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The Animator's Survival Kit

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The definitive book on animation, from the Academy Award-winning animator behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Animation is one of the hottest areas of filmmaking today--and the master animator who bridges the old generation and the new is Richard Williams. During his more than forty years in the business, Williams has been one of the true innovators, winning three Academy Awards and serving as the link between Disney's golden age of animation by hand and the new computer animation exemplified by Toy Story.

Perhaps even more important, though, has been his dedication in passing along his knowledge to a new generation of animators so that they in turn could push the medium in new directions. In this book, based on his sold-out master classes in the United States and across Europe, Williams provides the underlying principles of animation that every animator--from beginner to expert, classic animator to computer animation whiz --needs. Urging his readers to "invent but be believable," he illustrates his points with hundreds of drawings, distilling the secrets of the masters into a working system in order to create a book that will become the standard work on all forms of animation for professionals, students, and fans.

342 pages, Paperback

First published January 1, 2001

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About the author

Richard Williams

6 books14 followers
Richard Williams (born March 19, 1933) is a Canadian–British animator. He is best known for serving as animation director on Disney/Amblin's Who Framed Roger Rabbit and for his unfinished feature film The Thief and the Cobbler . He was also a film title sequence designer and animator; his most famous works in this field included the title sequences to What's New, Pussycat? (1965) and title and linking sequences in The Charge of the Light Brigade (1968). He also animated the eponymous cartoon feline for two of the later Pink Panther films.

Richard Williams emigrated from Toronto to Ibiza in 1953 and then to London in 1955. In 1958 he produced the work that boosted his career and won the 1958 BAFTA Award for Animated Film, The Little Island . In the Thames Television documentary "The Thief Who Never Gave Up" (1982), Williams credits animator Bob Godfrey with giving him his start in the business, "Bob Godfrey helped me...I worked in the basement and would do work in kind, and he would let me use the camera...[it was] a barter system". After his early work in the mid-1960s he directed the Academy Award-winning A Christmas Carol (1971), the full-length feature Raggedy Ann & Andy: A Musical Adventure (1977) and the Emmy-winning television film Ziggy's Gift (1982). He was director of animation on Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988), winning two more Oscars for his work. He has written an acclaimed animation how-to book, The Animator's Survival Kit, published in 2002 (expanded edition, 2009). Following this, he completed a 9-minute short film titled Circus Drawings. The silent film, with live accompaniment, premiered at the Pordenone Silent Film Festival in Italy in September 2010.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 161 reviews
Profile Image for Bert.
Author 13 books4 followers
July 30, 2011
After reading this, I quit my job and went back to school to learn all about animation! Interesting, up-to-date, "complete" and very useful guide.
December 22, 2015
I read this for my Basic Animation class. I wouldn't say I read every page, but enough that I will count it. It's mainly illustrations but that's probably the best learning tool for this subject. Mr. Williams clearly knows his stuff when it comes to animation. He worked with all the greats, including the Old Men of Disney and he knew some of the other greats like Tex Avery. This is a must for animation students and those who want to explore the technical side of animation, and it's a good reference text for would-be animators, even if you don't officially take classes.
Profile Image for Katelyn Jenkins.
204 reviews6 followers
September 18, 2018
iF YOU WANT TO BECOME AN ANIMATOR, THIS IS practically available everywhere. :)

Just get it! Just practice it! Get good doing your great! This book is the only of it's kind, thank you to Richard Williams, I will forever be reading this.
Profile Image for Elise.
1 review1 follower
January 23, 2020
As well as an extremely useful handbook for aspiring animators, this is a fascinating read for any animation buff! Williams is a master of his craft and presents clear and step-by-step examples of what he is trying to teach. He constantly references gods of the medium like Milt Kahl and Bill Tytla for reinforcement of a point or an example of a technique, which gives the impression of a rounded point of view. As well as informative, I found this book to be engaging and humorous.

