eyes is probably her lock of hair by her left. Without that lock of hair, she's indistinguishable from another other typical manga style girls. And since the book is only about her, the variety feels rather limited.
The quality of art isn't as high as many of the Japanese art books I have. It's certainly not the type of book I'll find myself constantly referring to.
Right at the back is a short walkthrough on how the art was created as well as some photographs from the artist.
Yoshitoshi Abe Lain Illustrations is an average art book for me, maybe fans of the anime might appreciate more.
I highly recommend taking a look inside the book, if you can, before purchasing it.(less)
Of the many books on animation and Disney, The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation is probably the best. Written by two of Disney's famous Nine Old Men, Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, this book goes back to where animation was born, made and enjoyed by people all over the world.
At 576 pages, this huge volume probably covers lots of ground on animation except the how-to-do-it part since this isn't really a tutorial book. There are plenty of illustrious stories on Walt Disney, people he worked with and the roles everyone played from the storyman to director. Storytelling and character development are also covered. Interesting quotes and commentary are everywhere.
The book goes deeper looking at how these hardworking pioneers approach animation, invent new ways to animate and bring seemingly inanimate objects, even things like safety pins, to life. While not a tutorial book, it does covers subjects like camera techniques, styles of background paintings, effects, colours and other technical approaches to creating animation, right down to how they voice sync a talking door knob.
Lots of photos, paintings, sketches and storyboards are included. You can see the transition from the rubber hose arms of early characters to the more realistic designs that were achieved with attention paid to form and anatomy. Those are the results from the emphasis on research later on.
It's an inspiring book recommended to animators, great for those who want a flashback to the golden era of animation.(less)
If you've the first art book Shrek: The Art of the Quest to compare, this one's just slightly smaller and 6 pages thinner. Despite the smaller size, it still packs lots of great art. There are beautiful digital paintings, concept art for new characters, storyboards and sketches.
The art is noticeably much darker, dominated by gold, greens and greys -- inspired by the contract Shrek signs with Rumpel. That applies more to the background paintings. While they are cool, I really miss the lush vibrant colours of Far Far Away and the evergreen forests.
The designs on the props are great and they are everywhere, from the Candy Apple store sign, toys for Shrek's kids, carriage designs for the witches and other devices. The character designs are nice but rather limited to Shrek, Fiona and Rumple. Other characters get less pages although there are quite a few pages on ogres besides Shrek. I kind of wished they used the discarded concepts for Warrior Princess Fiona because they are more sexy.
This book is under US$20 on Amazon. I think that's a pretty good deal. I like the first art book more though.(less)
The Art of Kiki's Delivery Service is a charming art book companion for the movie.
Even though Miyazaki's the director, screenwriter and producer for this film, his art is surprisingly missing in this book. This time round, the main contributing artists are Shinji Otsuka, Yoshifumi Kondo and Katsuya Kondo.
The art is still created using watercolours and they are very beautiful. The character designs by Katsuya Kondo are really cool. You can see the different variations of Kiki, her hairstyle, flying poses, expressions and the little mannerisms all captured. His lines and colours are very simple be he can create a really appealing cast of characters. Together with the two other artists Shinji Otsuka and Yoshifumi Kondo, they contribute the majority of the concept art in this book. And they all seem to draw in similar style for the storyboards.
The background paintings for Corico are also marvelous. I love the idyllic setting. Much of the designs are actually inspired from Visby, a city on the Swedish island of Gotland. Looking at the paintings instantly triggers holiday mood. Unfortunately, these unsung heroes of background art aren't credited directly to their work, although a list of names are included at the back of the book.
Most of the art have interesting comments by Miyazaki and the other artists. At the back, there's a section on basic camera techniques and how they are used in the film. And finally, there's the complete screenplay.
Highly recommended for all fans of the film and Studio Ghibli.(less)
Let me say this first, if you haven't watch the movie, this book is going to be a major plot spoiler.
It's great to be back in the world of Toy Story. It's like meeting old friends with that feeling of nostalgia.
This book has 176 pages, 16 more pages that previous Pixar art books. You'll see new toys, colour scripts, storyboards, sculptures, sketches and some photographs. Some pieces of art from Toy Story 2 were also included. Many pieces of art are digitally created, which is how it's done these days. It doesn't take away anything though, the art is still good. Colour studies from Dice Tsutsumi and Robert Kondo are beautiful, just like the one on the cover. And so are all the art from other artists.
The writeup is marvelous. There so much more to read compared to previous Pixar art books. I can see Author Charles Soloman has talked to a lot of people and done some good research. The commentary is filled with lots of quotes from the staff, interesting stories and insight into Toy Story. You'll read about the legacy of Toy Story, the updates to this movie, story sequences, the characters and other details right down to how Andy's neighbour decorates his lawn.
