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Animated Performance: Bringing Imaginary Animal, Human and Fantasy Characters to Life (Required Reading Range) 0th Edition

9 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-2940373819
ISBN-10: 2940373817
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Animated Performance: Bringing Imaginary Animal, Human and Fantasy Characters to Life (Required Reading Range) + The Animator's Survival Kit: A Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion and Internet Animators + Cartoon Animation (Collector's Series)
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Editorial Reviews


Animated Performance demonstrates once again that Nancy Beiman is not only a tremendously talented artist, but also an immensely gifted teacher. The Disney artists of the Golden Age would have loved this book. The New Generation will be thankful to have it.
Didier Ghez, Editor of the Walt's People book series

Once again Nancy Beiman has come through for aspiring animators with an inspirational text on what it takes to really be an ‘actor with a pencil’! I've known Nancy for many years as a professional colleague in both traditional and contemporary formats of animated production, as well as an exceptional teacher of this medium. Her new book reaches a very underserved area of publications on this subject, and should be on the reference shelf of every student, as well as the current new generation of animator 'pros' in our industry.
Bill Matthews, Training & Recruiting Manager, Walt Disney Feature Animation (Retired)

Veteran animator Nancy Beiman has harvested a lifetime of lessons from her Hollywood mentors, added inspiration from her favorite entertainers, a pinch of her own illustration, and distilled it all down into a wonderfully whimsical yet concise how-to of the animator’s art. A must-have for the serious student of animation.
Tom Sito, animator, author of Drawing the Line: The Untold Story of the Animation Unions from Bosko to Bart Simpson

This book feels like a seriously helpful companion for animators be they student or professional. As an animator I am a visual thinker so this book immediately catches my eye for its simple clear design. It is well referenced throughout with strong examples of work from across the animation sector; I particularly like the historical illustrations of T.S. Sullivant, A.B. Frost etc, showing the art of caricature and emotion... I would strongly recommend this book to our students and to anyone interested in animation.  
Professor Peter Parr, Reader in Animation, The Arts University College at Bournemouth, UK.

 ‘Animated Performance by Nancy Beiman is an instant classic. Beiman’s new book concentrates solely on character animation and she knocks it out of the park. It is a thorough, step by step examination of the art, aimed at the advanced student or professional animator who already knows the basics. The principles she discusses can apply to any technique (CG, Flash, stop motion, etc.) and she has packed the book with ample examples of her own animation, as well as classic comic strips, commercial art and movie stills to illustrate her points.’
Jerry Beck,

‘A beautiful 234-page instructional text that should inspire both beginners and long-term experts in animation. Packed with amusing illustrations, inspiring anecdotes and lively examples, Beiman’s book acts as the kind of teacher we all wish we had in school.’
Animation Magazine, October 2010

‘Nancy Beiman's new book Animated Performance should find a place on the bookshelf of anyone who creates character based work, whether it's animation, illustration, comic art, writing or portraiture.’
Elliot Cowan,

‘If I had to select one book, today, that I would recommend people read to learn about the art of animation, I’d probably pick Nancy Beiman’s latest tome. It’s a bona fide gem. This book does as its title suggests, it shows you how to get a *performance* out of your characters.’
Michael Sporn,

‘Nancy Beiman's Animated Performance is a personal, professional and historical introduction to the animation process. It's top notch primer. In fact, I would recommend first time animation students begin with this text (and Miyazaki's Starting Point) before proceeding to Tony White or Halas & Whittaker and then Williams. Right there you'd have a solid three year course of study.’
Asterisk Animation, August 2010

'Animated Performance offers a comprehensive study of movement in animation. The book covers basic concepts, such as lip sync, character analysis and motivation, but also delves further into topics of contemporary concern, such as varying languages and their effect on mouth movement, as well as approaches to masculinity and femininity. Highly recommended for all film libraries and readers high school level and up.'
Animation Journal, Volume 18, 2010

'[Nancy Beiman's] imagination-based exercises are where this book really shines. They're great. Every five or 10 pages, Nancy adds a clear, concise, well-planned and thoughtful exercise that directly relates to the preceding text. They are the kind of exercises that appear to have been developed by an excellent teacher after years of hands-on knowledge in the classroom. I'd love to try them all.'
Fran Krause, Animation World Network, October 2010

‘Toon town veteran and animation teacher Beiman delivers a well-designed (both aesthetically and functionally) and indispensable resource in this primer volume. In its 200-plus pages you’ll find tons of information on the study of movement in animation, from lip synching to character analysis and motivation. Beiman guides you through the principles of designing motion with a level of care and knowledge you’d be hard pressed to find in many how-tos – grab a pack of gold star stickers to keep on your desk and you may as well have a personal toon tutor.

Animation magazine

Book Description

Animated Performance discusses the fascinating process of bringing animated characters to life. This unique introduction to the art of animated performance explores the power of animation to portray an almost unlimited variety of characters.


Animator Nancy Beiman demonstrates how animators need not be constrained by the bodily limitations that restrict human actors. Students will learn how species, weight, and design affect character actions, so that no two character performances are ever alike.


