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Top 10 Animation Books for Beginners Pursuing Animation 

A lot of people are intrigued by animation these days. Animation has become a field of interest in itself. People who are creative are drifting towards pursuing animation as a career. Not only is it interesting, but also animators are highly paid professionals as animation isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. 

There are full-time animation courses available for people who wish to learn animation in-depth including all the tips and tricks. So, here’s a list of the top 10 animation books beginner animators can opt for. 

1. The Freelance Manifesto - A Field Guide for the Modern Motion Designer

The Freelance Manifesto: A Field Guide for the Modern Motion Designer -  Video Dailymotion

Author - Joey Korenman - 2017 

Motion designing is all about beautifying posters, boards, videos through the use of stunning animation. That’s what Motion Designers are amazing at! However, the difficult part is paving the path for a career in the right direction while getting the flexibility, freedom and right amount of money for it. All of this is possible if you’re ready to take the plunge into the world of freelancing. 

School of Motion founder Joey Korenman worked for different Motion Graphics Software Design roles, and later realized that not only he enjoyed more autonomy as a freelancer, but also higher pay, more creativity and less stress. Since then, he’s been teaching hundreds of students from his book while encouraging them to become a six-figure freelancer. 

In this comprehensive guide, he shares his experiences and advice as a motion designer on how to break from the 9-5 cycle and become a full-time freelancer. 

The Freelance Manifesto is divided into two clear parts. The first talks about the benefits, goals, myths and realities of freelancing, whereas the second offers a five-step guide to upcoming freelancers on how to start and nurture a freelance business involving making contacts, making a deal, thereby becoming a lucrative company. 

This book is perfect for anyone who’s exhausted by working long hours and low-paying gigs, and wishes to rediscover themselves as a freelancer. 

Buy on Amazon - The Freelance Manifesto: A Field Guide for the Modern Motion Designer: Korenman, Joey: 9781619616714: Books

2. The LEGO Animation Book - Make Your Own Lego Movies

I wrote a book! The LEGO Animation Book preview & book tour announcement -  YouTube

Author - David Pagano & David Pickett

Many of us must be familiar with Lego creations as a childhood toy. But, did you ever wonder how they would look on the big screen?

The LEGO Animation book teaches how to bring your Lego models to life using stop-motion animation, without any prior knowledge or experience. It’s a step-by-step guide for creating animations, while exploring the complete filmmaking process, right from storyboards to post-production. 

The book instructs how to:

  • Create special effects such as flying minifigures and explosions 
  • Design sets for animation 
  • Convey emotion and action using minifigure actors 
  • Add detail and scope to your videos by building a variety of scales
  • Light, capture and frame photos
  • Build rigs and camera dollies from LEGO bricks
  • Pick software, camera and other necessary animation tools

Buy on Amazon - The LEGO Animation Book: Make Your Own LEGO Movies!: Pagano, David, Pickett, David: 9781593277413: Books 

3. The Art of Incredibles 2 

The Art of Incredibles 2' & Other Pixar 'Incredibles 2' Books Popping up on  Amazon | Pixar Post

By Karen Paik, Brad Bird, John Lasseter 

This book dives deep into the world of the Incredibles and explores Pixar’s much-anticipated sequel via enthusiastic character sketches, colourful artwork, attractive colourscripts, and engaging storyboards. It goes into detail about the stunning production art as well as intriguing details about the making of the movie. 

The Art of Incredibles 2 also offers insight into the artistic production process behind Pixar's creative eye. 

Buy on Amazon - The Art of Incredibles 2: (Pixar Fan Animation Book, Pixar’s Incredibles 2 Concept Art Book): 9781452163840: Paik, Karen, Bird, Brad, Lasseter, John: Books

4. Acting for Animators - 4th Edition by Ed Hooks 

Acting for Animators: 4th Edition eBook : Hooks, Ed: Kindle Store

The 4th Edition of Acting for Animators is an acting guide that has been thoroughly revised for animators. In this book, Ed Hooks uses classic acting techniques such as Aristotle and Stanislavsky, and explains character analysis, facial expressions, physical movement as well as scene structure. He talks directly to animators, instead of stage actors. 

Acting for Animators is perfect for beginners and a valuable reference for experts as well. Following are the latest additions to this edition:

  • 6 new scene-by-scene acting analyses of animated films such as Zootopia and The Little Prince 
  • An analysis of Walt Disney’s popular 1935 memo to Don Graham on how to train animators 
  • How to perform visual references 
  • A new chapter on Virtual Reality
  • A database of all Ed’s film analyses that has been done so far

Buy on Amazon - Acting for Animators: 4th Edition: Hooks, Ed: 9781138669123: Books

5. Producing Animation 3e 

Animation: 3D/CGI - Into Film

Author - Catherine Winder, Zahra Dowlatabadi and Tracey Miller - Zarneke 

The third edition of Producing Animation is a clear guide for both professionals and students covering the entire production process of concept to screen while mentioning the producer’s role at each stage. 

This edition provides fresh details on the latest inventions along with insights on key subjects from industry experts, case studies on content adaptation, sidebars on legal matters as well as the production experiences of animators and artists. 