For the most part, the commentary is really about the plot and the characters. Nuances and deliberations to every story decisions are explained. Many of the ideas translated to screen are actually from personal life experiences. This film is clearly a piece of love for everyone who worked on it and you'll feel that love and level of commitment on every page you read.
I'm pretty sure this is going to be one of Pixar's most touching film to date.
This is the dark yet wickedly cool making-of book for The Nightmare Before Christmas.
There are three parts to the book, The Film, The Art and The Vision.
The first part is on how Tim Burton came up with his story and characters, the process of getting approval from movie studios to get his idea, asking Henry Selick to direct. If you still remember the tunes from the movie, this section contains the lyrics and you can sing along (if you want to).
The second section is the art. This is where you'll see the nitty gritty details on art direction, creating sets, sculpting characters and all sorts of post production work. The creative illustrations, film stills and photos aren't limited to this section as they are throughout the whole book. There's a good amount of artwork drawn by Tim Burton himself, in his usual scrawly scratchy style.
The last part is additional commentary on the film with Tim Burton, Henry Selick (director), Danny Elfman (music), Caroline Thompson (screenwriter), Kathleen Cavin (producer) and Denise Di Novi (producer). They analyse the film from their own unique perspective and expertise, looking back at the challenges and fun working on the set.
This is a nice visual companion, especially if you like the movie. (less)
For anyone's who getting into 3D animation and wants to learn about the industry, this is the book for you. It's a introductory course to 3D animation, aiming at provide readers with a general overview of the ever evolving industry, as well as getting close to the action showing the actual processes involved in making in. This is the fourth edition published in 2009.
In essence, this is a textbook with the objective to inspire and inform. It does so with many examples from the real world, and if you're interested in animation, you would have probably seen many of the movies or clips these examples are based on. The book goes on to explain what goes on behind that made these films possible, the people involved, what they do (jobs), what type of software they use and the different stages of development.
This isn't a tutorial style book or a software manual. For example in 3D modeling, it introduces techniques like modeling with curves, polygon, extrusion, etc, but it doesn't actually go telling you where to click and where to find commands from menus. This book isn't tied to any particular software package. The concepts are pretty foundational and universal stuff, which can be applied easily to different areas, like software.
You won't be able to create your own animation instantly after reading this book, but you'll what it takes to create one and where to hone your technical skills.
This book is recommended for students and anyone who wants an in depth introductory course into understanding 3D animation and its industry.
The list of contents: 1. Animation, Visual Effects, and Technology in Context 2. Creative Development and the Digital Process 3. Modeling Concepts 4. Modeling Techniques 5. Advanced Modeling and Rigging Techniques 6. Rendering Concepts 7. The Camera 8. Lighting 9. Shading and Surface Characteristics 10. Principles of Animation 11. Computer Animation Techniques 12. Advanced Computer Animation Techniques 13. Visual Effects Techniques 14. Retouching, Compositing and Color Grading 15. Image Resolution and Output(less)
The Art of Wallace and Gromit is an art book that's as fun as the stop motion animation itself. It's fill with sketches and art from Nick Park's sketchbook, way back to 1989's "A Grand Day Out". You can see the evolution of the sketches from concept to the screen, although no film stills are included. Wallace actually started out with a moustache and Gromit had a mouth with big teeth!
The most interesting part is the chapter on the inventions by Wallace. The gadgets are obviously inspired by the 40s-60s but adapted at great length into hi-tech gadgetry, often to hilarious effect. There are the Techno-trousers from "The Wrong Trousers", the dressing machine and the legendary BunVac 6000 from "The Curse of the Were-rabbit", Bully-proof vest and many more. Suddenly things that look mundane doesn't behave as such anymore.
There are also plenty of side characters included. You have the cute sinister Penguin (The Wrong Trousers), Shaun the Sheep (A Close Shave), Lady Tottington (The Curse of the Were-rabbit), Piella Bakewell (A Matter of Loaf and Death) and other town folks.
Right towards the end is the unused concepts. Many of the sketches reminds me of the funny comic strip "The Far Side". Some are just funny even without having any dialogue — same goes to all the other sketches in the book.
This is a crackling fun book. Recommended to all fans of Wallace and Gromit.(less)
Pixarpedia is the ultimate visual companion for all the Pixar movies and shorts, from Toy Story to the latest Up. It's filled with details like character bios, fun facts and story arcs. It even includes characters that weren't named in movies, like the multiple cars from Cars and utility robots (and rejects) from WALL-E, and a whole lot more.
