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The Animator's Survival Kit

THE book to read if you're serious about animation

By Alex "CubOfJudahsLion"

The Animator's Survival Kit

If you're going to buy just ONE book on animation, let it be this one. If you're an initiate in modern animation tools, you will learn where the animation concepts that your application uses (whether it's Animo, ToonBoom, KToon, Blender3D or Maya) came from -- and take better advantage of them.

The book is a treasure trove of animation experience and wisdom -- comprehensive principles, techniques and formulas all made accessible in a surprisingly entertaining read. This is "animation done right" taught right. Mr. Williams won't make you recite the Twelve Principles -- you'll UNDERSTAND them an think in terms of them by the time you've read through the book and practiced a bit.

Did you know there's more to life than just the simplistic keyframes/in-between dichotomy found in most software packages? That's right: there's measuring timing and spacing, there's contacts/extremes, ease-in/out or 'cushions' and passing positions, there's joint breaking and elongated tweening... well, you'll just have to read and learn, and then you'll know far better what to do with your tools.

Are you prepared to be a total animator?

By Deltadada

The Animator's Survival Kit Review

This book fleshes out the process of traditional (pre-computer) animation more than the Preston Blair book which I had purchased earlier. If you found that book useful, this one will be even more helpful in understanding overall workflow.

A prerequisite for this book would be good fundamentals at sketching humanoids and understanding volume, especially with figures. Just a warning -- until you are able to draw shapes consistently, you will be stuck on the first few pages.

Williams' book begins with an overview of moving simple volumes, but quickly dives into the complexity of making figures walk. He spells out similar-but-different nuts-and-bolts approaches to the traditional animation process through the construction of walk cycles, of which there are many examples. I am strictly a beginner, but for the seasoned animator, I expect this book would be a handy reference for walk cycles.

Over the course of the book, Williams touches on virtually all key areas which animators have to deal with including fabric and mouth movements. The author also offers sagely advice from the colleagues he learned from over the years. The text is very readable and makes you feel like you are moving along, learning the business of animation from the inside out.

This edition DOES NOT give detailed explanation of the nuts-and-bolts, tools, or workflow of COMPUTER animation as it is evolving today. HOWEVER, anyone who masters the fundamentals stressed in this book would be prepared for most any style of animation.

This is not a book to give you quick-and-dirty shortcuts. The examples progress in a direction to build you into a total animator. I found the examples to be very clear upon studying and practicing them. The forms begin simple and gain complexity throughout. For someone who is very serious about the CRAFT of animation, I would recommend this book.

I've never written a review before but this book demands it

By Benjamin

The Animator's Survival Kit Review

Okay so I read lots of reviews before I buy anything seldom do I come back and review them but I felt compelled to do it for this book. I'm an animation student and I have to say that I can't believe I took so long to buy this book. If you only ever buy one animation (if you're an animator and you only buy one book on the subject there's something horribly wrong) BUY THIS BOOK. This book speaks in a language visual people can understand. My favourite thing about the book is that near the end Richard abandons typed text and everything becomes handwritten notes clustered around drawings. It's really a beautiful book it makes you want to run over to your lightbox or whatever your preffered media is (mine is clay, but this book makes you appreciate drawn animators alot) and animate. I read it whenever I'm feeling uninspired it reminds me why I'm studying this beautiful artform. Buy now. Or at least add it to your wishlist so even if you have no money of your own (like me) someone might buy it for you (like me - thanks dad). Oh as some other reviews say this is a character animation book but if you're doing anykind of animation you should give it character traits emotions etc unless you're doing flying logos and spaceships (flying logos can benifit from some character too I'm sure, if you're being paid to animate you should have at least read this book in the library preferably you should own it). Anyway must get back to work now. Procrastination, like motion capture, is the devil.

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