September 09, 2005

Creating 3-D Animation by Peter Lord and Brian Sibley

3danimation.jpgI was looking at the photography section in the library and the subtitle of this bright yellow book caught my eye: "The Aardman Book of Filmmaking". I pulled it down and sure enough, Wallace and Gromit grace the cover in all their toothy plasticine glory. It's a neat book. It starts off with an extensive illustrated history of stop-action animation from the early days of Edward Muybridge's motion studies up through George Pal and Ray Harryhausen and all the rest. There are lots of names covered from all around the world showing that animation isn't just Disney. And if the various denizens of the Aardman studios get a bit more coverage than anyone else, well, they did write the book, after all.

The rest of the book has purely practical chapters about basic equipment, simple technique, modelmaking, set design, animation and performance, and finally putting it all together to make a film. Each chapter is generously illustrated with examples from Aardman films and these illustrations make the book worthwhile reading even if you have no intention of doing your own animation. It's a fascinating glimpse behind the scenes of their wonderful films, mostly the Wallace and Gromit shows, but also the earlier stuff and a couple of peeks at Chicken Run which was in production as the book was being written. But even if you have no intention of doing your own animation going in, you'll surely be tempted by the time you finish.

The emphasis is, predictably, on film and model stop-action work. Even so, there's enough stuff in here about animation in general that any aspiring animator is sure to pick up a few useful tips.

Posted by jeffy at September 9, 2005 10:01 PM

Hey, I have that book!

Posted by: tara at September 14, 2005 07:18 PM