Eric Goldberg's Character Animation Crash Course - A Review

Well I finally got around to perusing Eric Goldberg's great new animation book. This is definitely one for the pantheon of great character animation books. I put it on my must have list for any serious student of the craft: along with the Illusion of Life, Richard William's Animators Survival Kit and the Preston Blair books. If you have these you pretty much don't need much else.

The best thing by far with Eric's book is the included DVD which includes clips illustrating each animation concept. It really helps to see all the various animation concepts so clearly articulated on paper and then see them in motion. I thought it was brilliant that he also put the charts on the dvd clips so you could figure out the timing as you stepped thru each clip.

Most of the material has been covered in the other books mentioned above but it is always good to have another reiteration of the rules of good cartoony animation. I always discover something new either when re-reading these books or getting a fresh new take like Eric's on the subject. I think the chapter on dialog is especially good, since pretty much the only other info out there is pretty much just a couple of pages in the Preston Blair books. Unfortunately if a young animator just follows the Blair examples the results are usually not pretty. Eric shows how it is important to figure out the accents and how to properly figure out what is important for the dialog to read. He makes clear that the lips are the last thing to think about and that acting and body attitude are much more important. But he doesn't give short shrift to the actual lip sync and has several tips that will help any mouth action look better and animate more smoothly.

At the end of the day this book is chock a block with great little animation tips that are sure to set your animation above the run of the mill. If you haven't added it to your animation library go and order it today. Now I can't wait for Eric's book on directing, whenever that comes out.

-hoops

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