The layout of the book is beautiful and high resolution pictures are used throughout. This is a book made for fans who can't get enough of Pixar goodness.(less)
John Lasseter mentions in the introduction his first job in college was pulling animation sequences from "the morgue" – Disney's archive of animation artworks. Well, this book is filled with those animation boards from "the morgue". Specifically, these are boards before the clean up process — before sketchy pencil lines are removed and colours, backgrounds added.
The second book in The Archive Series is still a huge thick hardcover with the boards printed gloriously big. Compared to the first volume, every artist is now properly credited to their work. There are a couple of fold-outs which are unnecessary because the art isn't printed across the fold anyway.
This book is primarily on the character art and animation. Artists and animators who want to give their characters life, make them act or emote, will gain a lot from this book. This is more so than the first book because here it features a lot of expressions and gestures. There's no mistaking how the characters feel or what they are doing just by looking at their expressions and poses.
For animation sequences, well, the boards included are actually a mixture of in-sequence and standalone. You'll probably be able to recognise the many memorable scenes, like how Dumbo swings from her mother's trunk (sweet!), when Pinnochio takes his first step or the spaghetti-eating-to-kissing scene (classic!) in The Lady and the Tramp.
Plenty of legendary artists are included, like Ub Iwerks, Norm Ferguson, Ben Sharpsteen, Hamilton Luske, Dick Huemer, Grim Natwick, Art Babbitt, Fred Moore, Bill Tytla, Frank Thomas, Ollie Johnston, Milt Kahl, Marc Davis, John Lounsbery, Ward Kimball, Eric Larson, Les Clark, Wolfgang Reitherman, John Sibley, Bill Justice, Clyde Geronimi, Ted Berman, Glen Keane, Andreas Deja, Eric Goldberg, Mark Henn and Tony Bancroft.
This is an inspiring book recommended to animators.(less)
This book is more on fan art than concept art. That said, you won't see any sketches from original Disney artists. The illustrations of princess are based on the artists' interpretation. I don't recognise the names of any artists other than Glen Keane, who wrote the introduction.
The princesses included are Snow White, Tiger Lily, Belle, Ariel, Pocahontas, Mulan, Aurora, Jasmine, Cinderella and even the newest Princess Tiana from The Princess and the Frog.
The variety of style is great. There's art created from acrylic, collages, gouche, water colour, digital and there are even handmade dolls and photographs. What I didn't like is the quality of the illustrations, which can be quite varied, depending on the skill level of the artist contributing. Remember after all, this is sort of a fan art book, although I have seen better fan art books.
While some are beautifully drawn, there's not one that truly stands out. Most of the pieces stay on the wholesome track, although someone did try to break out of the box with Snow White in a futuristic skin-tight outfit. There's another one, which I think didn't work well, had Snow White fixed onto a deer's body much like a Centaur. The idea might not be bad but the technical execution (which should not be mistaken as style) could be better, which happens some other pieces. I also realised that manga style chibi eyes don't work well on princesses, or maybe because it's not done right (by a Japanese artist).
The ones I like are the ones which stayed true to the original designs but done in a different style. There are two artists Dan Beltran and Eric Tan who created simple vector illustrations with nice compositions.
This book could be so much better if the selection is stricter. It's recommended only if you're really interested, like seriously interested in Disney princesses.
Looking through the art in this book, one would not have guessed that Disney actually decided to phase out traditional animation in 2004. The Princess and the Frog essentially marks a comeback, a representation of what Disney used to be. That's good news for all fans of traditional animation.
The Art of The Princess and the Frog is filled character designs, background art and storyboards. The art is unmistakeably Disney-style — the caricature style of characters, stylized set designs and lush colours. The story is set in New Orleans and there are plenty of background paintings in different moods. The characters are lively and backgrounds beautiful.
The team of contributing artists is impressive. There are new artists as well as familiar names. It's impossible to name all but those whose name keep appearing are Rik Maki, Armand Baltazar, Bill Schwab, James Aaron Finch (production designer), Ian Gooding (art director), Sue Nichols, Mark Henn, Chris Appelhans, Kevin Gollaher and many more.
The artists and staff contribute numerous interesting quotes. They talk about the creative process, characters, the set and a bit on the story. There are stuff like what they did or where they went for research, inspiration and influence from older classic animated films. All interesting and insightful to read.
This book a refreshing and welcome look back at traditional art, after being exposed to so much digital animation. Old school still has its distinct charm.(less)
The cover art is slightly different from the original product image. The fat alien is replaced with Lem, the main character of the movie.
This book is published by Insight Editions but doesn't come with any of special enhancement (e.g. pullouts, cards) you sometimes see with their other books.
Planet 51 is the other animated movie this year featuring aliens, the other being Monsters vs Aliens. The cast is of course different, and the set is not on Earth but on Planet 51. Planet 51 is the debut film of Madrid-based Ilion Animation. The concept artists, based off the names in the captions, seem to be all from Spain. The whole film was produced entirely in Spain.
