I’ve literally just turned the very last page of Setting The Scene by Fraser MacLean and although my brain may be suffering information overload, I also feel satisfied that i’ve just read one the definitive books on the subject of animation. A book that concentrates specifically on the discipline of layout design (and its inevitable merge with other studio departments), but also serves as a comprehensive history of the art form, detailing the earliest days of pioneers like Windsor MacCay to the very latest CG, 3D and computer game production.
MacLean garners interviews from some of the industries most influential patrons including Don Bluth, Brad Bird and Roy Naisbitt (The American Tale, The Iron Giant & Roger Rabbit) and presents a valuable bank of knowledge and technique that was developed to bring these classic animated shorts & feature-length movies to the world. From artistic concepts such as light, composition and staging, to modern technical achievements and the possibilities that the future might bring. Everything appears to be covered and thus proves the book’s most salient point; that whilst often overlooked or misunderstood, layout design is in everything.
Setting The Scene; The Art and Evolution of Animation Layout – By Fraser MacLean
Hardback 272 pages
28.6 x 24.8 x 2.8 cm
Something a bit lighter, but still on the subject of animation is Alive Character Design, by Haitao Su. which offers a guide to designing effective characters such as your typical butch hero, bad guy (or girl), alien and robot. Haitao takes the reader through his influences, software choices and goes on to describe the visual characteristics needed to best convey an assortment of character archetypes. There’s plenty of inspirational work on show including contributions from Dean Yeagle (Playboy), but overall it feel’s a little light on process and drawing technique which makes this a book suited for beginner to mid-level students only.
Alive Character Design: For Games, Animation and Film – By Haitao Su
Paperback 176 pages
21.2 x 27.5 x 1.7 cm