Daily iPad App: Animator's Survival Kit moves to iPad, brings in-depth look at drawing essentials

Richard Williams is an Oscar-winning animator, with an extensive history in the film business. His well-reviewed Animator's Survival Kit (US$22 on Amazon) is currently in its second edition. For a mere $959.50, you can pick up a 16-DVD boxed set showcasing all the material covered in the book.

Now, the survival kit series has finally arrived on the iPad. For $34.99, you can pick up an app that teaches core principles of animation combining both text and video into a single product.

At 882 MB, this is a big app, offering a hybrid of written explanation and interactive experience. In many ways, this app feels like an iBook -- embedded videos, the integrated sliding table of contents, but it's presented with a style that's all its own.

The design is sumptuous. You skip directly to the coverage you're interested in, whether it's running and walking or timing and anticipation -- the book / app covers all the basic principles of animation. There you find page after page with detailed explanations, embedded video links and color commentary (delightfully, this is often literally the case) that guide you through understanding how concepts transform into drawings over time. It's very well put together.

Animator's Survival Kit moves to iPad, brings indepth look at essentials

I particularly loved the embedded visits to his studio. Williams discusses topics, introducing them to the reader with a great deal of charm. For example, "Why does this app have so many pages on walks? Walks are the hardest thing to animate well." He then goes on to discuss how important it is to practice movement and how walks form the testing ground for most animation.

Animator's Survival Kit moves to iPad, brings indepth look at essentials

The book is filled with great advice. It's hard to go to any page and not learn something. Whether it's picking the correct foot to start walking ("It's unnatural to start a walk with the farthest foot from the direction we're going") to expressing speech ("The thing is to think of the word shapes and phrases, not of the letters"), the book offers Williams' years of experience, produced in a way that's sure to engage.

I can't imagine an audience who won't love this app. From school kids, just growing an interest in drawing to retirees, this book / app is perfect for anyone looking for a wonderful excursion into a new topic or attempting to expand their craft.

Animator's Survival Kit moves to iPad, brings indepth look at essentials

Want to look before you buy? There's a free sample app for you to try out, before committing to the full purchase.