The cover has a holographic cover to bring across the message that this is a 3D movie. That's pretty unique.
This is a big book close to A3 paper's dimension. The huge pages provide the huge canvas on which the storyboards, character designs and movie renders display. All the art pieces are just beautiful and inspiring to look at.
Text is written by John Lasseter, the director, and Steve Daly. They bring you behind the scenes into the production for the world's first 3d animated movie. I'm pretty amazed that Toy Story was made from around 2000 models!
The focus of the book is actually on the story telling. It's about how the form follows the function. For example, you'll get to understand how Rex's small forearms created his "cream puff" character, why Woody is a soft puppet and Buzz the cool spaceman.
There are plenty of interesting quotes from the staff in the empty pockets of the pages. They provide tremendous depth and insight to the film's production.
Breakdowns for individual characters are included, namely for Woody, Buzz, Andy and other toys. Detailed explanation are given on the development of these characters. You'll understand why characters behave the way they do, and the impression they create in the audience. In essence, you'll see how Pixar breath life into these otherwise inanimate objects.
The concept behind everything used in the movie are explained, from the dialogue, characters, design and music. You get the whole story. You get the feeling that you're working with the animators.
If there's anything the book wants to bring across, it can probably be summed up by this quote from Joe Ranft:
"If the story isn't there, all the breakthrough computer graphics in the world piled onto it won't matter. You'll have made a piece of passing fashion."
That is just so true when you separate the CG movies that you enjoy from those that are just eye candy.
This book was published in 1995 and is currently out of print. The only places that I can think of that still sells them would be eBay and Amazon.
If you're interested in animation, specifically the story telling aspect of making an animated movie, this book is for you.
The DVDs are the next best thing if you can't find the books. Get the 10th Anniversary Edition because they are packed with goodies. I actually ripped the director's commentary from both Toy Story and Toy Story 2 for my iPod.
The DVDs are pretty much essential for the study of story telling through animation. Educational, inspiring and motivating.
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Country-specific Amazon links for this book:
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Check out other books I've reviewed also, with pictures:
Art book list | Design book list