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Animator Richard Williams has died (bbc.co.uk)
32 points by open-source-ux 61 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 9 comments

Williams is also the author of the bestselling book The Animator's Survival Kit which is considered an essential text for any aspiring 2D (and even 3D) animator.

He spent decades on creating his own 2D animated film called The Thief and the Cobbler which was beset by endless problems and delays. The film was never completed in the form that Williams wanted. The fascinating story of this film can be found in this 2016 article:

13 Facts About The Thief and the Cobbler


Another interesting fact: Williams worked as an animator on the 1968 film Yellow Submarine featuring the voices of The Beatles. I think you can see some of the visual influence from that film (such as the exaggerated forms) in The Thief and the Cobbler too.

> bestselling book The Animator's Survival Kit

Which is also an excellent (very expensive) video series. The videos are probably even more useful than the book.

Thanks for the tip! Working torrent of 50+ avi videos here, looks like it:


Since then I read 100 pages of the book.. then watched the first couple of hours of the videos. They cover almost the same ground, but the book explains things more concisely, accurately, while the videos feature, apart from animations of what's drawn in the book, photos and videos of the animators he's talking about, and Williams doing their funny voices and body language, telling stories, and drawing a lot of stuff on a whiteboard. Has him talking to camera as well as teaching a class. Seems like about 7 or 8 hours of video. Tip: I could hardly see what he was writing on the whiteboard half the time, but turned the video contrast and brightness down a bit and now can see everything. (There's also another torrent of mp4s, much bigger file size, but the quality seems worse than this one.) Awesome. Thanks again!

I saw a "boot leg" cut of The Thief and the Cobbler about twenty years ago. Some of the animation of a huge machine, toward the end of the film, is amazing. It looks like CG but it's completely hand drawn. It's a shame he was never able to realize it as he wanted to.

There's been an ongoing community project to create a faithful rendition of Thief and the Cobbler as Williams intended it, before the sell-off to Disney [0]. I'd highly recommend it to any fan of traditional animation. It's really sad to see this art form has died out on a large scale.

[0] https://www.dailymotion.com/video/x3qo33u

"It's really sad to see this art form has died out on a large scale"

I think 2D animation will eventually make a widespread comeback - ironically probably via 3D animation tools. These tools can now convincingly mimic 2D animation (see Blender's Grease Pencil feature as an example). These tools might not use the traditional frame-by-frame technique of 2D animation, but they still open up lots of possibilities. An example is Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse - it's clearly a 3D film but has a unique 2D/3D aesthetic.

That's super sad. I follow him on Twitter and he's been quite active over the past few years, chatting with fans and speaking of his craft and influences: https://twitter.com/rwanimator

I really thought he had the health and energy to finish one more big project. It was clear that he was still drawing and animating frequently even well into his 80s.

Time to see "Who Framed Roger Rabbit?" again.

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