The Animator's Survival Kit: A Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion and Internet Animators

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The definitive book on animation, from the Academy Award-winning animator behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Animation is one of the hottest areas of filmmaking today — and the master animator who bridges the old generation and the new is Richard Williams. During his more than forty years in the business, Williams has been one of the true innovators, winning three Academy Awards and serving as the link between Disney's golden age of animation by hand and the new computer animation exemplified by Toy Story.

Perhaps even more important, though, has been his dedication in passing along his knowledge to a new generation of animators so that they in turn could push the medium in new directions. In this book, based on his sold-out master classes in the United States and across Europe, Williams provides the underlying principles of animation that every animator — from beginner to expert, classic animator to computer animation whiz — needs. Urging his readers to "invent but be believable," he illustrates his points with hundreds of drawings, distilling the secrets of the masters into a working system in order to create a book that will become the standard work on all forms of animation for professionals, students, and fans.

Richard Williams has won more than 250 international awards for his animation. He currently lives in Wales.

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Editorial Reviews

New York Times
Williams is miles ahead of anyone in the world of animation.
From the Publisher
"Arguably the best animator working in the field today."—Hollywood Reporter

"Richard is a genius."—Robert Zemeckis (director, Back to the Future, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Forrest Gump)

"Probably one of the most respected draftsmen in the world."—Los Angeles TV Times

"Williams is miles ahead of anyone in the world of animation."—New York Times

"Voted by peers as 'The Animator's Animator'."—Observer

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780571202287
  • Publisher: Faber and Faber
  • Publication date: 1/7/2002
  • Edition description: First Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 9.53 (w) x 11.02 (h) x 0.95 (d)

Meet the Author

Richard Williams is best known as the Director of Animation and designer of the new characters for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, for which he won two Academy Awards including a Special Achievement Award.

Canadian-born Williams has won three US Academy Awards, three British Academy Awards, and an Emmy among 246 international awards— starting with his first film The Little Island in 1958.

Williams has also animated title sequences for Return of the Pink Panther, The Pink Panther Strikes Again, What's New Pussycat, Casino Royale and linking sequences for The Charge of the Light Brigade, as well as countless prize-winning commercials.

In 1990 he was voted by his peers as "The Animator's Animator," and in 1995 he started giving the Richard Williams Animation Masterclasses for professionals and students worldwide in London, Hollywood, New York, San Francisco, Vancouver, Sydney, Hong Kong, France and Denmark.

He lives with his family in Wales and works as an independent film-maker.

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Table of Contents

Why This Book? 1
Drawing in Time 11
Time to Draw 23
It's All in the Timing and the Spacing 35
Lesson 1 41
Advancing Backwards to 1940 46
History of the Chart and Inbetween 47
Extremes and Breakdowns 48
Keys 57
Three Ways to Animate 61
Testing, Testing, Testing 68
The X-Sheet 70
Came the Dawn... 75
The Best Numbering System 76
The Great Ones and Twos Battle 78
The Top and Bottom Pegs Battle 80
More on Spacing 84
Classic Inbetween Mistakes 88
Watch Your Arcs 90
Getting More Movement Within the Mass 92
The Elongated Inbetween 96
The Major Beginner's Mistake 99
The 'Ruff' Approach 99
How Much Do We Leave To The Assistant? 101
Take The Long Short Cut 101
Walks 102
Getting the Weight 106
Set the Tempo 109
The Passing Position or Breakdown 111
Two Ways to Plan a Walk 115
The Double Bounce 118
Loosening it Up 120
Digging Deeper into Walks 128
There's Nothing Like Trying It 135
The Heel 136
Foot Action 136
Normal Walk Spacing 142
Weight Shift 146
The Belt Line 147
Arm Movements 148
Counteraction 156
The Recipe 163
Sneaks 167
The Tip Toe Sneak 173
Runs, Jumps and Skips 176
The 4 Drawing Formula Run 189
The 3 Drawing Run 192
The 2 Drawing Run 195
The Recipe 200
Run, Jump, Skip and Leap 201
Skips 209
Jumps 212
Weight on a Jump 213
Flexibility 217
The Breakdown 218
Simple Overlap 223
Overlapping Action 226
Simple Counteraction 230
Breaking Joints to Give Flexibility 231
Flexibility in the Face 246
Overlapping Action in the Face 249
Instant Read - Profiles for Readability 251
Weight 256
Pressure and Weight 262
How Much Effort Do We Have to Expend? 264
Dancing 269
Rules of Thumb On Synchronising Action 272
Anticipation 273
Surprise Anticipations 282
Invisible Anticipations 283
Takes and Accents 285
A Hard Accent Bounces Back 295
A Soft Accent continues 295
Timing, Staggers, Wave and Whip 297
Stagger Timings 297
The Side to Side Vibration Formula 299
Whip Action 301
Wave Action 301
Dialogue 304
Phrasing 305
Picture and Sound Sync 310
Accents 311
Attitude 314
The Secret 314
Acting 315
Change of Expression 320
Look for the Contrast 321
An Acting Point 323
Body Language 324
Symmetry or 'Twinning' 324
Steal It! 325
Eyes 325
Animal Action 327
Live Action Reference 328
Basic Animal Walk Pattern 330
Directing 333
The Brief 334
The Leica Reel 334
Separate the Characters 334
Best Foot Forward 335
Casting Animators 335
Making Changes 335
'Say! Say!' 335
Voice Recording 335
Hook Ups 335
Research 335
Editing 335
Believe in Your Material 335
Review 338
The Procedure 338
The Ingredients 339
Acknowledgements 342
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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 6 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 6 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 29, 2009

    more from this reviewer


    I'm an animation student and recognized this book from upperclassmen friends. It's probably the most helpful animation book, which is no surprised considering who wrote it. It would make a great gift for animation students or animation buffs. The illustrations are clear and go hand to hand perfectly with the text for a complete understanding. This book alone won't teach animation, it's more as a helping hand with a professor.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted January 29, 2012

    more from this reviewer

    Excellent Book

    Used this in my Art School. A must have. Only, make sure when you buy it from here you get the disk thats supposed to come with it. Mine came sans and these folks would not send me a replacement.
    Otherwise, Get it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2015

    Took 5 weeks and they needed another 30 days to get back to me o

    Took 5 weeks and they needed another 30 days to get back to me on delivering the book when they said they offered it. Not going to get it anymore. Horrible service, watch out before buying. Seriously..

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 21, 2004

    Best of the Best

    This book has been reccomended by the top Flash artists in the net. It has been said that this is a very excellent book for any type of animator, any level.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 24, 2010

    No text was provided for this review.

  • Anonymous

    Posted January 13, 2011

    No text was provided for this review.

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