If I were to give a few criticisms of the book it would be a) inconsistency in visual presentation, b) slight disorganization and c) a male-centric view of art and the human form.

a: Williams presents animations frame-by-frame, but can do this from right to left OR left to right, seemingly randomly. Sometimes examples span one page and sometimes they run across two before dropping to the next row of frames. Everything is clearly numbered and this doesn't hinder learning much, but I frequently found myself reading examples incorrectly and briefly becoming confused.

b: the book can jump around in ideas and methods. It feels a bit stream-of-consciousness at times, which is maybe not ideal for a technical handbook.

c: Williams acknowledges once that an example may not be politically correct, and this is his example of recognizing one particular man's walk as a 'gay walk' to reinforce his idea of walk cycles being important for characterization. However, there are many unacknowledged examples of female characters which are objectifying, generalizing or othering in some way. These do not diminish the book's importance as a learning resource and did not make me overly uncomfortable, but there are several moments throughout the book which made me pause and say "...seriously?" He presents examples of exclusively male animators (granted, most of the "greats" were men and animation has been a male-dominated field for most of its history). This book generally just falls into the common trap that art/medicine/history studies do, in presenting maleness as the default setting.

Notice that these criticisms don't decrease my 5-star rating. This book does what it means to very well and was incredibly fun. As a beginning animator and a superfan of the medium, I learned SO much. Highly recommend.
Profile Image for Monqeth.
313 reviews90 followers
January 27, 2023
أفلام ومسلسلات الكارتون الأمريكية مثل ميكي ماوس، وتوم وجيري، وبغز بني، لم يصنعها أطفال ولا مراهقون، وإنما صنعها رجال تجاوزت أعمارهم الـ 30 سنة وظلوا يبدعون حتى بعد ابيضاض رؤوسهم، وكتابنا هذا ألفه الكاتب وعمره 68 سنة، بعد أن تتلمذ خلال عشرات السنين على يد أسماء شهيرة صنعت أفلام طفولتنا،وعملت في والت ديزني و وورنر بروس وغيرها، واستطاع من تلمذته تلك أن يحصل على الأوسكار عن دوره في تحريك شخصيات فيلم
Who Framed Roger Raabit
الذي جمع بين التصوير والأنيميشن. فالكتاب امتداد لخبرات ونصائح المؤسسين الأوائل للأنيميشن.

اقتنيت الكتاب لاهتمامي بـ الموشن جرافيكس، ثم اكتشفت أنه مخصص لتحريك الشخصيات، لكن المجالان متداخلان، وأكملت الكتاب لأفهم، وتعجبت من دقة المؤسسين الأوائل وإبداعاتهم في إنشاء وتطوير هذا الفن، حيث كانوا ظاهريا يرسمون الشخصية على طبقات شفافة ثم يحركون الطبقات فتتحرك الشخصية. هكذا كنا نظن! تعجبت عندما اكتشفت طريقتهم المنظمة في تقسيم الثانية إلى فريمات، في كل واحد منها يضعون رسمة معينة للشخصية، وتعجبت أكثر من استعمالهم للجداول البيانية، وغيرها مما يجعل الإنسان يحترم الفن ويقدره من بعد أن كان يراه عملا عفويا محضا.

الكتاب سعره 60 دولارًا تقريبا لكنه يستحق ثمنه وأكثر، فهو كتاب مرجعي لا تكاد تجد شخصا في اليوتيوب وفي الكورسات التعليمية إلا ويحيل إليه أو يستخدم أمثلته. الكتاب غني عن التعريف وغني بالمحتوى، ففيه النظرية والتطبيق مفصلان، كما نقل فيه الكاتب نصائح أساتذته وتقريعاتهم له.
وما يميزه تنسيق الرسومات بالألوان، والكتابة بخط اليد وخط الطباعة معا.

في عام 2009 قام الكاتب بإضافة ملحق وأشار إلى ذلك تحت العنوان.
كما قام الكاتب بعمل محاضرات تطبيقية باستخدام القلم والسبورة وقام بتحريك رسومات الكتاب وجعل كل ذلك في DVD

2 reviews1 follower
December 23, 2020
Richard Williams had an extraordinary life in animation. When he began his career, art schools considered solid draftsmanship passé, and animation knowledge was not widely available to the public. Williams learned animation technique in the most difficult and expensive way possible: Personally hiring industry vets and travelling to the Disney Studios to seek tips and advice. This book is a culmination of years of hands on experience and consultation from the best artists in the field. Thanks in large part to this book, knowledge about animation technique is widely available to the public.

