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92 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate guide on HOW to animate
Any animator looking for a book to help them improve their craft knows that most books on animation usually fall short in so many ways, it's easy to think it's impossible to write a comprehensive and accurate book on the subject (don't even get me started about the abysmal state of computer character animation books). Williams is the penultimate animator's animator and he...
Published on February 19, 2002 by Ronnie L. Ashlock

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20 of 31 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Seen Better
Apart from the momentary dream sequences of commentary by various well known industry animators, this book is only a duplicate of Preston Blair's book. In fact it is cheaper to buy Blair's book if you are really interested in learning about animation. This book is more notes on animation rather than a survival kit. If you can afford to have only one book, then Blair would...
Published on February 17, 2002 by Lee Sheppard


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92 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The ultimate guide on HOW to animate, February 19, 2002
By 
Ronnie L. Ashlock (Seattle, WA United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Any animator looking for a book to help them improve their craft knows that most books on animation usually fall short in so many ways, it's easy to think it's impossible to write a comprehensive and accurate book on the subject (don't even get me started about the abysmal state of computer character animation books). Williams is the penultimate animator's animator and he tells it like it is. Williams systematically demystifies virtually every aspect of animation from simple walk cycles, to breaking joints to dialogue and acting. Along the way, he corrects or eliminates information that is inaccurate or practices that distract (lose the headphones and the rad tunes when you work and watch your quality and quantity improve). Williams also is a great storyteller and writer. His accounts with Milt Kahl, Art Babbit and Ken Harris are gems, giving real insight into the personalities of these ingenious men. Since so much of the book is gleaned from his tutaluge under the now-gone "greats" of animation, any price for this tome is a steal. His gift to the world is this book.
If you want learn to REALLY animate characters with life and believability, get this book.
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78 of 86 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Legendary Animator Tells it Like It Is, January 3, 2002
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Richard Williams is a man who is largely responsible for the revival of the art of animation in the early 1970s. Williams had Disney animator Art Babbitt and Warner great Ken Harris working in his studio in London and training a new generation of animators in the techniques of good character animation, which was not taught at the time in any school or considered an art form.
Williams' long awaited book on animation technique is the logical successor to Preston Blair's CARTOON ANIMATION and it successfully updates some of the weaknesses of that book, particularly in handling dialogue animation. He covers a lot of the same ground that Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston did in their now out-of-print THE ILLUSION OF LIFE.
There is some history, but that's available in other books. What is unique about this book is that Williams writes how surprised he, an Academy Award winning animator with a successful professional studio, was to learn that he needed to learn just about everything over again from Harris and Babbitt. Fortunately for us he is now sharing these priceless lessons with the public.
The most important thing that an aspiring animator will get from this book is: that animation IS an art form, and good animation has nothing to do with whether it is done on computer or on paper. Williams exhorts his readers to 'draw whenever possible' and even though there is a computer modelled figure on the cover of the book, there is not a single piece of computer generated imagery in it. The book is about the bare bones, about creating life in art. Animation is the twentieth century's contribution to world art and deserves to be taken very seriously.
Buy this book.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Must read for animators trying to reach the next level, April 10, 2002
By 
William Wira (Los Angeles, CA United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Animator's Survival Kit (Paperback)
I have been a computer animator for 4 years, with a focus on character animation for 1 year. I have been searching for information that will get my work closer to ILM/Pixar quality, and this book has advanced my skills a generation ahead, bringing me much closer to my goal. Richard Williams breaks down all sorts of different walks (maybe a hundred?), runs and motions that imply weight, which is essential for a complete animator. He also gives suggested timings for different types of motions, so you have a starting point for a certain action... you don't have to reinvent the wheel. He has a straightforward style of animating that really improved my workflow, as well. As I act out the motions of a character I want to move a certain way, using Williams's techniques I can now breakdown the important parts of the motion with much more accuracy and efficiency. I read this book while working on a project, and the quality of my shots went up exponentially with every page I read. I now have tons of confidence in my abilities, I can animate better and quicker, and I have an added level of life in my characters that was lacking before. For me, this was a must read. I thank Richard Williams profusely for writing this book, and I recommend it to everybody that wants to animate characters.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars My "Second Year" of school., February 26, 2002
By 
