We always hear about 2 books on animation that seem to be regarded as bibles, The Illusion of Life and The Animator’s Survival Toolkit. So I’ve decided to focus on 3 other books which I’ve found immensely useful. They’re all very simple reads and all very reasonably priced considering the influence they will have on your career.
Acting for Animators – This is a great introduction to acting for any animator, Ed Hooks has been able to breakdown the differences between how an actor approaches a scene and how an animator would approach a scene. The ideas of power centres, creating empathy even in villains, starting a scene in the middle, etc are all golden points to keep in mind when approaching a shot. This video is almost a summary of the book:
Character Animation Crash Course – Breaks down animation to its simplest forms. It covers everything from timing sheets to staging, breakdowns and animation principles. What really makes the book golden in my opinion is the CD where you can easily step through Eric Goldberg’s animations. Studying and reproducing his breakdowns is really an eye opening experience.
Creating Characters with Personality – While character design might not be directly applicable to a CG animator who is given a rig, it’s still a useful resource. I think the book helps to hone your sense of who your character is and how to convey that while also retaining appeal. The book talks a bit about anatomy, posing and also animals.