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Character Animation Crash Course! Paperback – July 15, 2008

4.7 out of 5 stars 68 customer reviews

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  • Character Animation Crash Course!
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  • The Animator's Survival Kit: A Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion and Internet Animators
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Editorial Reviews


Best known for designing the Genie in Disney's Aladdin, Goldberg is a cartoon-comedy mater who's crafted a terrific how-to. This is not a coffee-table tome but a textbook, full of technical detail. There's plenty to engage casual browsers, though. As he diagrams what makes great 'toons tick, whether hand-drawn or CG - the physics of double takes, the best way to splat a face into an immovable object - Goldberg will leave you bug-eyed at the intricacy of the medium. A- --Entertainment Weekly, September 19, 2008

From the Author

Foreword When I first started making films, books about character animation were rare, and most were written from the distant, historical perspective of an observer. Of the meager handful of books that actually discussed how to do animation, only two were really good: Walt Disney's Tips On Animation from the Disneyland Art Corner and the classic Advanced Animation by Preston Blair. In the half century since, many animation books have been written, but still few are considered indispensable to people interested in doing animation themselves. To that exclusive club we must add the book you now hold in your hand: Character Animation Crash Course. Among Eric's many achievements is the "Friend Like Me" sequence from Walt Disney Pictures' Aladdin, a chunk of pure cartoon magic so dense that it can be enjoyed two ways: at regular speed or one frame at a time... where every aspect of Eric's astonishing embellishments, caricature, and razor-sharp timing can be savored like fine wine. In this jam-packed book and CD Eric will show you the rules for getting the most out of your animation. If you learn them well, you'll be good. If you can internalize these rules to the point where you can call upon them without thinking, you'll be exceptional. And if you learn them as well as Eric, you might even be able to successfully break a few of these rules and add to cumulative knowledge of how to make pencil lines (or pixels, clay, stop-motion models, etc.) come to life. You might even become accomplished enough to write the next great animation book. Good thing the rest of us don't have to wait until then. We have this terrific book right now. Brad Bird -- Writer / Director, The Iron Giant, The Incredibles, Ratatouille

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 218 pages
  • Publisher: Silman-James Press; Paper/DVD edition (July 15, 2008)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1879505975
  • ISBN-13: 978-1879505971
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 7.8 x 9.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (68 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,962 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Dane Romley on August 8, 2008
Format: Paperback
This book is without a doubt one of the best how to animations books out there. Believe me there are many others but the fact that it was written and fully illustrated by master animator Erik Goldberg makes this an absolute must have. His drawings just pop off the page with life and it is very inspirational to look at. Goldberg takes a different approach to teaching animation because here he assumes you already know the basics and shows you how to make your animation come to life with style and fluidity. It's different from say the Richard Williams book The Animator's Survival Kit because in this book it covers things like walk cycles and what not but in a more technical way. Don't get me wrong that's a wonderful book as well, but Goldberg expands on what Williams did. An example would be Williams talks about mouth shapes but Goldberg shows how and when the shapes should be used effectively; such as hitting accents with a bigger shape and pose. This is not for someone who is just starting out but more for someone who knows a little already and wants to improve to the next level. I've been a professional animator for years and nothing has helped me more than this book. I would highly recommend this book to students of animation and working professionals. The golden age isn't dead yet!
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Format: Paperback
When I went to animation college 10 years ago, there were NO books to instruct you on actually HOW to practice weight balance, mass and volume in your character animation tests. Plenty of old books existed with great artwork, with the exception of Preston Blair's book Cartoon Animation (The Collector's Series) and later on (after I graduated) the great Richard William's book The Animator's Survival Kit. But there was nothing to actually show you step by step the principles of posing, timing and movement for hand-drawn animation, Richard's book had some nice technical stuff for walk cycles and timing, but Goldberg's book is a first for really outlining the basics efficiently.

This book IS the first and best book to lay out the principles of character movement; antics, overshoots, settles, squash and stretch, break downs, in-betweeing, timing, spacing and all the other basics needed for any classical or CG animator.

I highly recommend this book to all students, teachers and even veterans, because not only does it cover all the fundamentals but it goes beyond into more advanced concepts that ALL types of animators must know and practice, whether it be 3D, traditional paper, or stopmotion animation, this book is definitely worth it.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Animation is an insanely broad topic. Far too huge to ever cover in one book. Listening to master animators on "The Animation Podcast" and else reveals that everyone's approach to this artform is different. And yet most animation books cover the same content.

For many years, Richard Williams' The Animator's Survival Kit has been the gold standard of animation books, and rightfully so. Lucky for us, fellow animation guru Eric Goldberg's "Character Animation Crash Course" isn't just overlap from Williams' work and teaches us different aspects of animation that other books haven't covered.

Goldberg covers aspects of animation far less academically than Williams and rather focuses on things from a character standpoint, how you could apply a technique to a specific character. He also list several classic cartoons (most if not all of which are on DVD) for examples of each particular technique.

He also covers how control the overall shape volume of what's moving, even for flat, graphic characters, and goes in depth on animation "gimmicks" like smear drawings, zip lines, staggers etc... that are often mentioned, but never properly explained.

Probably the most informative part of the book for me was the section on character construction, covering many of the ins and outs of designing an animatable character that I haven't seen in other books.

"Character Animation Crash Course" also has the one big thing "Animator's Survival Kit" doesn't: A CD-ROM of the animations shown that you can watch and frame through to better understand the lessons in the book.
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This book by esteemed Disney animator Eric Goldberg is a must-have in your animation library. There are a lot of books out there which are hundreds of pages long and seem to have a lot of information in them, but the actual meat of the lessons get lost in history lessons and fluff. Not in this book: lessons are simple, clear, concise, heavily illustated, and even animated by Eric on the included dvd! This is a godsend to animation students and teachers -- it's like having a pro animator at your side to give the lesson and then show it to you animated to confirm you are "getting it". I am an animation pro and have taught for years, and I think this is a great book for students (can't beat the price!) and also for pros who like to see an individual animator's way of working. This is pure "school of Eric Goldberg". Now you will know his secrets!
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