Hooray! The Animator’s Survival Kit Is An App

Shawn 01.10.2014

“There’s no easier way to do something, than to understand it.”

– Richard Williams

To master the art and craft of animation, go straight to the source – The Animator’s Survival Kit, by Richard Williams. Winner of three Oscars, three British Academy Awards, over 250 International awards, and the  mastermind behind Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, The Pink Panther, and A Christmas Carol – Richard Williams, is a master animator.

His seminal work, The Animator’s Survival Kit, has influenced top animators from Disney, Pixar, Warner Bros., Blue Sky Studios, and Dreamworks since its publication in 2001, and for good reason.

This tome of “systems and principles” moves through every technique animators should know, from “the bouncing ball,” to dialogue, timing, spacing, stretch, weight, and…well, everything actually. It’s been a must-read for students and professionals alike for over a decade, but now it’s (appropriately enough) a must-watch. The Animator’s Survival Kit has become an app.

Named one of the “Top 89 Apps of 2013” – amongst giants like Vine and tech savvy offerings like Code Academy – The Animator’s Survival Kit ipad app proves that 80 year-old Williams is still at the top of his game. Taking advantage of the iPad’s full processing power with frame by frame breakdowns of each animation technique, the app allows users to experience the lessons within the survival kit, much like Williams’ famous 16 DVD Masterclass lecture series.

Chris Wedge, Academy Award winner and director of Epic, Ice Age, and Robots, says, “What I came out with was a complete re-structuring of animation, how I saw animation, how I analysed motion.”

Jan Pinkava, another Oscar winner and mastermind behind Moto X’s interactive “Windy Day” animation, simply states, “When an animation great like Richard Williams offers you the fruits of his experience, just say ‘Thank you!’ and hand over the cash. Then use it.”

The app is a little pricey – $35 (still cheaper than the book $54 – new), and large – over a 1G – but any animator looking to take his skills to the next level would be well advised to pony up the cash.

When asked if everything in his book is essential to animation, the ever candid Williams simply replies, “No.” (pause) “However,” he adds slyly, “if you want to have the whole picture, and be able to tackle anything, then you do need to know all this stuff.”

Well alright, then.

For a full review of The Animator’s Survival Kit iPad apps features, visit the comprehensive Paul Sawyers, at The Next Web.


Born in Southern California, Shawn grew up surfing, eating In-N-Out, and growing his hair long. After graduating with a Liberal Arts degree from CSU Long Beach in 2005 he left the crowded freeways behind and spent the better part of a decade traveling the world living for stretches in Rome, Hawaii, Australia, New Zealand, and Brooklyn. He writes novels as well as copy, loves learning keyboard shortcuts, and plays his grandpa’s old lap steel guitar. You can hear his band at

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