CHARACTER ANIMATION FUNDAMENTALS: Developing Skills for 2D and 3D Character Animation is a wonderful book that is more of a technical overview of the skill of using high-end computer animation software to translate your illustrative designs into 3D models than artistic how-to.
This book covers the gamut from workshop and tools needed to a breakdown of the human (and animal) anatomy to the physical and facial movements of both. There are some chapters, I find, that are not as clear (or, perhaps, not as thorough?) as others who've written whole books specifically on the chapters that he addresses here. But, that is not to say that this book is lacking. I think this book excels when in the company of those books that were written to more closely address specific topics.
One other minor thought before I outline the book highlights. In chapter 1, author Steve Roberts introduces two (2) 3D animation programs that are widely respected and used throughout the animation industry: Maya and 3D Max.
There's nothing wrong with this but, for me, "Chapter 1" was way too early to introduce integrating 2D (illustrations) into any 3D software. That should have been saved for the later chapters. Roberts does this because in each chapter he addresses a topic then demonstrates how it may look as a pencil sketch then applying it to a 3D software. That point is clear, however, without starting out with just the basics then after completely establishing a reputable 2D foundation, it forces the reader to have to master 3D software that he or she may not have at the moment.
Ch. 1: Introduction To Animation. (Pp's 1-61)
* "How Animation Works"
* "What You Need For Your Studio"
* "The Twelve Principles Of Animation"
Ch. 2: Matter and The Animation of Inanimate Objects (Pp.'s 63-94)
-- The introduction and use of Frame rates and Key Frames.
(Although the chapter deals with inanimate objects, I strongly recommend Joseph Gilland's absolutely outstanding series on the subject. Volumes 1 and 2 of Elemental Magic, Volume I: The Art of Special Effects Animation. and Elemental Magic, Volume II: The Technique of Special Effects Animation (Animation Masters Title) )
Ch. 3: The Construction of A Simple Character. It's Articulation & Balance. (Pp's 95-158)
-- A detailed look at the human anatomy and its movement.
Ch. 4: Timing, Anticipation...Of The Animated Character. (Pp's 159-222)
-- Excellent chapter, but also recommended is Timing for Animation, Second Edition.
Ch. 5: Animation of Human Walks And Runs. (Pp's 223-244)
-- Excellent chapter, but also recommended is Tony White's How to Make Animated Films: Tony White's Complete Masterclass on the Traditional Principals of Animation
Ch. 6: Animation of Animal Walks and Runs (Pp's 245-274)
-- not all species, just the 4-legged mammal variety.
Ch. 7: Animation of Acting--Body Language (Pp's 275-328)
-- exaggerated stances and gestures.
Ch. 8: Animation of Acting--Facial Expressions (Pp's 329-370)
Ch. 9: Animation of Acting--Two or More Characters (Pp's 371-390)
Ch. 10: Lip-Sync. (Pp.s 391-413)
This is really a wonderful book. If you want to learn how to take your illustrations and use any--not just Maya or 3D Max--but FLASH or POSER or even TOON BOOM STUDIO look no further.