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The Art of Cartooning with Flash : The Twinkle Guide to Flash Character Animation from Sybex Publishing

COW Library : Adobe Flash : Adam Tracksler : The Art of Cartooning with Flash : The Twinkle Guide to Flash Character Animation from Sybex Publishing
Adam Tracksler looks at The Art of Cartooning with Flash Guide to Flash Character Animation The Art of Cartooning with Flash : The Twinkle Guide to Flash Character Animation from Sybex Publishing



A Creative COW "Real World" Book Review



The Art of Cartooning with Flash : The Twinkle Guide to Flash Character Animation
Adam Tracksler
Adam Tracksler
Kittery Point, Maine, USA
©2002 Adam Tracksler and CreativeCOW.net. All rights reserved.

Article Focus:
Adam Tracksler takes a look at The Art of Cartooning with Flash : The Twinkle Guide to Flash Character Animation from Sybex Publishing written by John Kuramoto, Gary Leib, Daniel Gray. Adam says he hasn't had this much fun from a book in a long time.


There are definitely two kinds of computer books; Books that take you step by step through a series of tutorials, and books that are about concepts and how to apply them to your work. The Art of Cartooning with Flash : The Twinkle Guide to Flash Character Animation definitely falls into the latter category. If you are looking for a book that is heavy on tutorials, look elsewhere. On the other hand if you are looking for a book that explains what goes into a successful cartoon and how to apply those concepts to your own work, then you would probably be interested in this book.

The book starts out discussing what is and what is not animation and the authors have adopted The 12 Principals of Animation. Their knowledge and passion about animation comes through as well as their exceptional wit, as they discuss how these 12 principals work and why they work in creating successful animations. The full color illustrations are copious and appropriate to the subject matter and help to get points across about a moving medium (Flash Animation) and a static delivery method (Books).

The lessons begin with simple puppet animations. Along with technical information about how Twinkle Studios’ work flows, issues like scanning, vectorizing and colorizing are discussed, as well as the application of the 12 principals to simple animations. These principals are examined with simple animations and applied in situations that are basic, but definitely are “real-world”

The next part of the book is dedicated to the walk cycle. Since most people want to animate people (or people- like characters) the walk cycle is important. The authors dissect the parts of the walk cycle and explain clearly how to make someone move on screen. They also explain why they have come up with their own workflow to make animation easier and less time consuming in the long run.

The next discussion is about the story. This is probably the most crucial part of creating animations. The authors take time to explain why stories are important, as well as how the storyboard, the animation and editing are interrelated.

Scenery is important to moviemaking. It is also important to animation. I remember that in one of my College drawing classes, a professor said; “Draw the stuff around the model, he has to have a place to live!” The authors spend a lot of time discussing scene building and multi-planing to create effective final animations.

The chapter on sound is very short. I may have a soft spot for sound, since my brother is a professional audio engineer. They definitely cover the basics of recording and mixing. I know that the book is about flash animation and not audio engineering. The tips and tricks are good and should be read by people serious about animation. The judicious use of sound effects and music can really make or break an animation.

The book continues with a step-by-step examination of “Jickett’s Speed Shop” from conception to completion. This is one of the books greatest values. It is a lot like a documentary/Behind-The-Scenes special that you see on TV. It examines the how and why of creating a complex animation and really puts all of the concepts discussed in the earlier part of the book into practice.

The book ends with several appendices on How to create preloaders for your masterpiece, output to VHS or DVD, Some references, and how to build complex buttons in Flash.

Throughout the book, there are plenty of asides that discuss the reality of Flash Animation. It isn’t easy, but then again, nothing worth doing really is.

The book was written for Flash 5, but everything applies to Flash MX.



If you are serious about making cartoons with Flash and want to take your work to a level above “Odd Todd”, “Gonads and Strife” and South Park” you should definitely read this book.

I give it 4 cows.
The Art of Cartooning with Flash : The Twinkle Guide to Flash Character Animation” Is a thorough, clear, well written book with a ton of humor sprinkled throughout. The book is about animation and gives the reader the tools to make better cartoons and better art. The authors have sprinkled a lot of cool things throughout the book, from tips and tricks, to the thumbnail animations in each chapter that explain the animations they are discussing. If you don’t know how to use Flash, do yourself a favor and learn before you get into this book, that’s not what this is about.




--Adam Tracksler



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