Thursday, June 28, 2012

Inside Studio Ghibli

Studio Ghibli is a landmark in Animation production history.

The genius of the acclaimed Japanese animator-director, Hayo Miyazaki has produced such awe inspiring films such as Spirited AwayHowl's Moving Castle and NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind and several others in this most respected Studio.

One such movie was the hugely successful Princess Mononoke, released in 1997. One often highlighted aspect of Miyasaki is the grandeur and scale that he brings to the movies, with lavish backgrounds, with breath taking details, be it the vast green foliage, or the detailed accessories of the characters, or the personality of the individuals, each one was taken to new heights. One can feel and indulge in the art and style of Japanese water colorists and print makers, brought to life in this 20th century medium.

This master animation film maker has worked across generations of Japanese animators, his early works include the hugely successful series Heidi, Girl of the Alps

For those of us who badly wanted to know the life inside this genius's studio, and his working methods, there is a special treat.

The Backstage of Princess Mononoke consists of 3 documentary series directed by Toshio URATANI, who rolled a small VCR for overall of 300 hours (before editing of course!) during his 2-year reporting of Studio Ghibli and its struggles in making the phenomenal animation film Princess Mononoke.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

So you want to become an Animator : A Book List

Animation is an Art as well as a Craft. The beginner should approach it more as a Craft and focus on the skills which have to be (1) Learnt and (2) Practiced, and then look at it as an Art form.

After sifting through 100s of books on the subject, here is a distilled list.

The Bare Necessities

If you are beginning, this is all you really need for quite a long time(there can be other such sets, but this one *will work*). Resisting to get more books would well serve the purpose at this stage.
Read every single page of these books, study every single drawing of the book, re-read, copy the drawings, draw several times, workout the exercises. This will provide hundreds of hours of engaging learning, and help grow as an animator. No matter what people might say, an ability to draw is a bare necessity for an animator. And contrary to popular belief, it is not that hard to draw.

Drawing: Natural way to Draw : (Focus on Gesture, Modeled Drawing)

An Expanded Collection
*After* exhausting all that is there in the essential books, one can expand on the learning and understanding, by this set of fine books. Again, there are more, but this should be a very complete collection, for quite a long while, as an intermediate to advanced learner of animation.

Prestain Blair Cartoon Animation*
Tony White The Animator's Workbook*
Richard Williams Animators Survival Toolkit
Timing for Animation
Tezuka School of Animation Vol1 and Vol2
Eric Goldberg Character Animation

Vilppu Drawing manual*
Natural way to Draw : Gesture, Modeled Drawing*
Walt Reed The Figure: The Classic Approach to Drawing & Construction
Jack Hamm Cartooning the Head and Figure
Vilppu Animal Drawing
Vilppu Sketching on Location
Jack Hamm Drawing Animals
Jack Hamm Landscape

Illusion of Life
Burne Hogarth
Famous Artists Course : Lessons on Human Figure & Animals
Elemental Magic Vol1 & Vol2
Facial Expression Faigin
Drawn to Life : Stanchfield

Digicel Flip Book*
Blender (3D)
ToonBoom (2D)
Maya (3D)