LET THERE BE LIFE! by Christopher W. Baker


Animating with the Computer
Age Range: 8 - 12
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 This easy-to-follow informational book serves two excellent purposes: to introduce the subject to aspiring filmmakers and computer addicts, and to explain computer animation to those who have seen it in movies or on television and remain curious about its workings. Baker employs the picture-book format, which, without booktalking, may turn away older children (as will the use of a typeface that imitates a childlike scrawl for the subtitle and chapter headings) who have an interest in the subject. In general, the book suffers from overdesign, with complicated folios pasted over an angry-faced computer screen, a horse in red silhouette to be animated by flipping the pages, and pastel- colored geometric shapes--including a robotic face--that are repeated on every page. Fortunately, the content rises above this silliness. Beginning with the description of the cel-painting of Disney's first cartoon, through the early days of computer graphics, Baker introduces the concepts of 3-D shading, modeling, and wireframe representation--illustrated images that are familiar to readers. He clearly defines scanners and motion, while the mostly full-color photographs precisely demonstrate the most difficult concepts of the digestible short paragraphs. The principle of the ``rendering'' process, in which computers crunch numbers overnight to calculate how shadows fall on nearby objects to create a lifelike scene, is impressive. (index) (Picture book/nonfiction. 8-12)

Pub Date: May 1st, 1997
ISBN: 0-8027-8482-8
Page count: 48pp
Publisher: Walker
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 15th, 1997


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