Book Review: Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation

This book is an invaluable resource for any production designer. It talks about how to go about setting the style and look for animation.

This is a very practical book. While it talks on the production design process, it provides tons of examples from Disney's archive to support design concepts. There are many useful lessons, such as film analysis, visual development and research, camera rules, composition, staging and others.

There are also dedicated chapters to films where Hans Bacher talks specifically on how production design was done.

I bought this book primarily for the art but I've realised that there's more to all the art displayed. Many of the storyboards, while lacking details are visually strong because of the composition.

Every example included in the book serves to emphasis design concepts. The clear and simple explanation provides another perspective into looking at storyboards, into understanding what the scene means and how it contributes to the story.

This book is well worth the money, actually not just to production designers, but for every artist. The lessons taught are universal and can be applied in different fields if it's related to art.

Let me end with a quote from Andrea Deja, the Supervising Animator of Walt Disney Studios:

When it comes to color, composition and design, Hans is in a class by himself. Look through the pages of Dream Worlds and be inspired by Han's high standards and his art. It is a feast for the eyes.

Here's the list of chapters:

  • Film Analysis
  • Beauty and the Beast
  • Visual Development and Research
  • Aladdin
  • Inspiration
  • Camera Rules
  • The Lion King
  • Composition
  • Hercules
  • Staging and Formats
  • Mulan
  • Rhythm and Style Variety
  • Lilo and Stitch
  • Value and Color
  • Brother Bear
  • Unfinished Disney Projects
  • Own Projects
  • The Masters — Bambi

Dream Worlds: Production Design for Animation is available at Amazon (US | CA | UK | DE | FR | IT | JP | CN) and USBook Depository

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