Anisotropy is closely related to the formability of sheet metal and should be considered carefully for more realistic analysis of actual sheet metal forming operations. In order to better describe anisotropic plastic properties of aluminum alloy sheets, a planar anisotropic yield function which accounts for the anisotropy of uniaxial yield stresses and strain rate ratios simultaneously was proposed recently. This yield function was used in the finite element simulations of cup drawing tests for an aluminum alloy 2008-T4. Isotropic hardening with a fixed initial back stress based on experimental tensile and compressive test results was assumed in the simulation. The computation results were in very good agreement with the experimental results. It was shown that the initial back stress as well as the yield surface shape have a large influence on the prediction of the cup height profile. (C) 1998 Elsevier Science S.A. All rights reserved.