by Andrew Selby


Animation (Amazon)

N.B. Animation Mentor students can get a 35% discount on the Publisher’s website by registering for a Student Account at checkout.  (According to this Animation Mentor blogpost.)

In a nutshell

This book gives a thorough overview of animation, and everything that goes into it.  It starts with the history of the artform, continues through the different stages of animation production, and finishes with advice on getting started in the industry



Key quotes

“…animation proves that it is a medium that has the ability to entertain, inform, educate and inspire.”

“Be committed, enthusiastic and capable, accept others’ ideas and offer some of your own in the spirit of professional teamwork and an ethos of collective ambition.”

“Animation needs new pioneers: those who can bring their talents, questions and answers to the field, examining, challenging and redefining the boundaries of the medium and thereby encouraging a whole new audience to become enthralled by the wonders of the form.”

My thoughts

When I read the description of this book as being “for students”, I wrongly assumed that the information contained within would probably be mostly stuff I would already know – a general overview of animation aimed at people who didn’t know a great deal about it.  As soon as I looked at the detailed contents page however (see below), I realised that it covered a lot more than I was expecting.  Once I began reading, I realised that the content was actually quite detailed, and contained a lot of information that was new to me, or that I only had a very vague idea about.

This book is very thorough, and despite not being a huge book, it packs in a lot of information.  In the introduction a variety of different uses for animation are looked at – including scientific and medical – not just entertainment.  The main part of the book covers the different stages of production from planning and research, through to distribution and marketing.  The final chapter looks at how to get started in the industry.  Although a lot of different aspects of production are mentioned, they are always explained to a decent extent – whether it’s looking at equipment or the merits of doodling.  12 pages are dedicated to stop motion animation – sand and oil-paint techniques, as well as armatures and claymation.  An entire chapter is dedicated to sound, which is of vital importance in creating a world for the audience to believe in, but is a subject that I have not really read, or thought, very much about.  Although a number of components of the production process are common to any kind of filmmaking, animation is always the main focus.  So it gives a really good overview of what goes into creating a film, but always makes sure the information is relevant from an animator’s perspective.  There’s a glossary at the back, as well as a “further reading” list.

There is a huge variety of examples and stills from animated films throughout the book, as well as mention of a number of different studios – from the large to the small.  This is great as I’m sure there’ll be films and/or studios that you’ve not heard of before that interest you, which you can then go and find out more about.  I really enjoyed the variety – it’s great to see a range of international films used in examples, and to see some of the smaller studios get a mention.

There are text panels throughout the book which give helpful information – glossary terms, or an explanation of different roles.  Often there are a checklists for that stage of production – lists of places that could be useful in research, or a list of questions you should have the answers to before you move on to the next stage of production.  It’s these elements that I feel elevate this book to being a useful reference, as well as a general overview of the animation processes.

I think this is a great book for anyone wanting to know more about the animation pipeline.



The significance of animation
The defining principles of animation
The animation pipeline
About this book
An animation timeline

Pre-production – Planning and Scriptwriting

The animation pipeline in pre-production
The vocabulary and language of animation
Approaches to scriptwriting
Genre in animation
Script development
Analysing a script

Pre-production – Concepts, Ideas and Research

Concepts and ideasResearch

Pre-production – Development

The art of storyboarding
Style guides
Layouts and scenes
Development drawings
Character design

Pre-production – Sound

Understanding sound
The importance and use of sound
Stems of sound
The working sound studio


The animation pipeline in production
Introduction to basic techniques
Cel animation and traditional 2D processes
Stop-motion animation
3D computer-generated images
Unorthodox animation
Sound in production


The animation pipeline in post-production
Preparing the production
Sound in post-productionRelease and distribution

Animated Futures

Education, knowledge and understanding
Skills for future employment
Gaining experience
Opportunities, applications and interviews
Making it!

Further reading

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