Ever seen an animation or movie? Ever wanted to create one? If you have, this is the book for you. The LEGO Animation Book is a full guide on how to go from zero to creating your own animations and movies — from writing to lighting a scene to the animation itself. All of this can be achieved without any super expensive setups or software!
LEGO animations or brickfilms are quite popular, for a good reason. They come in many shapes, sizes and styles; minifigs are the perfect stars to act in whatever crazy outlet your imagination desires.
Even the directors of The LEGO Movie confessed they took inspiration from fan movies and animations for their blockbuster production (see linked YouTube video). They are that popular.
So let’s check what The LEGO Animation Book is all about.
What you’ll find
The LEGO Animation Book is an incredible resource if you’re new to brickfilms. LEGO is a great medium to work with. They are made to be easy to assemble, durable, and full of possibilities. This book showcases just how you can use them.
The book follows through the production of an actual brickfilm (see the film below), The Magic Picnic, explaining all concepts that go into animation and the peculiarities of using bricks.
From setting up your “studio” (a table, some desk lamps and a cellphone) to post-production, the book will guide you through the entire process. Beyond that, it covers things such as how to convey emotion with minifigures and animate facial features, how to light a scene, and much more.
There’s a very long chapter on animation (which is the point after all), including things like walk cycles, body language and animating elements such as a bouncy ball. Some concepts that might look difficult to pull off with LEGO come with thorough explanations and examples. In fact, that’s what makes the book even better. The completeness and thoroughness of the instructions.
If you know nothing about stop-motion animation, you’ll end up knowing quite a bit about it. While the goal is obviously LEGO, many of the concepts can apply to other techniques and materials. This makes the book extra useful.
But even beyond the “average” LEGO animation mechanics, it does delve into subjects as how to block and stage a scene. Lighting, contrast and even special effects will elevate your end results from “beginner” to a next level — even if you’ve never done it before. Of course, as the book itself mentions, it’s best to take things slowly. Still, there is a lot of content and variety to explore and experiment with, which is always part of the fun!
As a bonus, the book also brings instructions how to make Pagano puppets — large scale brick-built figures created by one of the book’s authors. While not exactly common to brickfilms you see every day, they offer even more options on how you can get creative with your own ideas.
The book itself is a delight to look at, as we follow the production of The Magic Picnic. Beautifully illustrated with full-colour photographs, it has a charm all of its own. Beyond that, it’s full of explanations, tips, tricks, and more. Each process step has its own chapter and colour, so it’s easy to browse for what you want.
The language is simple and clear, accessible to children and teens. It also leaves open threads for progress and further studies, which is always good. The book also offers suggestions on how to improve your skills, as well as how to write a good story.
David Pagano and David Pickett are veteran, award-winning LEGO animators, with years of experience between them. Working for companies such as Disney XD, Nickelodeon and more, they bring a special level of expertise to this book.
During the book, both authors appear as minifigs themselves, which is a neat feature.
The LEGO Animation Book is an excellent choice for people who enjoy LEGO, animation, and of course, LEGO animation. People who aren’t into bricks will benefit from the cinematography instructions, people who know nothing about animation will learn how to animate. Children and teens will enjoy the detailed explanations, and adults as well. As such, it has a little bit of everything for everyone — it’s a great starting point.
Veteran animators or brickfilmers might not find as much interest in this, as it’s very step-by-step, but it does offer quite a bit in terms of tips, tricks, suggestions and ideas to keep all types of readers engaged.