While professional animators were the original audience for The Animator's Survival Kit (this book is based on notes for a series of professional masterclasses) I think it serves as a good starting place for anyone who would like to start learning the craft. The book opens with the basics about timing and spacing, and then spends most of the book on walks and runs. These concepts are foundational, and I find that Williams explains these ideas better that most authors that came before him (Preston Blair, Tony White) and those that came after. (Eric Goldberg's Character Animation Crash Course is perfectly fine, but I think Williams goes more in depth)

The Animator's Survival Kit is used as a textbook in animation schools across the globe. If you want to start learning animation outside of a formal setting, this book is still the best place to start.
Profile Image for Gabriel Cruz.
3 reviews1 follower
March 20, 2017
Um dos melhores manuais de animação. Essencial para qualquer um que quiser aprender essa arte. As lições de Richard Williams completamente ilustradas e anotadas nas páginas de TASK faz com que seja um livro para ter como eterna fonte de consulta tanto para quem aprende quanto para quem está executando um trabalho para o Cinema de Animação. Livro obrigatório para ter na estante do animador. Sua versão em Português intitulada "Manual de Animação" lançada pela Editora SENAC não fica atrás e não se perde nenhuma informação essencial na tradução (a não ser, é claro, o impacto causado pelo título)
Profile Image for Sabine Terky.
21 reviews13 followers
February 7, 2016
This book is a must-read for anyone interested in learning animation. I always refer back to it while working. Priceless tips by an animation mastermind.
Profile Image for Jim  Doran.
9 reviews
February 21, 2023
Williams gets full credit for documenting the things he learned from Disney/WB animation innovators and visionaries, and this book is unquestioningly essential for anyone that wants to learn animation. He explains the walk cycle, timing & spacing, and many other concepts, and he makes recommendations for hand drawn animation that are vital. Yet, I wish is was slightly less autobiographical, because, frankly, I have little interest in Williams and his studio. After sitting through the 16 DVD companion set to the book, I recommend the iPad app (not Kindle book), which comes with just the animated video examples. THOSE are excellent, and this book is absolutely required reading. While this will be the most helpful to folks doing hand drawn and stop motion (dragonframe, etc.), I highly recommend this book for folks doing purely digital work, too.
4 reviews1 follower
May 12, 2022
full of sexist remarks
Profile Image for Barack Liu.
471 reviews16 followers
January 9, 2021

302-The Animator's Survival Kit-Richard Williams-Tool-2001


" The Animator's Survival Kit " was first published in the United States in 2001. It mainly contains information related to the history of animation, such as technology, suggestions, and techniques.

Richard Williams was born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in 1933 and died in 2019. Studied at Northern Secondary School. In 1988, his work " Who Framed Roger Rabbit " won him two Oscars. Representative works: " The Animator's Survival Kit " etc.

Table of Contents
1. Why this book?
2. Drawing in time
3. Time to draw
4. It's all in the timing and the spacing
5. Lesson 1
6. Advancing backward to 1940
7. More on spacing
8. Walks
9. Runs, jumps, and skips
10. Flexibility

" A top United Artists executive who distributed The Yellow Submarine told me, 'This is the Beatles at the height of their popularity and still people stay away from non-Disney animation.' Film executives at that time always said of animation,' If it doesn't have the Disney name on it, no one will go see it.' But the real point is, it wasn't just the Disney name — it was the Disney expertise that captivated the audience and held them for eighty minutes. "

Although the form of animation has undergone tremendous changes in the past half a century. But Disney still belongs to the first echelon of the animation production kingdom without any dispute. This is very shocking. How did Disney do it? For those who are interested in learning animation production, Disney is an object worth studying. Of course, there are other leaders in animation production, such as Japan's manga and the animation industry is also extremely developed. I was thinking, can I see China form a strong animation industry in my lifetime?

" When I was ten years old I bought a paperback book, How to Make Animated Cartoons, by Nat Falk, published in 1940. It's now long out of print, but I used it as a handy reference guide for 1940s Hollywood cartoon styles when I designed the characters and directed the animation for Who Framed Roger Rabbit. ”

Childhood experiences and hobbies, even after a person reaches adulthood, still have a great influence on him. We may know best what we want when we are young. At that time, we were not disturbed by various external factors, nor would we be troubled by sunk costs.

Unfortunately, because of the subjective and objective reasons, most people will eventually choose to embark on one of their own expectations different of life path. Even so, a child's desire may still have them work. In the future, this seed buried in the heart will still play a role, affecting a person's choice many years later.

