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08.06.2014 admin
The book has been a blessing for aspiring animators the world over, the detailed drawings and hand-written instructions makes you feel like you are attending a personalised class with Richard Williams himself. Animators in India unfortunately have never been able to actually attend any of Williams’ masterclasses.
All the important technical information is explained using drawn examples so that even a complete newbie animator will grasp the basics of animation, slowly advancing through the chapters, practising and mastering skills along the way. Despite technical limitations that prevent it from having as much video content as the DVDs, the iPad App covers a lot of ground. Making the most of the technology, it allows you to view animation frame by frame automatically and also by scrubbing back and forth.
One of the biggest advantages of the iPad app is that it makes the knowledge very accessible.
I would highly recommend the app especially to aspiring animators in India who have the talent and the inclination to learn but cannot afford to enrol in expensive courses.
South Australian Artist, Writer, Video Producer and Animator, David Arandle working under the pseudonym 'The Extraordinary Tourist' or 'TET' for short Blogs about his personal animation projects as well as Tips, Software Reviews, Featured Animators Animation Business and a whole lot more.
The Animator's Survival Kit, Expanded Edition by Richard Williams is considered to be the animator's 'bible' for good reason. Note that I've deliberately described animation as a craft because that's what this book is all about, learning the methods, formulas, principles and techniques to create convincing animation. After a basic walk there is so much more to think about ranging from what kind of character you're animating to what mood they're in, how heavy they are, what mannerisms they have and more.
The tips, techniques and advice in this book is gleaned from some of the most respected names in the business such as Ken Harris (Warner Bros), Milt Kahl, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas (all Disney) and more.
Not only did Richard learn from and work along side some of the masters he also directed a few of them too. Other animation books will teach you about 'squash and stretch' but this one will tell you when to use it and when not to and why. The expanded edition, which you would think updates the book for modern technologies, such as digital animation, doesn't.
You might pick up this book and wonder where is the section on computer animation, stop motion and all those different techniques. The point of the book is sharing methods that can apply to any kind of key framed animation. Synfig Studio is intended to be professional 2D animation software and is available to download for free.
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As an animation professor at the School of Visual Arts, I try to keep abreast of all the latest animation how-to books.
Then, there’s the 16-dvd set of the Animator’s Survival Kit in which Williams teaches a room full of staff at Blue Sky Studios. The latest incarnation of the Animator’s Survival Kit is the iPad app, which sells for $34.99 at the iTunes store.
The app interface retains the homey look and feel of the original book, using Williams’s handwriting rather than a print typeface.  Each chapter is clearly laid out and accompanied by dozens of clips of animation exercises.
While I highly recommend this app, I realize that not all students own iPads (or Apple products for that matter).  PC users are out of luck for now. CELIA BULLWINKEL has worked on feature films (Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Chicago 10, Hair High), TV shows (Little Bill, MTV’s Friday, Ugly Americans, Wonder Pets), and far too many commercial projects. We welcome thoughtful comments on articles, but please read our community guidelines before participating. Innovators understand that to do something fresh and different, you have to understand the skills and traditions of the form being practiced.


