Authors: Steve & Raf Anzovin
3d Toons Creative 3D Design For Cartoonists and Animators is a powerhouse of information that focuses on artistic choices in explaining to its readers how 3D cartoonists reach their goals. As mentioned in the inside flap of the book, “3D cartoons are becoming the hottest thing in Hollywood, and they are also taking over TV.”
The book is written by authors who have an enormous and intimate knowledge of 3D cartoons. Steve Anzovin is the CEO of Anzovin Studio, a computer-generated character animation that he co-founded with his son Raf. Their objective in putting together this book was to deemphasize the teaching of techniques and focus on the “nitty-gritty” inner workings of the creative process.
It is amazing how much effort and talent is required in the making of an animation. Readers are informed how 3D characters and sets are brought to life in cartoons, graphic novels, and computer-animated short films. It thus is more than a “fresh look” at 3D animation but rather a fresh attempt to appreciate the immense creative process that is required.
The examination of this creative process is neatly organized into seven sections that are in turn sub-divided. The authors examine and explore 3DToonstyle, Toon Evolution, Anatomy of a Toon, Animated Toons, Shooting Toons, Toon Media, and 3dToon Gallery.
Each section is prefaced with a succinct overview and thoughtful queries prompting reflection and discussion. For example, when you look at the chapter dealing with toonstyle, readers are asked, what makes a cartoon character? From this point of reference the authors analyze why they look, act, and sound the way they do.
The book does not necessarily have to be read in a particular order and the newcomer to animation as well as the novice can easily open it to any section and garner useful information.
Spectacular and easy to follow illustrations enhance the book’s informative as well as its aesthetic appeal. Each image contains sidebar explanations as to how and why they were created in a particular manner. To illustrate, if you refer to the section pertaining to Cartoony Toons, there is an example of three images that are stripped-down cartoon faces without bodies and we are informed that is all a character needs. As explained, these bodiless characters were designed for medical animation aimed at children of cancer patients.
The final chapter exposes the best of 3D Toon Art. It is here where we have a glance at the work of some of the giants in the field such as Jimmy Maidens, Robert J. Tiess, Yves Dalbiez, Sebastian Schoellhammer, Avalanche Software (Video Game Animation), Victor Navone, David Maas & Tatjana Herrmann-Maas, Shaun Freeman, Michael Sormann, Reel FX Creative Studios, and Patrick Beaulieu.
As well as explaining at appropriate points within the various sections’ key concepts, the authors provide a glossary of quick definitions of the 3D Toon Terms used in the book, as well as suggestions for further reading. There is also a very helpful index.
Fledgling 3D animators, students, dreamers, and those who want to learn more about this fascinating topic will have a great deal of fun with this accessible book. It will most certainly become part of the required reading of many a course on animation, as it will prove to be quite an asset.
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