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The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age Paperback – Oct 7 2008


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The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age + The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 144 pages
  • Publisher: Disney Editions; 3 edition (Oct. 7 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1423104765
  • ISBN-13: 978-1423104766
  • Product Dimensions: 21.9 x 1 x 27.9 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 612 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #357,644 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author


Don Hahn's name is synonymous with some of the most critically acclaimed animated motion pictures of this generation, including The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast, (the first animated film ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture (and before the Best Animated Film category was established). He was also the associate producer for Who Framed Roger Rabbit, the groundbreaking 1988 film that pioneered new techniques for combining animation and live-action. His other film credits include Fantasia/2000 and Atlantis. He is currently at work on his next Disney animated film.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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By Parka HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on April 4 2009
Format: Paperback
Length: 0:16 Mins
This book is like a pass that will give you access to a tour in an animation studio. The tour guide here is Don Hahn, who has been in the animation industry for years, directing some popular movies like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, etc.

Don Hahn brings us down to the production floor, visiting every department, talking about the people and their role in movie production. You may have seen many making-of videos from DVDs but this book is the one stop source to the introduction to animation.

The book introduces the process of animation from idea creation to the ending post production work. It looks at three forms of animation that exist today and talks about how they are created. They are the computer-generated, 2D hand-drawn and stop-motion production.

Included concept art, sketches, set photos, sculptures, storyboards, 3D renders and some discarded ideas are included. This is like walking along studio corridors looking at all the art pinned on the boards.

The roles and responsibilities of every crew working on the film is explained. In a sort of way, it's also a guide to finding what kind of jobs are available in the animation industry. For the longest time, I've been trying to find out what a clean-up artist does and now I know, which is to "clean up" characters making sure they are consistent in style.

For people interested in the animation industry or how animated movies are made, this book provides a very good introductory background.

There are more pictures of the book on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 15 reviews
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
Just like going on an animation studio tour April 4 2009
By Parka - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is like a pass that will give you access to a tour in an animation studio. The tour guide here is Don Hahn, who has been in the animation industry for years, directing some popular movies like The Lion King, Beauty and the Beast, etc.

Don Hahn brings us down to the production floor, visiting every department, talking about the people and their role in movie production. You may have seen many making-of videos from DVDs but this book is the one stop source to the introduction to animation.

The book introduces the process of animation from idea creation to the ending post production work. It looks at three forms of animation that exist today and talks about how they are created. They are the computer-generated, 2D hand-drawn and stop-motion production.

Included concept art, sketches, set photos, sculptures, storyboards, 3D renders and some discarded ideas are included. This is like walking along studio corridors looking at all the art pinned on the boards.

The roles and responsibilities of every crew working on the film is explained. In a sort of way, it's also a guide to finding what kind of jobs are available in the animation industry. For the longest time, I've been trying to find out what a clean-up artist does and now I know, which is to "clean up" characters making sure they are consistent in style.

For people interested in the animation industry or how animated movies are made, this book provides a very good introductory background.

(More pictures are available on my blog. Just visit my Amazon profile for the link.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
So that's how they do it! Oct. 8 2008
By Gary Gisel - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I've long been a fan of animated movies, enjoying the story and the art but also being fascinated by what it must take to get one of these movies from concept to the screen.
The Alchemy of Animation does a great job of pulling back the curtain and explaining the process.

This book would be well worth the price for the plethora of pictures alone. It includes images from all stages of the process from initial concept through the final versions used in the movies. While that is a great reason to buy the book, it isn't the best part. The book is full of insight and information about animation. In particular I appreciated the focus on the story as the key element, regardless of the art form chosen and the way that the differences and similarities between traditional animation, stop motion and computer animation are highlighted.

If you are a fan of animation, or are looking for a great gift to give someone who is a fan I strongly recommend that you pick up a copy of this book.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Required for an animation class Aug. 15 2013
By GB4711 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Required for a college animation class and was very helpful and useful time and time again. Great to retain as a reference guide as well.
A Fantastic Animation Title for the Beginner and Enthusiast Dec 10 2010
By George H. Taylor Jr. - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The Alchemy of Animation: Making an Animated Film in the Modern Age by Don Hahn. 144 p. 2008.

Don Hahn is heralded for his animation production work at Disney: The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast. He is also the first producer of an animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award (Beauty and the Beast). Hahn started his animation career at Disney under the tutelage of Wolfgang Reitherman, one of Walt's Nine Old Men. He is currently at Disney working on his next animated feature.

I wasn't sure what I would find between the covers of this book, at first. Due to the subtitle, I inferred that it would be similar to The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation (Thomas and Johnston)--the seminal work on animation. Hahn's book is a quarter the size of Thomas and Johnston's work; it really acts as a supplement, an animation Cliff's Notes and an update to The Illusion of Life.

Hahn takes us through the stages of creating an animated film, whether is is hand drawn, computer-generated or stop-motion. The principles outlined are the basics for creating an animated film and can be used as an animation primer. The focus is creating a film using today's standards and the book reflects that. A majority of the text (and lavish illustrations) centers on digital technology--not to the exclusion of the other arts, but since CGI has become so popular. Many of the jobs and duties in CGI are unique to that medium.

Another interesting take, is that Hahn has created a work that can be used by people interested in animation as a career. He covers almost every position in the hierarchy and offers details about their duties and general work. (Ever want to be a Look Development Artist?) The only information Hahn doesn't provide is a link to a pay scale and a road map to making it big. Hahn is able to break down each job and explain it in layman's terms. If you have a youngster interested in the field of animation, this title is for them.

Animation enthusiasts will relish the concept illustrations and artwork from all stages of animation. Hahn includes anecdotes from Disney animators young and old. The book has three major divisions: Act One (looking at the production team, the story and the major steps of every animated film); Act Two (the differences in production for 2D hand drawn, CGI and Stop-Motion); and Act Three (marketing, roll out and post-production). Hahn also includes a fantastic glossary and bibliography for additional reading. He treats the book just like an animated film and builds the story, layer upon layer.

Bottom Line: If you have any interest in animation or animated films, you will love this book. If you want to be part of the animation field, you need to own this book. It is a fairly straightforward look at creating an animated film with today's technology and work processes. Hahn's passion for animation shines and it is evident in The Alchemy of Animation.

Originally appeared at: [...]
Nice book, great price. Jan. 30 2009
By eRRaTiC - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is beautifully illustrated throughout. It breaks down the creation of animation and helps you understand the entire process and how difficult it becomes. It uses the pictures to show you the process as you read through the book. It covers movies as old as Snow White to as new as the Cars. The book has a quality feel to it as well. For less than $14, this is definitely a great buy.


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