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The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation Hardcover – October 5, 1995
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From Library Journal
Thomas and Johnston, two of Disney's original animators, here give the inside scoop on how the studio created the works that have charmed the world. "The text is ambitious," said LJ's reviewer (LJ 12/15/81). The "authors simultaneously give a history of Disney animation and explain the processes involved in clear, nontechnical terms." Along with the splendid text are dozens of color and black-and-white photographs and illustrations. A "magnificent volume" that remains "essential for film collections and a feast for the most casual peruser."
Copyright 1996 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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I read this for the history with no intention of becoming an animator. However my doodles have improved a lot since I've been reading this.
I didn’t grow up with Disney movies. When I was a kid in the 70’s Disney was in kind of a slump with their animated films. I even remember reading something somewhere about how they would never get back the old magic. But I was still affected by Disney. I was in their “Record Club” for a short while. We also somehow had little plastic Disney character figures to play with (Kids - this was before Wal-Mart and China and the Internet) I still got to see Disney Illustrations everywhere and imagine the movies that were so famous in our culture.
Then later when Disney got it’s magic back (after this book was written) I went out on a date with a girl to see Beauty and the Beast. And then got married to that girl and we lived happily ever after. And we had kids that grew up with Disney on video. So I got to see what I missed. Thank you Disney you have made my life a dream come true! Ok it wasn’t all you.
Anyway about the book . . . It’s great history. Walt Disney doesn’t actually invent anything . . . but his workers do and he creates a whole new industry and world looking for magic . . . that “golden moment” that takes an audience to another place and leaves them feeling good. The book is extremely well written, wonderfully illustrated . . . but will cost you part of your life to read word for word.
I think the lessons learned in animating are good lessons for life. Look for what is inspirational and moving. Creative teamwork can bring results no one imagined. Keep moving, and keep people engaged. Make something beautiful that people feel a part of. The character and the story are the driving and meaningful factors.
So I feel happy and sad. Sad because maybe deep down I thought there was some real magic in Disney. Happy though, that the magic they were going for was after all, life. And life is pretty special.
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.
As I grew older I was to learn that Pinnochio, along with Bambi, is regarded as among the very best, if not THE best of Disney animation. I have both these films on DVD, and any law abiding animation fan shouldn't be without them.
Nor should any animation nut be without this book. This is a most comprehensive, colourfully illustrated document of the why's and wherefore's of Disney animation.
While it goes into considerable detail, it is strictly speaking not a manual as such.
It is more designed as an insight into the mysteries of animation for the lay person, with more than enough to inspire and inform any potential animator. It covers the various aspects of the animation process, and the history of Disney animation. It is accompanied by ooddles, and oodles of full page colour photos, reproductions of animation sequences of famous Disney characters, diagrams, sections on each of the main Disney animators, and hilarious caricatures that animators did of each other.
This book is simply a "must have" for any Disney animation fan, or any animation fan period.
I am thrilled to have this book. It arrived in record time too, and well packaged.
Do yourself a favour, and get this. You'e GOT TO HAVE IT!
You won't be disappointed.