There are more than 400 pieces of concept art in this book. Each character comes with lots of sketches. The background paintings are very beautiful and scenic. There are also many alien set and prop designs. It's like looking at a parallel universe where everything looks familiar but different. The aliens have their own version of the famous Flatiron building in Manhattan, suburbia, Area 51, vehicles, utensils, etc.
My favourites are the background and set paintings, some of which are very detailed. This book has top notch art work and variety. There are short commentary on the art and concept.
It's a visually delightful book, highly recommended to character designers and animation lovers.(less)
There are two parts to The Art of Oban Star-Racers. The first part is a visual guide to the animated series and the second part has stories on the production. If you haven't watch the animation, be forewarned that there are spoilers in this book, on page 60 and on the episode guide at the back.
The first part serves as a good introduction to the story and the characters. The writeup on the characters are really interesting in part because the characters are interesting themselves.
The character designs are unique and really fun to look at. Head character designer Thomas Romain has done a tremendous job for creating such a diverse set of characters. I found the design for Ceres pretty hilarious. He either looks like a cross between an "oceanic statue and a Picasso sculpture" or a piece of thin brown circuitry board that has arms and legs. One character Aikka, flies a giant beetle for a ship.
The background concept drawings are beautiful and I'm glad they printed them big. I like the style of the set designs, particularly the colour choices.
In the second part, creator and director Savin Yeatman-Eiffel talks candidly about the production challenges he faces. There was great uncertainty in the direction of the story and he had to motivate his team. He recounts his multiple rejections from investors until he saw a message from Minoru Takanashi, a producer in chief for Bandai Visual (Japan) who's willing to invest. It's interesting though not surprising that only someone who has done 2D animation can see saw the potential. So his team moved over to Tokyo to create the animation. There are stories on working with the Japanese, with the 3D studio back in France, the interaction, script and of course, the occasional crisis.
This book an inspiring read for those love animation and into animation. For those who are just fans of the series, there might be a new sense of appreciation, after finding out the effort that went into creating it.
Fantasic Mr. Fox was published in 1970, written by Ronald Dahl. The Making of Fantastic Mr. Fox is for the visual companion for the stop motion animated movie based on that book, directed by Wes Anderson.
This is a 192-page hardcover book with a nice dust jacket. The low gloss pages are filled with character sketches from the conceptualisation to the making of the models for the animated film.
A short introduction to the Dahl estate starts the book, which is then divided into several chapters which focus on the various characters of the film. Alongside the sketches and art, there are little notes that explain the consideration taken when designing the models, how each part is to be handled and the significance in the final film.
This book a treasure trove of knowledge on stop motion animation. It shows much of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the final film, how each and every character is modeled, the making of the sets - the farmhouse, the foxes' tree burrow, the town square, how the fire in the street scene is done and many more.
There are plenty of detailed photos of the models of the buildings, like how each chicken should look down to the bread in the bakery etc. Alongside these photos are notes by the artists talking about the scenes where the models are used.
Each character has its own chapter. You can see how the director's interpretation the characters' look, traits and behaviours, are all reflected in the creation of the models. There are concept art from the initial character design to the final selected design, and the different expressions, their clothings, textures — hair, fur, wrinkly skin, etc.
In the later parts of the book, alongside the pictures of the models for the settings and locations, there are interviews with Wes Anderson, Liccy Dahl (Roald Dahl's wife) and various production staff.
Fans of stop motion animation would enjoy this book and through it, appreciate this way of movie making.(less)
Robert Zemeckis is out with another motion capture animation movie, A Christmas Carol, the Charles Dicken's classic. Stylistically, it has a very similar feel to his earlier movies, Beowulf and The Polar Express, probably due to the hyper-realism recreation of scenes and characters.
The concept art for this movie is created by production designer Doug Chiang and his group of artists at ImageMovers Digital, a studio run by Robert Zemeckis and Disney specializing in performance capture and CGI.
There are plenty of art on locations and cool architecture since Charles Dicken's story was set in 1840s London. You'll see sets like Big Ben clock tower, Scrooge's English house, city streets and the other sets used in the animated film.
There are also character designs, some miniatures, sculptures and 3D renderings. Not surprisingly, the 3D characters resemble their life voice actors, who are Jim Carrey (except for old Scrooge), Gary Oldman, Bob Hoskins, and Robin Wright Penn among others.
Author Diana Landau has included commentary on the production process with interviews from the director, actors and artists. It's interesting to read about how they approach performance capture, character development, and making various artistic choices.
The Art of A Christmas Carol is a very decent companion to the film.(less)