Some of the main features of this book:

  • A comprehensive guide to pitching, identifying, developing and creating an animation using resources for production planning, budgeting, tracking, scheduling, delivering, tracking, distribution and marketing
  • Tools for the best production practices examined from the animation pipelines at various famous studios 
  • A unique selection of detailed experience, knowledge as well as advice from expert professionals on a variety of topics such as developing timeless characters, demonstrating an animated story in VR, etc
  • Different types of sample charts, planning & tracking production, tables & templates for structuring teams

Buy on Amazon - Producing Animation 3e: Winder, Catherine, Dowlatabadi, Zahra, Miller-Zarneke, Tracey: 9781138591264: Books

6. The Walt Disney Film Archives. The Animated Movies 1921-1968

THE WALT DISNEY FILM ARCHIVES Animated Movies 1921-1968 NIB Mickey MOUSE  Taschen | eBay

The Walt Disney Film Archives take us back to the ‘Golden Age of Animation’. This book covers Disney’s entire animation journey from the silent film era, through the first full-length feature Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) and Fantasia (1940) to few of his last masterpieces like Honey Tree and Winnie The Pooh (1966) as well as The Jungle Book (1967). 

It also includes around 1500 illustrations and essays by famous Disney experts. It further shares behind-the-scenes insights along with excerpts from conferences held with Walt and his team. 

Buy on Amazon - The Walt Disney Film Archives. The Animated Movies 1921–1968: Kothenschulte, Daniel, Lasseter, John, Merritt, Russell, Solomon, Charles, Allan, Robin, Ghez, Didier, Kaufman, J. B., Lüthge, Katja, Sibley, Brian, Maltin, Leonard, Johnson, Mindy, Smith, Dave, Platthaus, Andreas: 9783836552912: Books

7. Blender Eevee - The Guide to Real-Time Rendering with Blender 2.8

How to Render with EEVEE - Blender 2.8 Tutorial - BlenderNation

Author - Allan Brito

Blender Eevee is a highly-advanced render engine provided in Blender 2.8. The software allows you to create realistic images in a matter of a few seconds. 

Blender Eevee is the best book of animation where you’ll learn about Light, Light Probes, Rendering for Images & Animation, Materials, Indirect Lights, PBR materials. Also, it teaches how to create transparent materials, nodes for materials, Environmental lights with HDR maps as well as effects such as depth of field. 

Blender Eevee: The guide to real-time rendering with Blender 2.8: Brito, Allan: 9781689108256: Books

8. Warner Bros. Animation Art 

Artist Warner Brothers Limited Edition Animation Cel

Authors - Warner Brothers, Will Friedwald, Jerry Beck

Warner Bros shares its archives for researchers to learn the history of its most popular characters like Bugs Bunny, Tweety Pie, Daffy Duck, Taz, Elmer Fudd, Porky Pig and Yosemite Sam, while detailing modern-day characters including the animated Batman, Animaniacs and Tiny Toons. 

The book dives into the history of these characters and the people who created them. It also tells the story of Warner Bros inception, and how it became such a huge name. 

It also features photographs of the animators, designers and technicians at work along with reproduction of original animation cells and the limited edition prints. 

Buy on Amazon - Warner Bros. Animation Art: Warner Brothers, Friedwald, Will, Beck, Jerry: 9780883633601: Books

9. Character Design Quarterly 3 

New Arrivals :: Character Design Quarterly 19

The third edition of Character Design Quarterly presents the latest tips and tricks for professional designers, illustrators, concept artists, students as well as animation enthusiasts. 

In this book, top industry experts explain the way they come up with ideas as well as the workflows they use to create stunning designs and character concepts. 

Buy on Amazon - Character Design Quarterly 3: Visual Development | Illustration | Concept Art: 3dtotal Publishing: 9781909414570: Books

10. Cinematics Storyboard Workshop - Filmmaking Essentials for the Entry-level Storyboard Artist by Gregg Davidson

Buy Cinematics Storyboard Workshop: Filmmaking Essentials for the  Entry-Level Storyboard Artist Book Online at Low Prices in India | Cinematics  Storyboard Workshop: Filmmaking Essentials for the Entry-Level Storyboard  Artist Reviews & Ratings -

Cinematics Storyboard Workshop is for 3d animation software for beginners who wish to learn to create professional-quality and production-ready storyboards for animation, film, television and video game creators. 

Written by artist Gregg Davidson, this handbook is an in-depth guide of fundamentals of storyboarding from storyboard mechanics and camera angles to staging and shot progression, along with digital storyboarding and previsualization practices. 

Buy on Amazon - Cinematics Storyboard Workshop: Filmmaking Essentials for the Entry-Level Storyboard Artist: 9781624650413: Davidson, Gregg: Books

Final Words

Animation is a vast concept, and involves a lot of techniques and tools for creating an animated video. I hope you find this article useful enough while looking for the top animation books for learning the history, and more importantly tips and tricks of making an eye-catching animated video. 

“What we love most about animation is, it’s a team sport, and everything we do is about pure imagination.”


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