“ Animation is just doing a lot of simple things-one at a time! A lot of really simple things strung together doing one part at a time in a sensible order. ”

"Laozi," wrote, "The difficult things in the world must be done easily; the great things in the world must be done in detail. " No matter how grand the ultimate goal is, every action can actually be achieved when it is dismantled. But in order to achieve the ultimate goal, a protracted battle must be fought, and wisdom and perseverance are needed in this process.

Wisdom is needed because we know how to dismantle and what specific steps to take. Need perseverance, because to these repeated, many, even some steps to carry out that boring, very test of patience.

" So I wrote to Milt saying that I thought The Jungle Book was the absolute high point of pure animation performance and that I didn't think it would ever be possible for anyone outside the Disney experience to reach that pinnacle. It turned out Milt said it was the best letter they ever had — and even better, that he knew my work a bit and wanted to meet me. ”

I can imagine how excited the author was when he was invited. The opponent is the leader of the animation industry, and I am just an ordinary animator who is still struggling and trying to find his own way. There is still a long way to go before me. At this time, the other party is willing to meet me and make some exchanges, which gives me great encouragement.

This kind of meeting certainly has elements of luck, but you must also have a certain degree of strength, and your own works are somewhat desirable in the eyes of the other party, in order to win such opportunities. I admit that there is luck in the turning point of changing fate, and even a lot of luck, but if you don't have your own strength to pave the way, even if such an opportunity occurs, you can't catch it.

“ I became a repository for various strands of animation lore and I've taken all this stuff and given it my own twist. The goal here is to master the mechanics in order to do new things. Get the mechanics into your bloodstream so they just become second nature and you don't have to think about them and can concentrate on giving the performance. ”

In any advanced skill, the foundation is extremely important. The basic skills of the masters must be extremely solid, and only in this way can they be able to use them freely. "The Analects of Confucius," says, "Do what one wants and not overstep the rules. " This is not a natural ability, but because he was in the early days, has put these rules and laws drills became his instinctive part instinct. If we want to be pioneering ourselves, we must first practice the precious rules and rules summarized by our predecessors countless times before we can finally bring forth the new.

" Therefore, if we know and understand all the basics — then we've got the tools to create. Only then we can give the performance! "

To learn anything well, you need a deliberate process of repeated training. Only train these very basic things repeatedly until they form muscle memory. In this way, when I create in the future, I can get these tools at my fingertips.

“ In 1824 Peter Mark Roget discovered (or rediscovered, since it was known in classical times) the vital principle,' the persistence of vision'. This principle rests on the fact that our eyes temporarily retain the image of anything they've just seen. If this wasn't so, we would never get the illusion of an unbroken connection in a series of images, and neither movies nor animation would be possible. Many people don't realize that movies don't actually move and that they are still images that appear to move when they are projected in a series. ”

"Persistence of vision" phenomenon, probably by humans realized that their predecessors could not do early in life were like a Roget -like system to summarize and applications. There are some phenomena in life that may be easy to find, but how to apply these principles to life is actually not so obvious.

“ Then in 1914, McCay drew Gertie the Dinosaur, and McCay himself performed live' in front of the projected animation, holding an apple in front of Gertie and inviting her to eat. Gertie lowered her long neck and swallowed the fruit — astounding the audience. This was the first personality' animation — the beginnings of cartoon individuality. It was so lifelike that the audience could identify with Gertie. It was a sensation. ”

One hundred years have passed, and the level of animation that humans can produce to interact with real people is far beyond this work 100 years ago. Now it is easy for people to make an animation with more mature technology and richer stories, but the significance of the lesson is far inferior to this short film. Because it is both intellectually or technically pioneering nature, people always remember only those pioneering work.

“ Cohl's work prefigures the later animation dictum,' Don't do what a camera can do — do what a camera can't do!' ”

I think the important difference between this animation and live-action movies is that the content that animation can express is freer from the limitations of real life. In the scene live-action movie can not be photographed in the animated film was able to vividly to show it, animators should try to take advantage of this capability.

