by Patrick Beaulieu
Animation Insiders – Workflow Edition (Free ebook)
In a nutshell
This book is a compilation of 13 essays from 13 animators who explain their animation workflow.
“Do not force yourself to follow a particular procedure. Just do what inspires you – it’s as simple as that!” – Pablo Navarro
“Showing humility and being eager to learn from everyone around you is an important skill. It’s your job to seek out help and help others.” – Anthea Kerou
“If you make mistakes, do your best to learn from them. And then go out and approach your next shot with all the ‘vim and vigour’ it deserves! Stay humble and stay hungry!” – Matt Strangio
Seeing as this is a free ebook download, I don’t think you can go far wrong! I actually paid for the paperback book, as the ebook wasn’t available at the time but I do still like to read real books.
I think the author/editor of the book asked the animators for a biography and thoughts on workflow and then put in whatever the animators wrote, because the the chapters differ hugely – not just in length, but in content! The biographies vary from a single paragraph to the 7 page life story of Pablo Navarro. (That is not a complaint – he has had some very interesting experiences, and there is some good advice in there!). And then the workflow advice varies from a double page of bullet points, to Pablo’s 9 pages of detailed thoughts on workflow, plus a 4 page analysis of the working partnership and methods for a short film that he worked on with Reno Armanet. The majority of chapters contain about a page of biography plus 2-5 pages of workflow methods.
This leads to quite an inconsistent book in terms of reading experience, but at the same time, it’s nice to hear the distinct personalities and unique voices of each of the animators. They have each written the essays personally, and in the style that they are most comfortable, or feel will convey the information most efficiently. So while the book doesn’t feel particularly cohesive, it is nice to get such a range of perspectives, and I imagine that the different styles will appeal to different readers. Some people prefer short, concise bullet points, while others enjoy reading in depth philosophies. There is also some nice artwork included in the book, including character designs and thumbnails. For me, I really enjoyed the longer, detailed chapters with full paragraphs of thoughts, philosophies and lessons that came from Pablo Navarro and Reno Armanet. I also found the chapters by Jason Schleifer and Matt Strangio very helpful. They both go through their process, step by step, explaining each step in detail. There is something to be learned from all of the chapters, but those are the ones that stood out for me.
My only real complaint with this book is that there is a noticeable number of spelling and grammatical errors, which I found disappointing (especially as I paid full price for it!). I will admit to being a bit of a grammar/spelling pedant, but I think that most people will notice a lot of these. The first occurs on the first page, of the first essay, in the large highlighted quote! And there are plenty scattered throughout, which I feel lets down the book overall and for me interrupts the flow of reading. It feels like the production of the book was rushed, and the lack of attention to detail makes it feel quite unprofessional. Which is a real shame because I know that the animators involved in this book are anything but unprofessional, and have excellent attention to detail!
However, dubious editing aside, there is a lot of great information in this book, and many helpful tips that you can adapt to your own workflow.
It’s free! Download it here.
1 Introduction (from Andrew Gordon)
2 Mike Nguyen
3 Emile Ghorayeb
4 Pablo Navarro
5 Jason Ryan
6 Jason Martinsen
7 Ana Maria Alvarado
8 Reno Armanent
9 Jason Schleifer
10 Pedro Blumenbaum
11 Anthea Kerou
12 Gabriele Pennacchioli
13 Matt Strangio
14 Victor Navone