The book also examines the ways in which an individual character’s movements vary with the emotional or narrative context. Hundreds of thumbnail drawings show how cloth, paper, wood, stone, animal, invertebrate, winged, aquatic and mechanical beings can live and move without losing their non-human qualities.


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Product Details

  • Series: Required Reading Range
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: AVA Publishing (September 15, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 2940373817
  • ISBN-13: 978-2940373819
  • Product Dimensions: 8.7 x 1 x 11.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #457,319 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Hello, all. So you want to know about me? I am a professional cartoonist and illustrator who has lived and worked in England, France, Germany, Denmark,Australia and the USA. I've worked for major animation studios and also run my own company. Lately I've discovered that I prefer teaching to working in the studio system and have also become a book illustrator. I am teaching storyboard at Sheridan College in Oakville, Ontario.My first book PREPARE TO BOARD (Focal Press, 2007), is the standard text on storyboarding for feature and short animated films. A second edition has just been published in 2012 and contains much new material, including work by some of my students at Sheridan. My second book, ANIMATED PERFORMANCE, was published in July, 2010 by AVA Press.

A new and greatly expanded edition of Animated Performance will be published in 2015 by Bloomsbury Press.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Brett McCoy on October 18, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
There are plenty of books written on character design, and there also plenty of books written on animation. What Nancy Beiman has done with her new book, "Animated Performance" is bridge these two aspects of animation production. This book shows that animation is more than just the technical aspects of timing, stretch & squash, walk cycles, etc (which have been covered in great detail by Tony White, Richard Williams, Preston Blair, and many others). Further, the book shows that character design doesn't just stop with the turnaround and the model sheet -- the true design of the character is shown in how it performs on the screen, otherwise it's just flat and mechanical.

The hefty volume is packed with detail and terrific, color artwork and delves deep into the art of bringing animated characters to life. What I like best about this book is that she spends a great deal of time focusing on non-human characters. Many other animation books focus on things like four-legged walks and similar topics for animals, but Nancy goes way beyond this and provides great instruction on making animals *perform*. And that's the real theme of the book -- performance! Not just acting, not just animating, but performing.

There are also lots of exercises so you can apply what you have learned. The best way to self-study is to draw draw and draw, and that's what these exercises get you doing, starting with a daily sketchbook and learning how to observe. The book is a large format and opens flat, so you can have out it on your lap or desk while drawing (the best way to study this book!)

This book applies to all animation styles, not just hand-drawn Disney-style animation -- the principles apply to 2D & 3D digital animation, stop-motion and cut-out animation, too.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. LaFlamme on November 9, 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A combination instructional (exercises), interviews, and analysis for aspiring animators. Contains some (200+) great production sketches & drawing series.
Touches on some key principles. Not fluff or stuff you've read before (novice) but rather insightful, original & honest insight for someone with experience.
Has a nice focus on acting (hence the title) of people (different sizes / ages) & animals. Isn't that what animation is?
Comprehensive enough while keeping it under 250 pages. A textbook on becoming an animator (here's what you should consider ...).
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Rose Keefe VINE VOICE on November 17, 2010
Format: Paperback
In her latest work, veteran animator Nancy Beiman proves that when it comes to character expression through movement, an artist's only limit is their ingenuity. Although the contents are aimed at animators, they're invaluable to anyone involved in character creation, whether it be cartooning, illustration, or even fiction writing.

"Animated Performance" is a richly colored, beautifully-illustrated volume that both beginning artists and industry stalwarts will find inspiring. Nancy uses examples, insights, and exercises to vividly demonstrate what it takes to add that extra dimension of life to fictional characters. As you delve further into the book, your appreciation for the difference between good and great character development becomes more refined.

Other books show you what to build: this one explains what you need to make the audiences come.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By sam cornell on May 21, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The wonderful professor Nancy Beiman has written and illustrated "Animated Performance", THE VERY BEST BOOK I've seen on the art of animation. Animation is about acting and in these pages are profound examples of the how and why great cartoon characters come to life and communicate with us.
Filled with Ms. Beiman's delightful drawings, inspiring text, and practical exercises,"Animated Performance" will lift the aspiring artist to the levels needed to perform professionally. Included throughout are interviews with some of the great animators of all time.
This is truly a beautiful book but,hey,get it off your coffee table and put it on your drawing board where it counts!
I'd think the only thing better than owning "Animated Performance" would be a seat in Nancy Beiman's classroom at Sheridan Tech, Ontario.
Sam Cornell
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By T. Hodge on January 2, 2011
Format: Paperback
Nancy has put together a most excellent 'How to' book! But it stands out from the majority of others in that it is not for the beginner. It's a perfect follow up volume for Eric Goldberg's "Character Animation Crash Course" which concerns mostly timing. Nancy delves into the subtleties of creating believable performances, whether you're working in drama or comedy, and whether your character is humanoid,quadraped or amorphous in physiognomy. She cuts to the heart of what motivates your acting.
In short, get this book!
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