The Animator’s Survival Kit for iPad does all three, in what can only be described as a sublime and spellbinding app from Richard Williams, courtesy of Faber and Faber.
Williams is the genius behind the original 2009 print version of The Animator’s Survival Kit, a book that brings techniques, tips and tricks to budding animators. Given the price, it’s fair to say The Animator’s Survival Kit is only for those who are serious about honing their animation skills – it’s a pro tool. Before we take a closer look at this app, it’s worth noting that while it is a niche, it nabs our Pick of the Day accolade because it epitomizes everything an eBook-app crossbreed should be. After about 2 minutes, all the characters are present – each walking on the spot in their own unique way – and you’re ready to start learning.
Williams actually says – half-jokingly – if he’d known at the time he wrote the book he was going to have to animate the front cover further down the line, he’d have made it much simpler!
The main home screen has two sections – ‘The Kit’, which is where the learning takes place, and ‘Extras’, which includes a few bonus features from the pencil of Williams himself. In the main section of the book, you can skip to any particular chapter you wish to focus on. The eBook is strewn with animation examples, and also with videos of Williams talking directly to the camera, explaining the background to some of the disciplines of his art. Using sketches and simple animations, Williams guides readers step-by-step through specific techniques – such as how to produce runs, jumps and skips.
The app contains more than a hundred original animations by Williams, and features a simple “slide to animate” control that lets you see exactly how an animation was created frame by frame. In the Extras section, you can peruse through four different ‘features’, three of which have a video with Williams explaining the back story to each animation.
Williams, through Faber and Faber, enlisted the help of Agant, a UK-based app development firm, to produce The Animator’s Survival Kit. The near-900MB size may require you to shift some other apps or music from your iPad, but if you’re a budding animator with a spare $35, you won’t regret it.
The app may be huge, but it’s all self-contained – no Internet is required to access the animations and videos. Addey says that one of the biggest challenges was preparing the animations for in-app use – there are 106 animated examples in total, which were originally created for DVD where file size isn’t so much of an issue. If you’re looking to check it our for yourself, the free incarnation gives you two full chapters from The Animator’s Survival Kit – ‘More on Spacing’ and ‘Dialogue’ – and incorporates 14 animated examples. The full version is available to download now for $34.99, or your local currency equivalent.


Paul Sawers was a reporter with The Next Web in various roles from May 2011 to November 2014. The book has been a blessing for aspiring animators the world over, the detailed drawings and hand-written instructions makes you feel like you are attending a personalised class with Richard Williams himself.
Animators in India unfortunately have never been able to actually attend any of Williams’ masterclasses. All the important technical information is explained using drawn examples so that even a complete newbie animator will grasp the basics of animation, slowly advancing through the chapters, practising and mastering skills along the way. Despite technical limitations that prevent it from having as much video content as the DVDs, the iPad App covers a lot of ground. Making the most of the technology, it allows you to view animation frame by frame automatically and also by scrubbing back and forth. One of the biggest advantages of the iPad app is that it makes the knowledge very accessible.
I would highly recommend the app especially to aspiring animators in India who have the talent and the inclination to learn but cannot afford to enrol in expensive courses. The definitive book on animation, from the Academy Award-winning animator behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit?Animation is one of the hottest areas of filmmaking today--and the master animator who bridges the old generation and the new is Richard Williams. Short video of Richard Williams speaking about the Expanded Edition of The Animator's Survival Kit.
He has won countless awards across his career, including Oscars, but he’s perhaps best known for his work on 1988’s Who Framed Roger Rabbit. While there is a free sampler version to whet your appetite, the full version weighs in at a hefty $34.99. But even an artistic Luddite like myself can appreciate the work that has gone into this, and I found myself itching to try my hand at a little bit of sketching after using this app for just a couple of hours. It uses the full capabilities of the iPad’s processing power and screen to deliver a visually stunning, entertaining and enthralling masterpiece. Williams has actually taken the front cover from the original book, and worked backwards – he has each character entering the scene one after the other, demonstrating the skills required to make cartoons really come to life.
And it’s clear from our initial dabblings a lot of work has gone into making it as beautiful as it is. It seems likely that during the installation process, it needs to download an additional zipped file, decompress all of the individual book page files and animation files, and move them all into place, which requires more space. The team at Agant “cleaned” these videos in Final Cut Pro to optimize them for use on an interactive iPad app, which took weeks to complete. While we only ever write about products we think deserve to be on the pages of our site, The Next Web may earn a small commission if you click through and buy the product in question.


There is plenty of tapping and scrolling, the book lending itself perfectly to the medium, enhancing the learning experience.
Also to those who currently attend animation institutes that teach you the animation software but completely overlook the foundation – the art of animation. During his fifty years in the business, Williams has been one of the true innovators, winning three Academy Awards and serving as the link between Disney's golden age of animation by hand and the new computer animation exemplified by Toy Story.
The iPad app goes a few steps further by incorporating videos of Richard Williams introducing the topics and several animated examples. From the bouncing ball that’s like the A-B-C of animation to advanced tips for directing animation, the Animator’s Survival Kit teaches you EVERYTHING! The iPad actually allows you to take Richard Williams with you whether you chose to learn at home, in the park or while traveling!
Whether you are a classical, CG, stop motion or Flash animator, the basic principles of animation are the same and The Animator’s Survival Kit covers everything there is to know. Perhaps even more important, though, has been his dedication in passing along his knowledge to a new generation of animators so that they in turn could push the medium in new directions. INR 54,000, most Indian animators couldn’t afford the DVDs and had to be happy with just the book.
The 17 chapters are exactly the same as in the book, but each one comes with a lot of interactive extra material that is possible only on a tablet.
In this book, based on his sold-out master classes in the United States and across Europe, Williams provides the underlying principles of animation that every animator--from beginner to expert, classic animator to computer animation whiz --needs. The UI is absolutely intuitive, allowing you to go directly to any chapter, any lesson or any video that you may want to dive into. Urging his readers to "invent but be believable," he illustrates his points with hundreds of drawings, distilling the secrets of the masters into a working system in order to create a book that will become the standard work on all forms of animation for professionals, students, and fans. Of course, you may also go step by step, studying a chapter at a time, taking your time to practise each lesson thoroughly, just as recommended by Williams.



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