Best Animation Books for Beginners

Updated: Apr 26

Animation is an art form that has tremendously evolved and changed throughout the years. There are countless programs and techniques to animate, but they all have one thing in common. Fundamentals! Below is a comprehensive list of books that you have to read at one point and keep in your collection. Trust us, these are books you will later reference constantly throughout your career. Let's cut to the chase!


Classics Everyone Must Have!

The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams


This book is considered the the animation bible to many. Most universities make it a required textbook. It's an easy read with great in-depth examples of all the principles of animation.




Illusion of Life by Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston


Written by 2 of Disney's "Nine Old Men", Disney core animators when the company first began and defined the Disney style. This i their in-depth journey of how they explored the principles of animation and really pushed it to get the Disney look.




Cartoon Animation by Preston Blair


This one is great if you need to learn or refresh your mind on animating lip syncs, dialogue, timing, and strong action lines. The great thing about this one is that it introduces you to animals and shows you how to adjust for different head shapes and anatomical structures.



Intro to Maya

3D Animation for the Raw Beginner Using Maya by Roger King


Maya has a steep learning curve when you open the software for the first time. No matter the version, this book will get you on track to the basics of how this program works. This book is great to refer back to even when you are in your dream job. An absolutely must have book when learning this program.




Story

Directing the Story by Francis Glebas


Written by a professional storyboard artist at Disney, explore instructions on how to make a storyboard as well as the philosophies of how to capture a story and enhance the true emotional essence.




Animation

Force Dynamic Life Drawing by Michael O Mattesi


A great book that teaches you to loosen up your hand and be more gestural with your drawings, while maintaining form and volume. Even if you are a 3D Animator this is a great book to understand how to translate concept to animation.





Modeling

Digital Modeling by William Vaughan


Information about typology, edge flow, which software to model, techniques in modeling and even how to land your dream job in the industry. A must read no matter if you are a modeler, rigger, animator, cloth simulator, effects artists or so forth.




Anatomy for Sculptors Understanding the Human Figure by Uldis Zarins and Sandis Knodrats


This book is fantastic to really begin to understand the human body. Clear photos of muscles, skin, and bones. All the concepts of the human structure broken down into fundamental shapes.




Rigging

Rig It Right! by Tina O'Hailey


As the name implies, this book will teach you how to rig your characters correctly. Good step by step instructions and explanations of rigging taught by a professional rigger who worked for Dreamworks, Animation, and EA games. If someone knows about rigging, it's Tina.






What are you waiting for? Get your career started! Pick up some of these books and go after your dream job. If you have any other books you recommend, let us know.







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