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Review of Foundation Flash Cartoon Animation

There are many books about cartoon animation in FlashR. What sets this book apart from the rest is the approach the authors have taken to make this book much more than just another step-by-step book about drawing and animating characters. Foundation Flash Cartoon Animation is for the animator who needs to stretch beyond the mechanics of the Flash tools and perfect the decision-making process necessary to become a productive animator. One of the biggest questions that is answered in this book is when to use Flash and how to use it most efficiently. The next question is what tasks are beyond Flash's capabilities and when to turn to another software such as After EffectsR.

The authors assume that the reader has a basic knowledge of Flash and the principles of animation. Because of this, you will find only a few step-by-step examples. What they do cover thoroughly is every phase of the production process for cartoon animation from planning, storyboards and animatics to post-production and delivery. The approach for this book is to examine working examples which can be downloaded from the publisher's website.

If you have ever created a complex character animation including lip synching and facial expressions, then you know that your character must be divided into a large number of individual animated parts. This is why the authors dedicate a whole chapter to organization and using the Flash library system to build character libraries. As you progress through the process from head comps and onward, the authors show when it is best to draw from scratch and when to use Flash symbols. Storyboards and animatics are next in the production process and the book covers several decisions that must be made such as choosing between traditional, hand-drawn storyboards and the digital method in Flash.

Moving from the planning stages to character creation, the authors discuss the technical and organizational issues such as Flash file structures and project architecture. They take a look at several working examples to give the reader a comprehensive overview of this topic. One of the most helpful aspects of this book is how the authors help you decide when Flash is not enough to get the job done and how to expand Flash's capabilities with plug-ins. They discuss several of their favorites, how to find more on the web and when to make your own.

One of the most important decisions that an animator will need to make is the choice between traditional frame by frame animation and tweening. The authors share their four step process for frame by frame animation and then discuss tweening and how to avoid common mistakes.

I mentioned earlier that the authors discuss the use of a dedicated motion graphic software such as After Effects to take your Flash project to a higher level of quality and sophistication. They discuss some of the advantages to using After Effects for editing and composition such as complex camera movements and 3D effects.

Flash has been plagued by one major drawback since its conception a decade ago and that is the extreme "digital" look of the vector artwork created in Flash. The authors share several tips and suggestions for enhancing your Flash project to achieve a more "hand-drawn" appearance to your animation including line styles and color choices. They also cover the digital equivalents for traditionally hand-drawn special effects such as distortion, drag, fade in/out and blurs.

This book was a joint effort of several authors. Tim Jones is an Emmy Award-winning producer and writer and head of production at ANIMAX Entertainment. Barry J. Kelly is an Emmy Award-winning editor and artist and is also a member of ANIMAX Entertainment. Allan S. Rosson is animation director at ANIMAX Entertainment and has over twenty years experience as an animator. David Wolfe was an animator at ANIMAX Entertainment and is now with Cartoon Network Studios.

Pages: 360 pages
Publisher: friends of ED
Published: Nov 19, 2007
ISBN-10: 1590599128

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This content was written by Diane Cipollo. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Diane Cipollo for details.


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