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The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation

4.8 out of 5 stars 172 customer reviews

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Product Details

  • Paperback
  • Publisher: Hyperion Books (Adult Trd Pap) (February 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0786885068
  • ISBN-13: 978-0786885060
  • Product Dimensions: 10.2 x 11 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (172 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #10,825,506 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Equivalent to a Holy relic, this masterpiece of a book has inspired me, not only to appreciate Disney's work, but also the animators and animation in general. If you are considering entering the animation field, in particular working for Disney, then by all means purchase this book and read it thouroughly. 2 of the Old Nine Men, Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas, wrote this book sometime in the early eighties. I read this in the early nineties. I was such a good read it amazed. Not only what they were writing about, but how good the writing was. It was humerous, witty, profound and informative in such a way that is easy to retain the knowledge which I found immediately applicable. By far the one book that has stood the test of time beyond all of Disney's "The Art of (Insert Movie Here)" books. Thomas and Johnston give step by step process of how Disney complete a picture from the inception of the first idea to the finalized product on Sunset Boulevard at the El Capitan. I cannot comment on this book enough and cannot reccomend this book highly enough. Five stars is the max, but I can say, of all the books I have read, no other book has inspired me more in my readings, and no other book I treasure more than this one. I say, the earlier edition of this book may have better prints and color, but its not the pictures that matter completely (however nice they are), its what the animators pass on to another animator. Inspiration for motivation and creativity.
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By A Customer on November 16, 1999
Format: Hardcover
It's a great book loaded with pertinent information for animators. Still, this edition is a reprint of a COPY of the original, as the negatives for the artwork collected in the original edition were lost. Thus, the current edition has extremely poor color quality.
11 Comments 83 of 88 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover
I have, for several years, been a member of various computer animation lists, and that's where I'm coming from with this review. This is the one book which has consistently come up on those lists when dealing with general issues (the Principles of Animation, etc), simply because it is the best. It is not the best tutorial book, since it is not written as a tutorial: it is a history of Disney. If you want a tutorial on computer animation, go elsewhere. But that will probably NOT be as much help to you as reading this book, because after reading this, you will be inspired. I think this is why people are so religeously fervent when speaking about it - not because they found it useful for the large number of techniques and tips which are slipped in throughout (though very many of them are out of date or not applicable in the computer animation world), but because the book inspires. I thought it was expensive, but after I bought it and read it the first time, I realised it was cheap at the price. It is gorgeously produced, and filled with colour pics and examples of what it talks about. Worth buying if you are into animation, or if you are interested in the history of Disney.
2 Comments 43 of 44 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you are interested in animation, and want to really understand it then this is the book to get. Thomas and Johnston are fine writers and their love for their art is easilly apparent. It's a long, sometimes exasperating, book on the subject of animation; I'd advise the reader to take their time with this one, and perhaps skip the really technical stuff that may be too much for the average reader.
Whats really inspiring is the dedication all the young artists showed in exploring this new medium, and how Walt Disney's amazing gifts as a leader, visionary, and storyteller kept the "Disney Train" surging ahead even after Disney's death in 1966.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Speaking as someone who started animation awhile back and needed to learn from the best, I found this one book the most helpful. I was turned onto the book from one of the actual Disney animators and we were able to discuss being in the business. It's what he, and most of the others that work there, consider the Bible of Animaton. His words. The book itself is not for a quick read or a nightly read. It's an education and industry guide for the world of movies. As I'm working on any project, you can bet I reference this book a lot.

The book is great for people like myself to read straight up, but I get a kick out of those that say it's dry and boring. The book itself is full of the best wisdoms of the founding fathers of animation. The samples are great and it's full of great behind the scenes photos and stories. I really enjoyed the character sketches and quick animations. Definately not a book to miss if you are interested in getting into animation, both hand-drawn and computer. It applies to both because it teaches you the fundamentals of animaton, the timing, the story, and the overall production. It's a great foundation for anyone wanting to learn the craft.
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Format: Hardcover
poopypants is unbelievably clueless. I first read this book when I was in high school, and it was out of print. The temptation to steal the book was overwhelming! About 8 years ago, it came back into print and I immediately bought it.
If all you're looking for is some hold-my-hand-and-teach-me-how-to-draft-sequential-drawings-book , check out Tony White's book, or Preston Blair's excellent text, or one in the Juvenile section of the library, but if you want to know how to *breathe life into your animation*, this books is a MUST HAVE. Period.
Also check out Richard William's "The Animator's Survival Kit" for a good "sequel" (in a way), and some advanced nuts & bolts stuff.
This is still the single best animation book available, and will be the animation "bible" for years to come. I'm at a loss as to why someone wouldn't be able to glean an amazing amount of wisdom from this book - it confounds me.
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