Amazon6Stars thinking of (getting into) animation? read this!
Reviewer: Nial McGaughey
April 27, 2009

Review from

While this book definitely hits all the important points about the discipline, craft and yes technical work of animation, it’s the ‘learning the ropes’ and theory portions of this book that really set it apart from anything else I have ever read on this subject, or many engineering or creative manuals for that matter. in a way, this book is more than just about 2D and CG, its subsections about theory and carrying yourself in a production environment are worth their weight in gold. I’d wager at least 60% of this book has application in many, many other creative fields such as computer programming, arts and creative fields not related to animation whatsoever. If you are cross-disciplinarian, this might just be your rosetta stone. or a good foundation for one. highly recommended.

  Educational book for animators with lots of industry tips
Reviewer: Parka
April 25, 2009
 Review from

Thinking Animation is a very well good read. The research is well done and is written with sincerity and a dose of humor.

The topics covered include the animation history, storytelling, creating good characters, technical and non-technical tips on animation and working in the animation industry. It covers enough ground and depth to make any animator more productive and knowledgeable.

The true value of this book is the quotes from multiple animation experts. They are almost on every page, dispensing useful tips and insight on animation, the career, the process. Oftentimes, they are pretty funny, since they are looking back at their work on hindsight.
There are over 70 pages of appendix. That goes to show how much research was done, and also how many people the authors Angie Jones and Jamie Oliff have spoken too.
Of particular note is the Animation Hall of Funny which contains many hilarious quotes which I should include some here:

  • “Make it bluer, because blue is more mysterious.”
  • “Are we worried about production or are we worried about making a movie?”
  • “I’m not sure what I want, but that’s not it.”
  • “Can you shift that half a frame south?”
  • “I want it to sound like nothing going through nothing”
  • “Show me the funny!”
  • “Make the animation a bit more ‘eek eek.’, You know,’eek eek?'”
  • Thinking Animation is recommended to new and professional animators, 2D or CG.
  • The authors have a blog by the same name. It’s constantly being updated with interesting stuff on animation.

Amazon6Stars  Great resource

Reviewer: B. Sueyoshi

January 23, 2007

Review from

“Thinking Animation” is a good overview and learning resource for anyone that wants to know how the magic of animation is made. It covers all the basic principles of animation, breaks them down and explains how they’re used. It’s not a step by step instruction manual of animation, though. If you’re an animation student, no matter what the medium: hand drawn animation, flash animation, 3D animation, stop motion animation, etc, this book is an excellent ‘textbook’ that covers just about everything.

Amazon6Stars  A must read for the modern animator.
Reviewer: Joel Fletcher
July 4, 2006
Review from

Being a professional animator, I was anxious to read this book. I finally got hold of a copy and was really impressed. The stage is set with a well-researched history of the dynamically changing world of animation. Then the title theme comes into play in a very authoritative explanation of the art and craft of CG animation, with its roots in the traditional methods. What I liked was that the techniques discussed are not limited to any particular software package. A smart decision by the authors, as this book is not likely to ever go out of date. Adding spice throughout the book are anecdotes by various pros in the business, which are often quite humorous.

Amazon6Stars  THINKING ANIMATION is a must read.  Serves up methods for bringing the chutzpah and finesse of the 2D tradition to the 3D world.
September 1, 2006
Reviewer: Sarah Gurman
Review from Animation Magazine
Addressing all animators from the traditional toon-heads who are dragging their feet into the digital age to the CG trailblazers who now have to hang with the new crossovers, Jones and Oliff explore all of the elements that add up to quality toons and take special care to recognize the innovators who pushed the medium to new levels over the years.

  Amazon6Stars Deals with a great deal more than animation, in either form, with humor and experience.
August 3rd, 2006 
Reviewer: Libby Reed 
Animation World Network Review

An introduction by Richard Taylor poses the question, “How does one become an animator who is adept at the latest technological advances, yet still create with the spirit and freedom of traditional hand-drawn animation?” Or as the authors put it “The Digital Age is here. No, seriously, put down that pencil or you’re fired.”

