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Brilliant Starting Point,
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This review is from: Digital Character Animation 2, Vol.1 Essential Techniques: Digital Character Animation Book 2: Essential Techniques v. 1 (Paperback)
This book is excellent for anyone who is already familiar with their 3D package and aware of its capabilities and limitations.
You find that once you've grasped the technicalities of the software, you still have to figure out how all these techniques are brought together, which is where this book comes in. It takes you through the advantages and disadvantages of various modelling techniques, as well as explaining the fundamentals of mesh deformations, morphing and forward and inverse kinematics.
As an overall primer to digital animation, this really is a great starting point.