Character Animation Fundamentals: Developing Skills for 2D and 3D Character Animation – Book Review

Animation is a wonderful art form, but unfortunately it takes many years of hard work to master. Even the simple animation projects can become fiendishly complex if one wants to do them right. Animation requires many desperate skill sets, which is one of the reasons why it can be very challenging. Today there are many wonderful computer tools and programs that can significantly help you get your animation going, but even they can have a steep learning curve.

“Character Animation Fundamentals” is a wonderfully educational introduction to character animation. It covers the fundamentals of animation, as well as some key animation software techniques. The book presumes a certain level of drawing skills, so if you are weak in this department you might want to invest in a book that will teach you how to draw first. Other than that, there are no real prerequisites. The book is geared towards the 3D animation, and each chapter discusses the ways of translating your two dimensional doodlings into 3D objects. In order to accomplish this you need to work with any one of the myriad 3D modeling/animation packages. This book mentions the two most popular such software suits, 3ds Max and Maya, but you can use several others as well, many of which are either free or very inexpensive.

The chapters in this book include “1. Introduction to Animation Working Practice,” “2. Matter and the Animation of Inanimate objects,” “3. The Construction of a Simple Character, Its Articulation and Balance,” “4. Timing, Anticipation, Overshoot, Follow-Through and Overlapping Action with an Animated Character,” “5. Animation of Human Walks and Runs,” “6. Animation of Animal Walks and Runs,” “7. Animation of Acting – Body Language,” “8. Animation of Acting – Facial Expressions,” “9. Animation of Acting – Two or More Characters,” “10. Lip Sync.”

All the chapters are very detailed with plenty of illustrations and examples. They are arranged in order of difficulty, and each chapter builds on the previously covered material. The material is overall very well organized, and anyone with an interest in animation will certainly learn a lot by going through this book.


Bojan Tunguz

Bojan Tunguz was born in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which he and his family fled during the civil war for the neighboring Croatia. Over the past two decades he has studied, lived and worked in the United States. He is a theoretical physicist with degrees from Stanford and University of Illinois. Tunguz has taught physics at several prominent liberal arts colleges and has been writing about physics, science and technology for more than a decade. He also has a wide spectrum of interests, and reads and writes about current events, society, culture, religion and politics. Over the years he has reviewed many of the books that he has read, and posted his reviews on various online outlets. In 2011 he had become a top 10 reviewer on, where he continues to be very active. Aside from reading and writing, Tunguz enjoys traveling, digital photography, hiking, and fitness. He resides with his wife in Indiana. You can follow my review updates on the following pages as well: Facebook: Twitter: Google+:

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