Animals in Motion, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Dover Publications Inc.
  • Publication Date:
  • Category: Animal physiology
  • ISBN: 9780486202037

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Muybridge's work has been called "one of the great monuments of 19th century photography" and almost everybody has seen bits of it even if they're not aware of the author. The sequential photos in these two volumes illustrate dozens of types of actions from different angles, making them, still today, an industry reference for artists, animators, art directors, etc.The Human Figure presents subjects in the nude, so that muscles are visible. They are male, female, elderly, babies, performing 163 types of action shot from front, rear and three-quarter. Cycles (walk, run...) are presented in full. Animals in Motion particularly focuses on the horse (and doesn't just show but also explains the different gaits) but also has plates for 32 other creatures, among which dogs, the elephant, small and big cats, the sloth, kangaroo, eagle and ostrich!When I worked in an animation department, both books were prominent on our reference bookshelf, and I later purchased Animals in Motion for myself: as an illustrator it is still priceless to me. Human references are easy to find online if necessary (as long as I don't need a motion sequence), but it is harder to find exactly the position you need for an animal, so the book spares me much fruitless searching. The lighting in the pictures also really helps me with shading when I'm not bound to a different source of light.A drawback of both books is that the photography being so old is not always very clear: it can be hard to make out the muscle lines or, at odd angles, the exact contours. There are also no plunging or upwards shots: all photos have a level perspective. This means a certain proficiency with drawing bodies in space is useful to fill these gaps, and beginners may find it frustrating at times. Just remember this is not a book to teach you to draw, but a reference book. Horse artists in particular will find it indispensable.

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