“ Then he followed it one year later with Three Little Pigs. This had a major impact because of its fully developed personality' animation — clearly defined and believable separate personalities acting so convincingly that the audience could identify with and root for them. Another first. "

People may not use computers or mobile phones made 10 years ago, but we can still appreciate the works of art created 100 years ago. Today, animation has undoubtedly become one of the expressions of art. Even in 100 after years or more away, I believe, the future of people see these works, the hearts will still produce their predecessors had all amazed and moved. This is probably the charm that spans time and space that art possesses.

“ The Felix cartoons led straight to the arrival of Walt Disney, and in 1928, Mickey Mouse took off with his appearance in Steamboat Willie ~ the first cartoon with synchronized sound. ”

Disney started from the first Mickey Mouse animation and has gone all the way to today. In the past 100 years, its influence in the world has grown. Although Walt Disney has been dead for many years, as long as there are people in this world who remember his works and appreciate his animations, he will not be forgotten. In this sense, he has not actually died. Although his body is gone, his spirit is still alive in the works he has created.

" The tremendous financial and critical success of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs became the foundation of Disney's output and gave birth to the Golden Age' of animation: Pinocchio, Dumbo, Bambi and Fantasia, as well as the Silly Symphonies and Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse shorts. "

Each company has its own famous works. The first fame work of a great company is often not necessarily the best fame work, because he has the ability to continuously breakthrough himself. But this work was probably the most memorable works. Because if there is no success for this work, then there may be no subsequent development.

" Astonishingly, only four years after that, Disney released Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the world's first fully-animated feature-length film, raising cartoon drawings to the level of art and holding the audience spellbound for eighty-three minutes. A truly staggering feat accomplished in an incredibly short space of time. (It's said that many of the artists booked themselves in advance into the hospital to recover from the effort of completing the film.) ”

In the history of modern animation, Disney has created too many firsts. It may be difficult for us to imagine, if there is no Disney company in this world, what kind of state will the animation industry be in today? The history of mankind has been the emergence of many companies, some companies, no matter how long they can exist, in the history of mankind all will leave their names.

“ Emery Hawkins said to me,' The only limitation in animation is the person doing it. Otherwise, there is no limit to what you can do. And why shouldn't you do it?' ”

The animation is essential to show a story. Technology is of course important, but it is important also to animation imagination. A man full of imagination, perhaps not necessarily have superb animation techniques, but he can be a simple way to express his ideas to the case, also brought the audience to enjoy the beauty. And if the superb storytelling skills, and the tyranny of combining industrial level, it complements each other.

" This section is really for classical animators. However, I haven't been surprised to find that most of the leading computer animators draw rather well, so it may be interesting to them too. It certainly helps enormously to be able to put down your ideas-even in stick figures. For a classical animator, it is crucial. ”

A computer is only a tool, I think, love animation probably would like to write their own painting, this desire can be very strong in childhood, but over time, gradually faded out. The animation industry in the past was built on the basis of hand drawing. The animator must draw one by one. But now, with the development of the industrial arts, the animation division may only responsible only for computers in operation, while not personally drawing. However, if you have a certain art background, even if you don't need to draw pictures of yourself, you only need to use computer software, I think it is very helpful.

“ When you're doing life drawing, you're all alone. One of the main reasons animators — once they become animators ~ don't like to spend their evenings and spare time life drawing is because it's not a collaborative operation. ”

When I was a child, I liked art very much, but sometimes I feel that learning art is not as good as learning instruments and other skills. Because it takes a long time to draw a picture, and there is not too strong performance nature, only one picture can be displayed in the end. It would be better to learn some musical instruments, with stronger performance and more occasions to use this skill. However, in life, after all, there is no way to decide what you can be attracted to. Since you like, then it would have to endure the inconvenience him and think of ways to play the benefit of such skills.

“ After my trip, I went straight to art school and received the second piece of advice, from a great teacher and superb draftsman, Eric Freifeld, then teaching at the Ontario College of Art. He looked at my life drawings and said, 'Well, here's a clever little fellow who's never seen anything.' I said,' What should I do?' He said, 'Go to the library and look at Albrecht Durer for two years.' I did. And not surprisingly my interest in animation vanished for years. ”

Although comics are fictitious, they come from life. I think this is probably one of the reasons why animators also have high requirements for basic skills in art. Now the art level of animators may be lower, but the computer level may be higher.