And look how horrid those woodland critters were animated compared to when they started to form and write down their own rules to create better, higher quality, and more believable animation, IE: Bambi. I would have to ask you then, would you live in a house built by a architect and construction foreman who threw out knowledge of standards and rules? You think animators are just magically creative or artists are just born knowing painting, sketching, sculpting techniques?
It seems that Apple user get to have everything cool first, but even still, I don’t think I could pay $35 for an app. I’m fortunate enough to have an iTunes Gift Card, the universe has looked kindly upon me haha, this is perfect timing, an immediate buy! In terms of this product, where you essentially get the entire book and then some, I think function, originality, quality and general exclusivity can justify the price. I agree on the front of music prices, but I believe this is a somewhat different situation.
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There is plenty of tapping and scrolling, the book lending itself perfectly to the medium, enhancing the learning experience. Also to those who currently attend animation institutes that teach you the animation software but completely overlook the foundation – the art of animation. It's simply the best book on the craft of animating I've ever read (and if you're a regular reader of this blog you'll know I've read a few). Animators who pretty much invented, refined and set the bench marks for the medium all channeled through Richard William's own 50 years of industry experience. Apart from this book, Richard is most well known for directing 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit' a film that almost single handedly renewed interest in 2D animation and is still highly regarded today. You'll also learn about timing, spacing, flexibility, break joints, weight, dialogue, acting, body language, animating animals and more.
Richard has simply added in more important things about animation that he didn't get to include in the original edition.
As someone who works mostly in 2D and 3D computer animation there's just so many techniques here that I'm itching to try, just to see if it translates well and contributes to improving my own work.
There are many books—excellent and otherwise—that are published regularly, but there is only one author who can tout having had close personal and professional relationships with such Golden Age greats as Milt Kahl, Grim Natwick, Art Babbitt, Emery Hawkins and Ken Harris, not to mention having won three Oscars. One of the real highlights is the playback function available on all the animation exercises which allows the user to play back the animation frame-by-frame, at full speed, or to scrub back and forth through the action. All comments are moderated and will not immediately appear on the site; your patience is appreciated. Even experienced experimental understand the importance of learning the basics, and you can clearly see it in their work when they decide to deviate from those rules to trick audiences into thinking they were going in one direction when they skid into another. The majority of what we do is learned and then we put those teachings into practice on paper until we perfect it. With you actually expecting your students to KNOW something about art before entering the class room. Maybe if it goes down in price in a few months or whatever, Like even $10 or $5 would make me feel a little better about spending that kind of money for an app.
Once you learn what the book has to offer you are then supposed to pick and choose what you apply. But yeah, the only reason a physical price should cost more is due to manufacturing and distribution costs, but for things like books, they’re hardly the be-all-end-all reason for their price. You aren’t going to get another app like this anytime soon, it is literally one of a kind at the moment.
But you left out the part when I mentioned manufacturing cost, paying an editor to fix errors, advertisements, etc all play into a part of the cost.


The iPad app goes a few steps further by incorporating videos of Richard Williams introducing the topics and several animated examples.
From the bouncing ball that’s like the A-B-C of animation to advanced tips for directing animation, the Animator’s Survival Kit teaches you EVERYTHING! The iPad actually allows you to take Richard Williams with you whether you chose to learn at home, in the park or while traveling! Whether you are a classical, CG, stop motion or Flash animator, the basic principles of animation are the same and The Animator’s Survival Kit covers everything there is to know.
Nor is there any tips for how to make it in the animation business or develop your show reel. Things like animating birds wings, studying how horses walk and discussion about 'realism' in animation. Although the focus is on hand drawn, 2D animation almost all of the methods can be applied to other animation techniques.
The app also includes the expanded edition of the book—a treat for all of us first edition book owners—with sections dedicated to animating quadrupeds and winged creatures, as well as extra animation exercises and personal anecdotes from Williams himself. For those who are unable to purchase the app, the traditional book still contains all the essentials of Williams’ advice, even if its format is not as glitzy. She is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts animation department, and teaches at the Fashion Institute of Technology’s MFA Illustration program. But honestly though, did anyone else notice the three Academy Awards leisurely camping in the background like it’s no big deal? I actually really like the overly exaggerated and human-like movement the animals displayed in Snow White.
And the only justification for going through all the testing on hundreds of devices would be a willingness of users to spend a substantial amount money. INR 54,000, most Indian animators couldn’t afford the DVDs and had to be happy with just the book. The 17 chapters are exactly the same as in the book, but each one comes with a lot of interactive extra material that is possible only on a tablet. However the title of this book could almost be replaced with 'How to Animate a walk and some other things too' as the majority of the book is about animating walk and run cycles.
All that other info about the animation industry and different animation techniques you can gain from other publications. Her first short film, Sidewalk, recently won first place for independent film at the ASIFA-East Animation Festival. If learning the basics limits your creativity then you haven’t learned them well enough yet.
This books is an exception to the rule, as the team understood people wouldn’t want to pay full price for the book and added in more features. The UI is absolutely intuitive, allowing you to go directly to any chapter, any lesson or any video that you may want to dive into. This is the book you'll find yourself reaching for every time you're not sure about how to animate something or you just need a reference point to get you going.
And I understand that with books it’s a little different then with movies and music but the price should still be a couple of dollars lower at least.
Of course, you may also go step by step, studying a chapter at a time, taking your time to practise each lesson thoroughly, just as recommended by Williams.



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