The Noble Approach: Maurice Noble and the Zen of Animation Design

The Noble Approach is a book on the dark arts of background design.

Maurice noble pioneered a more abstract thinking to his background designs. He exaggerate object in his backgrounds to make scenes feel more dramatic or aid the movement of characters through a scene. His designs made animations feel more bold, for comedic effect. Not only does this bok show some of his beautiful designs, but more importantly they show the thinking behind it. There is a very clear logic to his madness that can be of use to any animator or designer. For instance, he talks a lot about the flow of movement and how playing with the perspective while doing a simple pan can easily suggest movement in a certain direction. Through an in-depth look at his own artistic influences, methods of breaking down details, colour theory and compositional design, you gain a real sense of Noble’s skill as a designer and film maker, with genuine lessons to be learned.

Visual Memory

This “Visual Memory” was a store of visual images in his brain that he had built over time

Maurice Noble had a unique way of using reference. Rather than drawing directly from source material for a particular design, Maurice would pull inspiration from what he called his “Visual Memory.” This “Visual Memory” was a store of visual images in his brain that he had built over time through travel, viewing art, and other experiences that would make an impression on him.  Later… sometimes years or decades later… he would redraw his impression of a place from memory for a design… using its strongest characteristics.

visual memory
visual memory

If you want to know how Noble did it and how you can possibly instill some of his own virtues into your work, don’t just watch the films. Let Polson take you on this very intimate journey and show you how Noble took care to make sure his design met the needs of every single element of an animated film and not the other way around. More importantly, the book is lavishly and colorfully illustrated to appropriately aid the instructions, driving home every point clearly and beautifully. Anyone with an interest in animation, filmmaking, or art in general should buy this book without hesitation. It’d be the Noble thing to do!


Purchase: The Illusion of Life on Amazon

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