Whether you want to learn animation as a hobby or as a career, there are numerous courses and schools available for enrollment. You can, however, learn the basics online without spending any money by following tutorials and step-by-step guides. With websites dedicated to the different types of animations and free software to get you started, you only need dedication and perseverance to learn the necessary skills required. Learning the basics online also gives you a greater understanding of how animation work and whether you want to pursue this field further professionally, before you invest money in accredited courses.
Traditionally, 2-D animation was done by hand, which was a time consuming process. Nowadays, software, such as Flash makes it much easier to create animations by automating many of the steps. Creating 2-D animations doesn't require as much technical knowledge as 3-D animation, but there is still a learning curve involved, especially if you are not used to creating your drawings digitally. Sites such as Hscripts and SmartWebby offer tutorials on creating digital 2-D animations. Although Flash is the most common 2-D animation software, free alternatives such as Synfig Studio or software with trial versions such as TV Paint are also available. Sites such as UDMEY are available to walk you through the basics, such as the laws of animation and the animation process (links in Resources).
Creating 3-D animations are less time intensive than 2-D animations and allow you more control. It is also easier to change the angle and lighting as the computer performs all the calculations instead of requiring you to draw everything yourself. If done correctly, 3-D animations are also more realistic than their 2-D counterparts. To perform 3-D animations you don't necessarily have to know how to create the models, although it will certainly help. Sites such as Animation Arena (link in Resources) cover the basics of 3-D animation, while you will find detailed tutorials on the free 3D tutorials website (link in Resources.) CGMasters (link in Resources) offers video tutorials as well as the project files for Blender, so that you can recreate the animations yourself.
Stop Motion Animation
Creating stop motion animation is very time intensive, but if done well, the results are worth the effort. The SocialTimes website (link in Resources) features some examples and inspiration to get you started, while the NFB website (link in Resources) has step-by-step lessons with videos to get you on the right track. Visit the Digital Photography School website (link in Resources) for more free tips on making your own stop motion video. The Stop Motion Animation Website (link in Resources) also includes plenty of video tutorials and tips for beginners.
It is important that you have the right tools and equipment at your disposal when learning animation, or you might end up frustrated and discouraged. The tools you require depend on the type of animation that you want to learn. For 2-D animation you can get away with a slower computer, as it is not as processor intensive as 3-D animation, but a pen tablet can make your life easier. 3-D animation requires a powerful computer with 3-D card to speed up rendering times, while for stop motion animation, a modest computer and digital camera will suffice.
- Photo Credit AdamGregor/iStock/Getty Images
- Hscripts: Video Tutorial Index
- Smartwebby: Flash Animation Tutorials
- Udemy: 2D Animation - A Comprehensive Guide to the Fundamentals
- Animation Arena: Introduction to 3D Animation
- Free 3D Tutorials: Animation Tutorials
- CG Masters: Free Tutorials
- Social Times: So You Want to Make Stop Motion- Tips From a Stop Motion Extraordinaire
- National Film Board: Stop-Motion Animation Workshop
- Digital Photography School: 5 Tips for Making a Stop Motion Video
- Storm the Castle: Stop Motion Animation Limitless Creativity
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