2.11.2009

The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age / Don Hahn : 3 of 5

Just like every animation fan, I have tons of books about the overall process of animation in my library (many of which describe the same thing over and over), but I really wanted The Alchemy of Animation (which I got for Christmas) for a couple reasons. First, the author is Don Hahn, my favorite Disney producer and all-around interesting guy (I really enjoyed his book Dancing Corndogs in the Night), and second, this is the first book I've read to cover traditional 2D animation, CGI animation, and even stop-motion animation in one volume. Actually, this book is quite similar to his previous work Animation Magic (which I also own), but much more extensive. Don's writing is a joy to read (as expected), and he nicely weaves together the entire process from pre-production (which is often identical for all three film methods) to marketing. I really enjoyed the way he describes scheduling problems (such as figuring out how many animators are needed based on their output and time available), and he does a great job of covering the many interesting aspects of CGI animation, such as modeling, rigging, and even virtual lighting. Nothing is totally glossed over, since he even mentions the intricate scoring and other sound processes, as well as the computer guys who keep the render farm going! He also includes some nice advice for future animators (interesting to read for my fantasy life), plus a great recommended reading list and an extensive glossary that includes many terms and definitions that provide more information that isn't even in the main text. All in all, The Alchemy of Animation is a quick read, but its content (not to mention the pages of glorious artwork) is exactly what I wanted for my library. If anyone asks me to recommend a general "how to they do it" animation book, I'll definitely mention this one!

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