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Richard Williams
Publisher: Faber and Faber
(January 2002)
ISBN: 0571212689
Price: S$59.95 (Available in Borders)





Last year saw the biggest number of animations hitting our local cinemas in recent years. With the inclusion of Academy Awards for Best Animated Film just a few years ago and the increasing number of production companies working on animations, it’s safe to say that animation will be remain a popular medium of storytelling for at least a few years to come.

But behind all the fanciful 3-dimension work of art that’s flooding our screens and not matter how advance the animator ‘s technologies gets, the most important aspect of animation is still the very basic foundation of animating. In Richard Williams, the director of animation of “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”’s The Animator’s Survival Kit, it’s all about getting down to basic.

Starting from a seemly trivial thing that some animators do while animating (or even anyone while doing their respective craft such as report /essay writing), Richard Williams recollects on how he tried to shared his choice of music to listen to while animating, resulting in a memorable lesson in concentration while animating (or other form of crafts) that I cant help but agreed to.

It might seem strange and trivial but it’s not. This is just one of the many interesting tidbits of lifelong experience in animation that Richard Williams shared with us in this book. Unless you had those years of working in animation, all this information should proved to be an eye opener for casual readers and extremely helpful for those who are thinking of starting in this field.

Richard Williams’ intention for this book was that it could be used as a handy reference guide that’s clear and straightforward. As a casual reader who wants to know a little more than what’s being offered in the cinemas and with almost no experience in animating, The Animator’s Survival Kit was as easy and interesting book to read.

For example, concept of inbetween and the extreme of animated characters were presented in numerous simplified illustrations that are simple to understand. While it slowly progress to the more intricate details of animation, the same method of explanation remains and even if you were to flip past a few chapters, it’s unlikely you would encounter any difficulties in understanding what that chapter is trying to say.


“Animation is just doing a lot of simple things – One at a time! A lot of really simple things strung together doing one part at a time in a sensible order.
This book is an anatomy course in animation. Just like an anatomy course in life drawings, it shows you how things are put together and how they work. This knowledge frees you to do your own expression.”


If after reading this book makes you want to borrow a copy of “Bambi”, “Jungle Book” or “Who Framed Roger Rabbit”, you are not alone. Going through this book makes one appreciate and respect the art of animation even more. You will know that every simple motion that the animated character does in animation are not that simple after all.

Review by Richard Lim Jr



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This book review is made possible with the kind sponsor of BORDERS


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