It features 50 tutorials (or "recipes") about creating a full character rig in Blender and animating it in a fluid and convincing way. It covers from the basic rig and animation principles until more advanced subjects like the NLA Editor to mix animated sequences, using the AniSculpt technique to make refinements and tips for animated acting and lip sync.
There is one subject deliberately out of this book: creating scripted user interfaces using the Python API, since there wasn't enough space to fully cover it.
By making fun of himself, the actor James Van der Beek gives some funny animation references for facial expressions.
Just remember that those are intended to be funny and exaggerated cliches. So, just analyse the principles behind them (after all, that's easier to do when they're exaggerated) and apply the right amount on your scenes. ;)
Another exercise for the book. Here, Otto runs to kick the ball and for the glory of his team. The exercise talks about the workflow of creating this action, focusing on creating the Extreme and Breakdown poses, Timing adjustment, Overlapping Action and tracking of arcs.
It's a pretty short action, but has many animation principles applied to it.
For a long time (back in 2006 I was asking for it on CGTalk) I wanted this kind of functionality for Blender. Now, the artist Ivo Grigull is working on a constraint that adds this "spring" motion effect - great for applying the follow through animation principle. Look and start drooling:
Long time away from here... First a broken hand, then rushing to finish all the work.
About work, here's a sample of what I'm covering in my book on Rigging and Character Animation with Blender. All exercises on the book will come with two source files: one with all necessary to start and another with the finished result for reference.
This one covers the principles of body mechanics and weight lifting. The character (Otto 2.0, soon to be released) is made using the techniques covered on the book:
In visual effects, there is a general rule that "the best FX are the ones you can't see". I'm sure that Mango will be a very challenging project, and I show below an outstanding making of the HBO's miniseries John Adams. Notice the great attention to details, giving us images in which is almost impossible to distinguish what is captured by the cameras from what was created by visual effects artists: