Basics Animation: Stop-motion by Barry Purves book review

        Category: Blog Puppet animation Technique | Article posted on: July 24, 2010

Oscar and BAFTA-nominated animation director Barry Purves has written a book that teaches the skills required to develop as a creative stop-motion animator or articulated puppet maker. Basics Animation: Stop-motion explores how all the elements of film-making camera work, design, colour, lighting, editing, music and storytelling come together to create animation.

Barry Purves has packed the book with tips and suggestions to help you get the most out of your own stopmotion films, accompanied by full-colour illustrations and case studies demonstrating how film-making masters through the years have used it in feature films, short films and TV series. Animation students will learn to use and exploit the particular types of movement, characters and stories that characterise stop-motion. Basics Animation: Stop-motion also examines the evolution of stopmotion, from its almost accidental beginnings to a much-loved form of storytelling in its own right one that continues to push boundaries.

Co-director of DreamWorks Animations Oscar-nominated Kung Fu Panda, Mark Osborne, commented: “To say this book is a perfect companion for anyone interested in stop-motion at any level is a tremendous understatement. Even by taking just a cursory glance through the pages, you will find that the wide range of photographic examples alone make this book a must have … As someone who has previously been a teacher in the medium, I am very excited to find a book that would make for a perfect textbook should I ever teach again.”

Final year Animation student Jack Tytherleigh, reviewing the book on Amazon, said: “If I had read this book 3 years ago, I can’t begin to imagine how much stronger my work would be right now. Although focused on Stop motion animation, this is an essential read for animators from all walks of life. It’s difficult to describe exactly what this book is, it is not just simply a reference to various techniques and skills, it is more a recording of over 30 years of experience. Barry Purves delivers a personal look into not only the advantages but also the drawbacks of each style of animation, offering advice and tips from writing to filming and from designing to modelling; there is always something more you can learn page by page. Broken up into sections for quick reference, you will not only develop your skills as an animator but also learn the history of the trade as well as being given practical and imaginative exercises to try out in your own time.”

In a review on Amazon, Hywel P Roberts said: “This book is a treasure to behold, animator or anyone with an interest in stop-motion. Structured in a practical manner, it allows easy access to a wealth of expertise; from someone who has brought an unprecedented amount of life to this art form. Barry gives an insight to the origins of stop-motion and uses a wide range of examples from animation to theatre, highlighting the advantages and disadvantages of the different process available in the making of a stop-motion animated film, thus allowing the reader to decide on the most suitable approach to bring their story to life.”