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Animation Books You Need To Read #TopPicks

Looking to get yourself motivated?  We've got something to help you kickstart yourself into action in the form of some recommended reading for all you aspiring animators!

We asked our animators what books they found most useful throughout their learning, the ones they continue to refer to, and new ones that have caught their eye, here's their selection of top picks:

Cartoon Character Animation with Maya, Mastering the Art of Exaggerated Animation by Keith Osborn

One of the many highlights of this book are the interviews conducted with a slew of professional animators, Ken Duncan, (Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, 9), Jason Figliozzi, (Wreck it Ralph, Frozen, Big Hero 6) and T. Dan Hofstedt, (Pocahontas, Mulan, Planes), to name but a few, which help to reinforce the principles and processes explained throughout the book!

The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams

This enormous tome (340 pages!) by legendary animator Richard Williams (Who Framed Roger Rabbit, The Pink Panther), considered the animation bible by many, is an animation students staple! Detailing the basic principles from bouncing ball to run cycles, with great attention paid to technique. The book is written primarily for 2D animators but the techniques are applicable to 3D also.

You can also check out the iPad app version for the techies amongst you or the 16-DVD box-set 'The Animator's Survival Kit - Animated' which features over 400 specially animated examples:

The Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnson

Created by two of the famed Nine Old Men (The Walt Disney Company's core animators), this book is a must for anyone who appreciates animation, and Disney animation in particular. Detailing Disney's process for completing a picture step by step, the book provides indepth information for animators covering the history of how animation came to be as well as important animation concepts.

Cartoon Animation; Animation 1: Learn to Animate Cartoons Step by Step; Animation: Learn How to Draw Animated Cartoons; How to Animate Film Cartoons; by Preston Blair

California native Preston Blair (Fantasia) is somewhat of an institution amongst our 2D artists. His animation collection series provide a thorough basis for studying animation principles and techniques, you’ll learn how to develop a character, create dynamic movement, and animate dialogue with action. This is a book that can easily be reffered back to throughout your career.

Timing for Animation by Harold Whitaker, John Halas, Tom Sito

You'll find this book on many an animator's book shelf! Extensively covering timing sheets, lip-sync timing and cycles - this book offers great help for those who may struggle with space and timing in their animation. The second edition includes timing for digital production, digital storyboarding in 2D and 3D, the use of After Effects and more!

Acting for Animators by Ed Hooks

Ed Hook is an industry leading acting instructor for animators providing Masterclasses worldwide. He uses basic acting theory to help guide animators in creating their characters in a realistic way. The book provides a plethora of acting theory, examples and exercises to help you develop the acting skills needed to breathe life into your animated characters.

So there you have it - our staff's #TopPicks for your animation reading list!

Have you got any animation book recommendations we're missing? Pop them in the comments below and help us grow our list!

Anahita Tabarsi

Anahita is Brown Bag Films' Marketing Director, Digital & Social and drinks more than five coffees a day...

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