Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Book Review: Cartoon Character Animation with Maya

There are a lot of animation books about animating in Maya. Some of these read like recipe books, giving step-by-step instructions of what settings to use to get the desired effect or look. Reading this type of books can be like reading a manual. You pick up a few tricks here and there, but it's not a "good read."

I'm happy to say that this is not the case with Keith Osborn's book, "Cartoon Character Animation with Maya," from Bloomsbury Publishing. It's well written and includes color photos from current animated features, which Osborn uses to explain different concepts from planning shots to designing readable poses.

Media of Cartoon Character Animation with MayaThis informative book is for animators who have some Maya experience and want to take it to the next level. I definitely could have used this book when I was first working in Maya. The author is an animator and animation instructor who begins with 2D concepts like the 12 principles of animation and then applies them to 3D animation. From planning to posing to polish, you'll learn how to break down breakdowns, take the terror out of tangent types and even overcome the oft-feared graph editor. 

Every step of the process is covered including how to incorporate multiple limbs, smears, motion lines and staggers seamlessly into your animation. A lot of classic cartoon techniques have been incorporated for you to add to your own creations. 

The book contains many interviews full of insight and animation advice from animators such as Ken Duncan, T. Dan Hofstedt, Matt Williames, Pepe Sanchez, Ricardo Jost Resende and Jason Figliozzi

Osborn also includes several bonuses:
  • Video tutorials for several chapters 
  • Several useful Maya scripts
  • "Mr. Buttons," a free character rig
  • And a finished film, "Blind_Date," that features Mr. Buttons.
Mr. Osborn sent the following link for this posting. If you're looking for a good resource for exploring character animation in Maya, this is the book for you. It's well worth the price of admission.

Keith Osborn's current demo reel...
Cartoon Character Animation with Maya
08 October 2015, Paperback

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