This is a continuation of the art book review for Mamoru Hosoda’s animated film “Wolf Children.” For Part I, which focuses on background art, go here. The 2nd half of this sumptuous book delves into the layout, color palette charts and usage of CG in the film.
(above) At the bottom right corner of the layout board you’ll notice the circled word “Book”. It’s a Japanese animation term denoting additional layered elements that form part of the background, but are not painted onto the main background plate. They are used when certain objects need to be placed over/in front an animated element; in this case the doors that appear in front of the wolf girl Yuki as she does a prance around the room. It’s also used to great effect to convey the illusion of fg/bg perspective in a moving camera shot, where the fg elements are moving/panning faster than bg elements. ( the layer closest to camera is named Book.A, the 2nd Book.B, and so on. ) My Japanese colleague once explained to me the origin of the term “Book”, likening it to how pages layer over one another like those of a book, but I can’t remember exactly what he said.
Quite often the layout section in Anime art books are glossed over with small reproductions, but here there’s quite a substantial number, and the prints are fairly big too, each annotated with notes. The greatest collection of layouts ever published has got to be the catalogue that Ghibli published for its Layout Design Exhibition.
(above & below) Color palette charts for the main and secondary characters. The actual character design/concept art work are not included in this book, but can be found in this Wolf Children magazine special ( read review here. ) I expect the Wolf Children guidebook to carry some as well.
(above & below) CG techniques are used fairly extensively in the film, including the creation of water and glass effects, animal props, moving backgrounds like the exterior shots of a traveling bus, and animated clouds. (these pages are just a few excerpts from the many shown in the book.) Technology has certainly moved forward since the days the first 2D/3D anime like Blue Sub, and the integration is tighter and more invisible than ever, allowing the audience deeper immersion into the film.
As I mentioned in Part I, this book packs in content worth much more than the price it is selling at. Folks who love the film should definitely pick this up; and for those who have yet seen the film – find any chance you have to watch it – it’s easily one of the best anime films of 2012.
“Wolf Children (Ookami Kodomo)” art book details :
Dimensions – 29.6 x 22.8 x 2.8 cm
Soft cover, 285 pages
Full color/ B&W, in Japanese
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