Animated Performance

Review: Nancy Beiman’s absolute classic gets a refresh – and it's a must-have for all artists!

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Our Verdict

Nancy Beiman’s iconic study benefits from an update, but its basic principles remain thankfully intact.

For

  • Re-vamp of must-read instructional manual
  • Extended content
  • 38 drawing exercises

Nancy Beiman has an impressive animation pedigree, having worked at six major studios. She’s also a professor at Sheridan College in Oakville, Canada. And it’s this combination of experience, insider knowledge and teaching ability that made Animated Performance – her 1998 instructional manual – a must-read for animation students. 

This second edition is newly revised, updated and extended, but the central premise remains. Beiman asks you to consider how to ‘get a performance’ out of your characters, seeing the skill of the animator as ‘an actor with a pencil’. Your aim should not be to replicate live action, but to enable your characters to creatively transcend the confines of the physical world to enhance the audience’s enjoyment.

Beiman asks you to consider how to ‘get a performance’ out of your characters, seeing the skill of the animator as ‘an actor with a pencil’.

Tom May

It’s the starting gun for a series of lessons in character movement, beginning with the classic bouncing ball and pendulum exercises, before moving through the concepts of line of action, silhouettes, anticipation, squash and stretch. Sprinkled with a lifetime’s worth of tips from Hollywood mentors, and including 38 drawing exercises, this 240-page book feels like the teacher you wish you’d had at animation school.

The Verdict

10

out of 10

Animated Performance

Nancy Beiman’s iconic study benefits from an update, but its basic principles remain thankfully intact.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Tom May is a freelance writer and editor specialising in design and technology. He was previously associate editor at Creative Bloq and deputy editor at net magazine, the world's best-selling magazine for web designers. Over two decades in journalism he's worked for a wide range of mainstream titles including The Sun, Radio Times, NME, Heat, Company and Bella.