“ It was there that I received my first piece of great advice. Richard Kelsey (Disney story artist and designer/illustrator) said, 'First of all, kid, learn to draw. You can always do the animation stuff later.' ”

For animators in that era, the basic skill was to learn how to draw. With the widespread use of computers today, the importance of drawing skills must have been greatly reduced, but I think it is still very helpful. It takes a lot of time and energy to combine these two seemingly different skills.

“ The third piece of drawing advice came many years later — I was fifty – when I was pretty, and it came from a much younger man. My talent is primarily accomplished linear', which makes cartooning easy.
Profile Image for Steven Walker.
4 reviews
September 2, 2020
This book helped me immensely during my college animation classes at Ringling. It is the definitive book on animation.
Profile Image for Diana Habashneh.
181 reviews30 followers
June 14, 2017
excellent reference. i also recommend watching the videos for more understanding
Profile Image for Koen Crolla.
729 reviews179 followers
October 6, 2017
Williams is obviously working from a very specific tradition of animation and targets people who animate in a studio context rather than people who want to do it on their own, but most of the advice here translates and only some of it is clearly bad (like the stagger vibration thing; it's certainly true that that is/used to be a very common way of doing it, but the only reason I know that is because it stands out like a sore thumb every single time).
I just don't understand why every man in animation has to be a piece of shit.
Profile Image for Ina.
29 reviews
January 11, 2020
This book always blows my mind. The amount of knowledge Richard Williams had and to sit down and document all of that is astonishing to me.
An absolute must have if you are doing animation.
May 30, 2020
i would be less than half the animator/artist i am today without this. 12/10 recommend to anyone interested in animating
Profile Image for Irene.
93 reviews
May 26, 2021
Creo que este libro es prácticamente una biblia de la animación, no por su tamaño y formato (que también) sino porque abarca al detalle prácticamente todos los aspectos de esta disciplina. Con ejemplos claros, concisos e ilustrados, Richard Williams hace un recorrido por todos los aspectos a tener en cuenta cuando animamos.

En mi caso ha sido el primer libro que tengo entre manos para aprender sobre el tema y quizá recomendaría leer algo más ligero antes como "Cartoon Animation" de Preston Blair para tener una idea de los conceptos y luego profundizar con la información de este. Ya que puede resultar algo denso para las personas que estén comenzando y algunos conceptos se pueden hacer difíciles de asimilar. Aunque por supuesto lo mejor para entenderlos es llevarlos a la práctica.

Cabe destacar la edición, los textos con un acabado escrito a mano, las ilustraciones, los esquemas... hacen de la experiencia de lectura algo mucho más ameno. Considero que este manual es extremadamente útil, sobre todo para profundizar en los ciclos de caminar, correr... ya que conforman la parte más extensa del libro.

Decidí leerlo entero para acompañar el curso de animación que estoy realizando pero estoy segura de que volveré a sus páginas a menudo para consultarlo, ¡sin duda lo recomiendo!
Profile Image for Faith Graham.
11 reviews
April 26, 2022
I don't usually read how-to books or any non-fiction for that matter. However, this has to be one of my favorite and most applicable books that I've ever read. As an illustrator, I've always wondered how the mechanics of animation actually functioned, and thanks to Animation genius Richard Williams, I've learned all of the intricacies of motion, timing, expression, and then some. Animation is no joke, and it's extremely daunting, especially when diving into a think paper-back book like this one in an attempt to understand it. Nonetheless, Richard Williams does a great job in illustrating and explaining all of the possible nuances of the world of Animation and where to start. After reading this book, I really started to have a huge sense of appreciation for Animators and their craft (and I guarantee you will too after reading this Animation Bible!). In a search for what I would like do apply my art skills to, this book has made me consider a path towards animation thanks to its cohesiveness and brutal honestly of the industry. I highly encourage those who are interesting in going into animation to read this front to back to take the bull by the horns.
Profile Image for Lilly | mothcub.
120 reviews33 followers
March 7, 2023
I'm struck by how odd it feels to read about the fine details of specific animation techniques, given that I can't necessarily picture all the movements in my head, but this book is a standard for a reason, and it illuminates lots of techniques nicely.

Richard Williams emphasises very early on in this book the importance of drawing, i.e. the real study of drawing, and I found that to be my my takeaway here and it's really interesting to note that animation professionals will often say this kind of thing and comment on a change in focus in academic art study that has apparently lead artists away from real anatomical study/drawing study.

