Author Fraser Maclean's Setting the Scene is a large 260-page book dedicated to animation layout. The detailed writeup and research covers the history of animation, specifically looking at layout, from the early days of hand-drawn animation to the 3D movies of today.
The book is filled with wonderful photos, art and interviews. I find photos of the old equipment fascinating for some of them look like surgical instruments. The art are screenshots of films, storyboards, posters and concept illustrations. It's nostalgic to look at the old designs, such as the endless sun-parched desert Road Runner runs on. In other examples of how layout is used, there are the storyboards for Pixar movies, original background drawing with areas marked out for colouring, etc.
It's a nice tribute to the unsung heroes of film making - the layout crew.. Good layout or background art blend into stories. In a sense, it's a thankless job because the better they are, the more they will go unnoticed by the audience. In this book, you'll get to find out just what goes behind the scenes to creating those backgrounds, the people who are involved and what they use.
This is not a technical book that gives you techniques on creating your own layout. However, you should be able to gleam some ideas and inspiration from the pages of stories.
This book is recommended to animators and people who love animation.
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