Animated Performance

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

5 Star Rating

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

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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.

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The Verdict
10

out of 10

Animated Performance

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

Tom May is an award-winning journalist and editor specialising in design, photography and technology. Author of the Amazon #1 bestseller Great TED Talks: Creativity (opens in new tab), published by Pavilion Books, Tom was previously editor of Professional Photography magazine, associate editor at Creative Bloq, and deputy editor at net magazine. Today, he is a regular contributor to Creative Bloq and its sister sites Digital Camera World, T3.com and Tech Radar. He also writes for Creative Boom and works on content marketing projects.