Friday, 20 February 2009

Literature Review - Understanding Animation - Paul Wells

Wells, P (1998) Understanding Animation, London:Routledge

I think that this book is one of the best sources for animators to understand the key elements that make up animation. As the title suggests, the book is all about 'understanding animation'. It covers a very broad range of ideas within animation including; the theory, the narrative, and comedy in animation.

According to the book, "comedy is assumed to be at the core of most animated films". This is explained thoroughly through the book's chapter 4 entitled, "25 Ways To Start Laughing". Comedy styles vary as not everybody holds the same sense of humour, however with animation the comedy is usually of a more general approach. One of these includes slapstick comedy which can be seen in so many animations but most noticeably in 'Tom and Jerry'. The chapter discusses many different techniques used to create comedy in animation such as the element of surprise, how characters performed 'comic behavior' and how 'the personality of the victim of a gag determines just how funny the whole incident will be'. Animator Tex Avery's approach to involve comedy to suit a more mature and adult audience is also explored in this chapter. I find it interesting how the book looks at animation as a whole and is not biased by only looking at animation for children as most people would associate the medium with.

With the broad range of ideas mentioned in the chapter, I am able to look into these different aspects in my essay. This book has helped me greatly with my research and I highly recommend it for anyone interested in animation.

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