Jonathan Roth (Palm Desert, CA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Animator's Survival Kit (Paperback)
I'm a graduate of a one year animation certificate program in classical animation. In many ways, this book covers a lot of the ground of Preson Blair's classic bible "Cartoon Animation", as well as Tony White's excellent "Animator's Handbook". However, it also deals with practical examples to extend the lessons from these initial books. The whole section on 'walks' has lessons on acting, character and animation that deal with all areas of acting in animation, not simply walk cycles.
It's also more practical than the Illusion of Life, in that it has a logical progression of lessons and enough custom illustrations to more precicely demonstrate these points. In many ways, It's the intermediate book between the intellectual aspects of the Illusion of Life, and the basic principals of Cartoon Animation.
For me, this was like a second year of school: I had learned all the concepts and basic principals I needed in that first year of school using Tony White and Preson Blair. Richard William's book expanded on those concepts, and has already started to improve my work in the first two months of receiving it. I highly recommend this book to any animation students out there, as well as graduates looking to increase their skills.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I've never written a review before but this book demands it, August 18, 2005
This review is from: The Animator's Survival Kit (Paperback)
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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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars are you prepared to be a total animator?, July 13, 2006
By 
Deltadada (washington, dc) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Animator's Survival Kit (Paperback)
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.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Entering the mind of a genius, May 1, 2003
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This review is from: The Animator's Survival Kit (Paperback)
This book is at the level of importance as that of Thomas and Johnston's "Disney Animation: Illusion of Life" and Preston Blairs how to books. An animator's only excuse for not buying it would be bankruptcy. When it first arrived I opened it expecting a decent number of illustrations, but was overwhelmed with what I found. The wealth of knowledge he passes along not just in text but primarily in examples has never been matched. Although I've never been able to attend Mr William's animation seminars now I feel like I have. See more stunning artwork demonstrating his theories than you ever imagined. Richard Williams will have to live to be 150 to accumulate enough info to come out with a sequel to this treasure, and I hope he does for our sake.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 10 STARS AND THEN SOME!!, February 12, 2002
By 
Todd Luallen (Encinitas, CA USA) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Animator's Survival Kit (Paperback)
If you happen to be a character animator that spends time at lunch talking about the principles of animation that are presented in 'The Illusion of Life' or perhaps you animate quadrapeds with the Preston Blair book open, then you definitely want to get this Survival Kit. I opened the book a week ago and started reading and by the end of the day I was a couple hundred pages deep. I opened up a walk cycle I'd created a week earlier and started toying around with the passing poses and the next thing you know I have a 'sad' walk....and then a 'proud' walk...and then a 'lazy' walk. This book has enabled me to animate quicker and also more effectively. The simple 'Recipe' style of creating walks with 'Vitality' is a tremendous guide.
I'm still not finished with the book because I've started going back over the walk and run sections while applying the lessons to animations that I have up on my computer. I'm convinced that applying the principles and methods described in this goldmine of a book will undoubtedly make anyone a better animator. I have friends in Film, Television, and Games and without exception this book is quickly becoming the talk among those in the animation industry.
If "The Illusion of Life" is the animators Bible, then "The Animator's Survival Kit" is the New Testament of what was once a forerunner to this remarkable book.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars MUST HAVE BOOK FOR STUDENTS AND PROFESSIONALS, January 24, 2002
This is the book I was planning on creating but Richard Williams beat me to the punch. I am a pro animator and animation instructor (teaching At The Center For Character Animation in Levittown, NY) and I highly recommend this book; a wonderful informative bible of animation information from one of the very best in the business. I have made this A mandatory book for all our students.
Basically, there are thousands of dollars worth of information crammed into this under 300+ page book. To the point, clear and concise, this gem is terrific for Cartoon animators and a definite necessity for computer animators. Mr. Williams book is The MUST HAVE out of all the other animation books on the marketplace. Read it from cover to cover, then read it again and again. A+++++++
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Best Textbook Ever, January 30, 2007
By 
J. Slone (Johnson City, TN United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Animator's Survival Kit (Paperback)
I've been in college for a while and when my first animation teacher assigned this book, I realized it's the only textbook in my entire life that I'll keep forever. And re-read. And re-read again.

It's thorough, easy to read, and has a really good sense of humor.

I'd daresay this book is mandatory for *anyone* who wants to animate in 2d and 3d (I do both) at *any* skill level from novice to master.
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The Animator's Survival Kit
The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams (Paperback - January 7, 2002)
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