Amazon6StarsDig out that Toy Story piggy-bank because when you do get this book, I guarantee you will have wished you would have bought it sooner.
August 7, 2006
Reviewer: Paul Williams
Review from 10 Second Club

Here is just a few of the chapter titles just to entice you with: Plot and Premise, Growth and Character Arcs, Orchestration and Back Story, Storyboards, Animatics, and Pre-Viz, Memorable Characters, Flaws and Emotions, Character Bio, Stereotype vs Archetype, Believability and Credibility, Motivation, Design, Handling Textures, Thinking and Planning, Reference and Acting, Gesture and Thumbnails, Graph Editor, Posing and Layering, Breaking the Rig, Using Breakdowns, In-Betweening, Overlap and Secondary Motion, Creating Principal and Secondary Characters, CG tools, Pushing your Animation, Motion Capture and Acting, Body Structure, Psychological Gesture, Power Center, Workflow, Dailies, Communication, Mass Production and Outsourcing. This is just a sample of what’s packed into this book. No subject is glossed over, the text is well written in a clear and precise manner that can be applied instantly. Each subject includes contributions from well-known people in the field who explain how it works for them in the real world of animation, given the present circumstances in the industry.

Amazon6Stars.: Great Book : After reading the first paragraph of Chapter Two, the tip on that page almost made the book worth the price I paid!
August 24, 2006
Reviewer: Larry on myspace
Review from

I thought it was going to be Richard Williams’s style book but it wasn’t and in fact I’m kind of pleased. To me, it’s more like a book full of wise wisdom and tricks of the trade and really explains things in a clear cut way. If only I had this book when I first started out in the whole learning 3D thing 6 years ago this would have been my bible for deciphering most of the terms and understand what they really mean.

I really like the book has the point of views from different people and how they approach their work. A really insightful book and helpful for people who have a 2D background and going to a 3D one, as there are so many terms in 3D that you don’t find in 2D e.g. a graph editor and tweaking f curves. For those with a 3D background already I think a book will help achieve more from their 3D animation.

This book would have really helped me a lot when I did my dissertation called as it covers nearly every aspect I was talking about and would have saved me time, it was even helpful to see where Angie and Jamie had referenced their information from too.

All in all, I think for some people as soon as they see too much text it might put them off as after all animators/creative are visual people. But on the other hand if you’re passionate enough and want to learn from the best or knowledge that’s been passed down from animator to animator its a worthy buy and for me it’s been a worthy buy – a book fully loaded with knowledge and wisdom, what more could you want, it is like having the best animator sitting right next to you.

Amazon6StarsReally well written and interesting book.
May 12, 2007
Reviewer: CORE CC “Fed” (Johannesburg, Gauteng South Africa)
Review from

This book is just fantastic, it was such a pleasure to read that I really hoped it would not end.

I found it different from other books on the subject as it gives you an overview of most processes in animation and helped me solidify some concepts that I was not sure about. It’s not a technical book so don’t expect step by step tutorials, which I think it’s great as it wasn’t intended to be. It’s a book you can just enjoy on the couch without trying to follow and press buttons.

I recommend this book to really anyone who wants to have an inside look at the animation world, anyone who really wants to get to grip with the terms and concepts of animation.

Best chapter was the one on acting as it really supplied some stellar advice and ideas.

March 10, 2007
Reviewer: By K. P. Henry (Denver, CO)
Review from

An incredible source of insight and information even for a novice like me. The layout and flow make this an easy read, interesting, and useful.

The insight is just what I was looking for. Thanks to the authors and editors. A great book!

Amazon6StarsGreat Resource!
January 23, 2007
Reviewer: By B. Sueyoshi “animationCrazy” (Monterey Park, CA United States)
Review from

“Thinking Animation” is a good overview and learning resource for anyone that wants to know how the magic of animation is made.

It covers all the basic principles of animation, breaks them down and explains how they’re used. It’s not a step by step instruction manual of animation, though. If you’re an animation student, no matter what the medium: hand drawn animation, flash animation, 3D animation, stop motion animation, etc, this book is an excellent ‘text book’ that covers just about everything.