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Review: Hollywood 2D Digital Animation - The New Flash Production Revolution

Review: Hollywood 2D Digital Animation - The New Flash Production Revolution

Most Flash books are about the Flash software itself. This one rather tells you how to become an animator, how to produce quality animation, how to do special effects and how to succeed in the animation business. All of this - using Flash as your tool.

TITLE: Hollywood 2D Digital Animation - The New Flash Production Revolution
AUTHORS: by Sandro Corsaro and Clifford J. Parrott
PUBLISHER: Course Technology PTR (2004)
ISBN: 978-1592001705
PAGES: 256 Color
CD: Yes
PRICE: £17.58 UK / $26.39 USA / $39.57 CAN
Click here to order

Let's start this review with a disclaimer. This book is not a new book. It's 4 years old, but it's still good as gold with a few obvious exceptions. We've also did not receive this book from it's publisher, as we do with most all other books we review. This one, we simply found and bought on Amazon as it looked exciting.

A great book for the budding animator


The book is certainly interesting for anyone curious to get into Flash animation. It does not go into details about learning the Flash tool itself, so you'll need another book for that. This book only explains the basics of the timeline, symbols and how to do tweening. That's about it and that's also what makes this a great book despite it's "age". How to do these things in Flash have not changed since the program was created, so it's still very valid.

What this book does really well is explaining how traditional animation principles applies to Flash. The book explains the entire process, from setting up the production pipeline to how to sell the finished product. The book is full of advice in the form of short interviews with industry professionals highlighting subjects covered in the book. The interviews are not just with animators, but also all other professions in a big animation project. Production manager, supervisor, producer, teacher, editor, writer, art director, SFX artist, songwriter and more. These are all great resources in their fields and brings a bunch of useful, real-life experience to the book. That said, the authors certainly have a lot to offer themselves.

Contents


The book starts off with a history chapter on web animation and the next chapter explains the basics of the core animation tools in Flash, the timeline, symbols and tweening. The rest of the book obviously mentions Flash, but only as a tool for achieving your animation. The chapter names really speak for themselves: The Flash production pipeline, Drawing or scanning, From Flash to broadcast and film, Time is money, Strategy of Character design, Camera moves, Special effects, Audio and a closing chapter looking forward.

To describe these chapters in detail is really of no use. They're chock full of good advice and the only snippet we found to be useless is the interview with an IT manager for animation projects. This is a classic book-writing mistake. Never quote hardware specs! It'll be obsolete before the book is published and this book is no exception. It makes for a fun read though. Just in case you did not now, an animator should probably have a Pentium 4 processor, but for most other tasks, a Pentium III with 512Gb RAM will do (very obviously written before Windows Vista...). The Systems Admin also tells you that a 20-40Gb harddrive will do for any animator. Today, you'll get a 750Gb harddrive for about $165 and tomorrow, you'll get even more for less. It's kind of funny that this book that is so un-technical makes this mistake, whereas other more tech-heavy books manage to avoid it completely.

Conclusion


I showed this book to a good friend of mine that works as an animator. He is just finishing off a kids game that contains more than 30 minutes of animation and his first comment when seeing the book was "Man - we should have read this book before starting this project". That kinds of sums up this book. We've never seen a book focusing on this side of Flash and we're really sorry that we did not find it earlier. It's richly illustrated, full color and packed with good advice. The book will be great for anyone doing animation using Flash. It should be on the shelves of any Flash Studio.

 

About Jens C Brynildsen

Jens has been working with Flash since version 3 came out. Since then, he's been an active member of the Flash community. He's created more than a hundred Flash games (thus the name of his blog) but he also creates web/standalone applications, does workshops and other consulting. He loves playing with new technology and he is convinced that the moment you stop learning you die (creatively speaking). Jens is also the Editor of this website.

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