A Century of Model Animation

A Century of Model Animation

Hardback

By (author) Ray Harryhausen, By (author) Tony Dalton

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  • Publisher: Aurum Press Ltd
  • Format: Hardback | 240 pages
  • Dimensions: 246mm x 290mm x 26mm | 1,619g
  • Publication date: 25 October 2008
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 1845133676
  • ISBN 13: 9781845133672
  • Illustrations note: colour & b&w illustrations throughout
  • Sales rank: 382,189

Product description

The technique of stop-motion model animation - bringing models to life by filming them one frame at a time - was the most important way of creating cinematic monsters and fantasy creatures before the advent of computer-generated imagery. It is a technique that will forever be associated with names of Willis O'Brien, the creator of King Kong, and Ray Harryhausen, whose films thrilled a generation of post-World War II movie-goers. But the first crude model animations were made in the 1890s and in the first two decades of the twentieth century pioneers producing short animated films before O'Brien created the first two animated features, The Lost World and King Kong in the dying days of silent film. Moreover, stop-motion model animation is still alive and flourishing, most notably in the work of directors Tim Burton and Aardman Animation's Nick Park, whose plasticine creations have starred in major hits such as Chicken Run and The Curse of the Were-rabbit. In this book Ray Harryhausen and his co-author Tony Dalton trace the history of the genre to which Ray devoted the whole of his working life, from the almost accidental discovery that inanimate objects could be brought to life on the screen to movies such as Jurassic Park, which combined model animation with computer-based techniques to bring a new generation of prehistoric creatures to life. In doing so he gives his readers a fascinating insight into the patience and ingenuity of the animators, explains the development and refinement of the technology, especially that which enabled actors and animated models to interact on the same screen, and gives us tantalising glimpses of the many abandoned projects which litter the history of model animation. The book is lavishly illustrated with stills, many of them from forgotten movies and never before published in book form, sketches and storyboards for projects, explanatory diagrams, rare photographs of animators and artists at work and a host of memorabilia.

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Author information

Ray Harryhausen is one of the most innovative and influential film-makers in the history of the medium. The winner of countless awards, including a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame, his work has inspired numerous directors and animators including Steven Spielberg, George Lucas and Nick Park. Ray was born in Los Angeles but now lives, together with his wife Diana, in the heart of London. Now retired, he continues to take an active interest in dimensional animation and occasionally gives talks on his work. Ray's collection of memorabilia is held in trust by the Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation. His books include Ray Harryhausen Fantasy Scrapbook, The Art of Ray Harryhausen, A Century of Modern Animation and Ray Harryhausen: An Animated Life. Tony Dalton is a writer and film historian who has known Ray Harryhausen for over thirty years. They met whilst Tony was working for the British Film Institute and have been close friends ever since. Tony has worked as a film publicist, television researcher and producer. Today, in addition to writing, he is a consultant to The British Academy of Film & Television Arts (Bafta). He is also curator of the Ray & Diana Harryhausen Foundation.

Review quote

"Definitive text, fantastic illustrations, this is a must for any serious movie-buff."  —The Bookseller