Cool book. The casual sexism is really weird though lmao
Profile Image for Aja.
86 reviews58 followers
August 1, 2018
While I have not gotten into animation (at least not yet), this book really gives me a great wealth of information for what to expect. Not just for animation, but for great animation. It's absolutely mind blowing of the compilation of advice from not only the author himself, but of other animation veterans of different studios spelling it out for anyone who reads this.

I remember a friend of mine from school saying that doing traditional hand drawn animation was insane because of the countless drawings you have to draw. He's not wrong. Yet, I'd be that insane person who's still interested in doing it after reading this book!
December 8, 2018
An important book for animators and animation enthusiasts. This has been a useful and faithful tool for me as an animator. I often refer to it. There's information on the different cycles and variations of them such as run, walk cycles. Learned so much about arcs, acting, body language, twinning, facial expressions, lip sync, etc. Everything is broken down and explained through pictures, drawings, and written explanations in a way that is fun and engaging. There is a lot of information geared towards 2d animators however many of it translates over to 3d animation. Also enjoyed the history and insight into the industry.
6 reviews
October 3, 2022
this is my favorite book and not just a must read for a animator but really a must own .
it contains so much knowledge.
its well explained , with well drawn examples , and humor as well.
it really explain the basics well and is both use able for 2D and 3D animation as its importent to have the right building bricks to lay a sturdy fundation to ones craft.
I keep coming back to it as there is longer breaks between my animated projects than I would like.
but its always good to have in general if in dought about something one can look it up its essentially an encyclopedia of the basics on animation and in my openiun the best we have on the marked so far I have read .
Profile Image for Darjeeling.
317 reviews33 followers
July 23, 2020
Read this a long time ago. It was amazingly comprehensive and practical. It's hard to imagine a better book on the topic.

I suppose the only things lacking might be an exploration of the innovations of Japan in the field of animation, and more modern technology like flash style 2D animation and CGI - I don't remember there being anything about that, which is not surprising considering when the book was written, but it was still a great book, basically THE book, for anyone interested in traditional animation methods.
189 reviews1 follower
January 27, 2023
I'm not a practicing animator and this book ended up taking me a LONG time to get through. It contains a lot of very interesting stories about animation and the ins and outs. The amount of time spent on specific frame timing etc. is a bit much if you're not going through the animations. I really liked the chapters on direction and the additional sections on realism versus animation. I still recommend reading it even if you're not animating and I might revisit it if I put pencil to paper on animation again. I can see why it is a classic.
Profile Image for Julia Milius.
61 reviews1 follower
November 10, 2018
More pictures than text, reading through this book helped prepare me to succeed in my animation class. I was able to add tips and tricks from the book that helped set my animation a level above other first time animators in the class. Hearing the many approaches of animators gave me confidence in trying out new and different ways of animating. While one shouldn't include a walk cycle in their portfolio, one does need to excel at a walk cycle in order to achieve better animation.
Profile Image for aakankshya  shrestha.
86 reviews38 followers
April 9, 2020
(4.5) Need to keep this one on my arsenal for future use as well. It really got me wanting to learn to draw better and practice figure drawing.

It was really interestingly written as well. Richard Williams gave an awesome narrative.
Although I skipped some parts that dealt with professional animating stuff like lip syncing and working as an assistant, the book was still interesting for me.
Profile Image for Seppe Gillis.
33 reviews
February 21, 2021
Als Bijbel voor animatoren geprezen en naar mijn mening die titel wel waard. Williams laat je in dit boek zijn perspectief op animatie zien, van fundamentele basisprincipes tot pioniers die hem de kneepjes van het vak leerden. Ikzelf heb alvast een ton geleerd, en mijn vingers jeuken meer dan ooit om een potlood vast te nemen en wat te tekenen. "Don't do what a camera can do," stelt Williams de conclusie. "Do what a camera 𝘤𝘢𝘯'𝘵 do."
Profile Image for Andrew Child.
90 reviews1 follower
December 31, 2022
it's so hard to find good resources as an adult trying to teach themselves animation. so many books are like "ask your dad if he can lend you his camera", etc. this book is so empowering bc while upholding animation as an art form that needs to be practiced, it gives you the tools in such a way that it makes the process seem almost easy. i will be referencing this book so much moving forward and might look into buying since i took it out from the library.
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