Monday, December 26, 2016

BOOK REPORT: The Lego Animation Book

See The Lego Animation Book on Amazon the recent Chicago Toy and Game Expo, I ended up chatting with one of the authors of a new book that can change a kid's ability to think, create, and imagine.

 It's a book called The LEGO Animation Book, and it teaches kids (in a book format, obviously) ALMOST everything they need to know about creating LEGO Movies.

The authors, David Pagano and David Pickett have impressive LEGO resumes. Together they run a LEGO animation blog THE SET BUMP  Pagano has his own LEGO production studio Paganomation, and his work has appeared in places like the Wall Street Journal, BrickJournal, and of course, Youtube.  His co-author is the filmmaker behind Brick 101 and Nightly News at Nine.

Here's a sample of each of their works (Pagano first, then Pickett)

Really fun right?

In the book, they've gathered together some of their best tricks, secrets, and best practices to be a LEGO Animator.  Some of the topics they cover are

  • Building a set so that it is modular and easy to re-use
  • How to work in different scales
  • Best ways to light a tiny set
  • How to storyboard
  • shot selection and composition.
  • What to look for in software and hardware for recording
  • Post-production

Sample page on building a one room set.
The book is full color, 200+ pages, and while suitable for kids, has enough quality information that adult/parent LEGO hobbyists will learn something as well.  There's a lot of technical detail, including a brick-by-brick instruction to build a larger scale puppet that you can reuse again and again, and instructions on how to use spreadsheets to plan out your animations.

More than being easy to read, well-written, and filled with good intel (all of it true), what I really like about this book is the clear zeal that the authors have and communicate about their art form.  Their passion and love of both creating stuff and the tools with which they create stuff is evident on just about every page.

Sample page on animating a walk
 The book doesn't dwell too much on how to get ideas for your creations, although it does talk about brainstorming and improvising/playing as methods.  It also details the incredible amount of work that goes into creating a couple of minutes of very good animation.

 Let's be clear, this book is not going to suddenly make your kid a genius animator.  The only thing that will do that is working his or her tail off, and failing a bunch of times before coming up with something amazing.

What the book will do is give him/her the tools and information to make them a better writer and animator, a bunch of tricks and ideas so they don't make easy mistakes and get discouraged before they can get good at it, and most importantly, show them examples of what is possible if they dedicate themselves to their work.

And really, what more can you ask for in a book like this?

No comments: