From the publisher:
"It's a great world. Jump in now." With these words, veteran Disney Animation Studios Producer Don Hahn invites a future generation of aspiring artists and creators to join in "the magic, wonder, and illusion" of animated filmmaking. In The Alchemy of Animation : Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age, Hahn explores this amazing craft, presenting an insider's view of the step-by-step process, beginning with the idea and leading to the fully realized film.
With films such as Beauty and the Beast and The Lion King to his credit, animation is something about wich Hahn knows a thing or two. He draws from his own rich experience, as well as upon the beloved treasures from more than eighty years of Disney animated film history and explains the basic procedure and specific roles of the key creative personnel - the directors, story artists, songwriters, and animators, among others - who each play an integral role in the production of an animated feature.
The book focuses on the three main animation techniques of the modern area. Beginning with the current predominant style of computer-generated animation, Hahn discusses the particular contributions of a new generation of digital craftspeople - modelers, riggers, technical directors, and software developers - while playing special attention to the creative relationship between technique and art.
The art, of course, remains the heart of successful filmmaking and hearkens back to the traditional form of animation used to create such Disney classics as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, as well as the upcoming The Princess and the Frog. In his section on the hand-drawn, or 2-D, method, Hahn adds to his thoughts on the importance of visual development, layout and planning, art direction, and the revered craft of animating the widest possible range of emotions with a mere pencil.
Stop-motion animation is the third technique reviewed by Hahn and is noted for being among the oldest methods used in filmmaking. While many of the development stages of stop-motion are similar to those for the computer-generated and hand-drawn films, production and filming are actually closer to that of a live-action movie. Set design, puppets and costumes, makeup and wardrobe, lightning, and cameras are among the primary subjects of this section, which focuses on Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas, one of the most acclaimed examples of this challenging genre.
Filled with more than 400 illustrations and photographs, The Alchemy of Animation : Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age is both a guided tour of the process of animated filmmaking and a meditation on what inspires vast teams of artists and creators to come together and build worlds out of their dreams. "Life is motion," writes Hahn. "They go together. It's no surprise that early human beings almost always tried to capture a sense of motion in their art... Animation is the highest form of this ancient, almost genetic desire to bring things to life - to be the creator of amazing worlds populated by amazing beings."