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Book Review: The Art of Puss in Boots

November 10, 2011

Released November 8th, 2011

Page count: 152 pages

Size: 10” x 11”

The Art of Puss in Boots

Written by Ramin Zahed

Foreword by Guillermo del Toro

Published by Insight Editions

http://www.insighteditions.com/

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The Art of Puss in Boots Book Review by Erin V.  

At times drawing inspiration from the character of Zorro (as played by Antonio Bandaras, also the voice of Puss), and the spaghetti western movies of Sergio Leone, the goal was to make Puss in Boots stand alone from the Shrek movies, where the character was first introduced.

The landscapes this time around are washed in warmer palettes with many red and yellow tones, designed full of latin flavour, and more realistic at times than Shrek, all while still retaining the fairy tale and fantastical elements of Puss’ world.  To paraphrase what producer Joe M. Aguilar says at the beginning of this book, they ‘wanted to make sure the movie stayed away from the usual earmarks of a spin-off’ – and in my opinion, they wildly succeeded.

After a Foreword by Guillermo del Toro, and an informative introduction, The Art of Puss in Boots is divided neatly into three basic sections.  Characters, Locations, and a brief third chapter entitled ‘Bringing It All Together’ – which profiles from start to finish the making of the ‘dance-fight’ scene between Puss and Kitty.  Although this last one is a short section, it is very interesting to get an idea of the many steps involved in the process of creating a single scene or sequence.

For the characters section, we get a couple pages with a bit of text and ample images for each main character, as well as a few of the background ones.  The progression is interesting to see, particularly in the designing of the new characters, and how their look changed to fit the story as it expanded as well.  But by far the longest section in this book falls to the locations.  Covering over 70 of the 152 pages, we get an in-depth look at building designs, landscapes, as well as locations that were scrapped from earlier versions of the script.

Also included in this section are short pages dubbed ‘Getting Technical,’ which cover a brief look at the technical challenges faced with the new sets and VFX requirements for this film – in particular with the beanstalk and ‘cloud world.’  Besides designing something the characters could interact with, the lighting in the ‘cloud world’ was gorgeous, especially the achievement of recreating the ‘multiscattering effect’ of how real clouds bounce light around and through them.  Like water, clouds are always a technical feat to get right as no two cloud or water scenes are the same.  Among other things covered on the technical side, are how important things as simple as dust particles can be for a 3D effect, and how the use of light, shadows, and editing shape a film – something very evident in Puss in Boots.

A book you can read cover to cover in a few hours, or flip open randomly to learn something new, this is well written and as always strikes just the right balance of information and images.  This is another ‘art of’ book to be added to your shelf – or to give as a Christmas present, considering the it’s only three weeks to December 1st already…  Art and animation enthusiasts, or students, will want this one.

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Distributed by Paramount & animated at DreamWorks, Puss in Boots hit theatres October 28th.  From Insight Editions, The Art of Puss in Boots is available in stores now.  You can read our full movie reviews of Puss in Boots here.  

One Comment leave one →
  1. November 11, 2011 12:59 am

    I want to see that movie! Antonio Banderas. Enough said even if it is just his voice, and that cat does sad puppy eyes that rival Bolt.

    -Elia

    Like

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