4.16.2009

Character Animation Crash Course! / Eric Goldberg : 5 of 5

I have lots of animation books in my collection, but very few that actually discuss the nuts and bolts of how an animator actually works. But thanks to this gift from my pal Dae, now I have one of the best books on the subject! Eric Goldberg (Disney animator best known for the Genie in Aladdin) is one of my modern animation idols, since he's always so interesting in DVD interviews, and this book is obviously his labor of love to keep the true craft of animation alive. As he states in the introduction, this is more like a collection of "class notes" than anything, since it's only loosely structured into chapters, but each and every one is completely fascinating! Because this book is mostly written for animators, I felt like I was learning a new secret code, since there's detailed information about reading exposure sheets, walk cycles, lip sync, and even gimmicks such as smear drawings. I had to keep referring to the handy glossary, but it was worth it (and now I know what cushioning is!). Reading this book as an animation fan requires some concentration and study, but if you love animation like I do, it's so much fun to figure out. Of course, there are hundreds of illustrations by Eric to help explain the concepts, but even more exciting is the included CD that contains animation files (with a brilliant Flash interface that allows for cycling and stop-frame examination, along with the exposure sheet!). This book really opened my eyes to the challenges of CG animation as well, since Eric explains how some of the freedom that hand-drawn animation allows can be difficult to achieve with CG models. I had a fantastic time devouring this book, and if I had another life to live, I would definitely be tempted to use this knowledge and spend it animating!

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