Thursday, June 12, 2008

Portrait of an Animator, Animated

Almost exactly 5 years ago, I was sent an unexpected birthday gift from my good buddy and soon-to-be-roommate-for-a-year Tim Sormin. Little did I realize how important an asset this gift would be and the critical timing in which I received it. What was this precious tome? Why none other than Richard Williams' Animator's Survival Kit. Tim and I had been "studying" animation in college for 3 years at that point, but the program was in its infancy and somewhat lacking in focus and depth. I had decided to spend the summer off-campus near the college while working a couple part-time web-related jobs affiliated with the school. I had also just got a new dual-processor workstation (sadly the very same I'm typing on right now), a Wacom tablet, and had come across a free version of Plastic Animation Paper - software that emulates traditional animation - so with some extra time on my hands, I was ready to crack open the A.S.K. and start mining the gold. It didn't take long to realize what an amazing find Richard Williams' book was and I yelled at Tim to get his own copy too. When the fall semester began, veteran Disney animation director Hendel Butoy graciously descended upon our humble school to help show us the way... and he brought with him none other than - you guessed it - the Survival Kit. That summer layer of exploration turned out to be the foundation of preparation for my animation reeducation.

Fast-forward to the present and I've come across something that gives me that same feeling of giddyness like standing on the edge of a vast chasm filled with treasure, though now the feeling is gift-wrapped in a warm blanket of nostalgia.

Behold - The Animator's Survival Kit - Animated!

A 16 DVD box set combining Williams' famous animation master class recorded at Blue Sky Studios with over 350 "specially animated examples" of the books' lessons that you can frame-by-frame. Of course the price is pretty steep for your average individual (nearly $1000 US thanks to our crappy economy), but I definitely would want to work at a studio that adds this set to its library. You can pre-order now and get 20% off, but it's not out until Nov 17th. Check out the promotional trailer. Props to Saul Ruiz for posting about this yesterday.

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