Books for animators: review by Scott Claus

Books for animators Scott Claus sketches and doodles of human and animal forms art anatomy for sculptors

Scott Claus is the Animation Manager at CG Spectrum. With over two decades of animation experience—in production and teaching—Scott played an integral role in bringing CG Spectrum’s 2D animation courses to life.

He has worked in both 2D and 3D animation on iconic Disney films such as Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, and Hercules, and 3D blockbusters including The Hulk, Flushed Away, and The Golden Compass. Scott was also part of the Oscar-award-winning team on Life of Pi.

Scott uses Anatomy for Sculptors books in his everyday work as an animator and an animation manager at CG Spectrum. We asked him a few questions, and in this blog, we’ll share Scott’s insights on the Anatomy for Sculptors books’ usefulness for animators.

Q: Do you use the books often? How do they come into your workflow?

Yes, I have found the books invaluable; I keep them desk-side so I can quickly look through them as needed. It’s generally faster and more organic than doing a web search—I’d rather flip through pages to find what I need than look things up.

In terms of workflow, as an animator searching for reference, this search process happens at the “idea” stage first, then later while refining initial poses, and lastly, while doing a polish pass, making sure everything looks anatomically sound.

Books for animators Scott Claus sketches and doodles of human and animal forms art anatomy for sculptors

Sketches/doodles of various human and animal forms from his book Anomalous Too: Another Doodle-Ography  by Animator Scott Claus.

Q: Are there any examples of how Anatomy for Sculptors are useful books for animators?

I was discussing torso anatomy with a student who was doing a digital sculpt for an animation project, and we determined the student had something not quite correct in the serratus anterior muscles, but we weren’t sure. On page 48 of Anatomy For Sculptors, we found the evidence needed, the page entitled “Are these ribs?” With this information, the student was able to proceed with better anatomical structures.

Q: Is it essential for an animator to understand human anatomy?

Human anatomy is the fundamental building block of everything an artist does, including rendering inanimate objects; everything we look at is based on a “like us” or “not like us” series of checklists. Knowing how we’re composed as physical beings with balance, form, and mass, and sharing that knowledge in our art, so it is clear and readable to others, is the baseline from which nearly everything begins in art.

Q: What sets the Anatomy for Sculptors books apart from other anatomy references?

The real benefit is the emphasis on images over text—if there is too much text, a resource becomes stodgy, and if there is not enough text, it’s just a picture book. There’s a really nice balance of text and images in these books, making them accessible, attractive, and interesting.

If a user wants to delve more into information, it’s there, and if one wants to simply pore over the images, that alone makes a satisfying experience. The fusion of images and text in solid, attractively bound, and presented books makes them exceptional.

Q: Would you recommend the Anatomy for Sculptors books for animators?

I have already recommended them to friends and on social media. They have value to anyone in the arts, from traditional drawing, sculpting, and painting to motion studies.

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