Animation is an art form that has evolved rapidly over the years, but it still remains an extremely exciting profession to get into. The emergence of different software packages means that it’s more affordable to get your hands on starter animation software than ever. However, it’s always a good idea to get proper instruction and to understand the basics of what you’re doing.
There are lots of free courses and resources available online, you just have to know where to look. That’s just what we’ve done and compiled a list of 27 learning tools that will give you an in-depth understanding of various areas within animation and get you on the road to developing your own style. As an extra resource, we’ve added 20 books that will really help you on the path to becoming a professional animator.
Feel free to leave your own favourite resources in the comments. Happy Learning!
1) Pixar in a Box – A collaboration between Pixar Animation Studios and Khan Academy
2) The Elements of Drawing – from Oxford University
3) Art 020: Introduction to Drawing – from Penn St. University
4) Algorithms for Computer Animation – from MIT
5) Animation – TUFTS University
6) 3D Design – TUFTS University
7) Explore Animation – National Film and Television School
8) The Smart Animator: Free Maya Course – Vancouver Animation School
9) Narrative & Storytelling for Animation * – from School Of Computing Teesside University via Udemy
10) Character Design and Story Polish * – from School Of Computing Teesside University via Udemy
11) Introduction to 3D Animation with Autodesk Maya * – from School of Interactive Design via Udemy
12) Cinematography for 2D Animation Essentials *- Via Udemy
13) Get your animation Game Ready with Unity & Anime Studio Pro * – Via Udemy
14) Introduction To Clay Animation For Beginners * – Via Udemy
15) 2D Animation Essentials in Anime Studio Pro 11 * – Via Udemy
16) Fundamentals of Graphic Design** – from CALARTS
17) Character Design for Video Games ** – from CALARTS
18) Interactive Computer Graphics ** – from The University of Tokyo
* Free at time of Article Publication (4/24/16)
** Free for a full course without certification
1) Ctrl+Paint – Digital Painting Website
2) FZD School of Design – Excellent Youtube channel with loads of great tutorials
3) Scott Robertson Design – Another Youtube channel with fantastic tutorials and how-to video’s
4) Ross Draws – Toss Tran is a talented and funny designer that brings you through drawing various things.
5) Draw A Box – Subreddit with tonnes of lessons and instructions that will boost your drawing skills.
6) Ben Mauro – Design and digital sculpting tutorials by concept designer Ben Mauro.
7) Proko – Instructional How to Draw videos for artists
8) Art Cafe – Livestream is hosted by industry-leading conceptual designer Maciej Kuciara, known for projects such as Captain America: Civil War, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Guardians of the Galaxy and more.
9) Polycount Wiki – A complete list of all Gumroad Tutorials
While not free, these are some of the best books written on developing animation and illustration skills as well as understanding the principles of painting.
1) The Animator’s Survival Kit: A Manual of Methods, Principles and Formulas for Classical, Computer, Games, Stop Motion and Internet Animators – by Richard Williams
2) Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter – by James Gurney
3) Art Fundamentals: Color, Light, Composition, Anatomy, Perspective, and Depth – by Gilles Beloeil
4) Figure Drawing: Design and Invention – by Michael Hampton
5) How to Draw: drawing and sketching objects and environments from your imagination – by Scott Robertson
6) The Skillful Huntsman: Visual Development of a Grimm Tale at Art Center College of Design – by Khang Le
7) Imaginative Realism: How to Paint What Doesn’t Exist – by James Gurney
8) Creative Illustration – by Andrew Loomis
9) Framed Ink: Drawing and Composition for Visual Storytellers – by Marcos Mateu-Mestre
10) Figure Drawing for All It’s Worth – by Andrew Loomis
11) Sketching from the Imagination: An Insight into Creative Drawing – by 3dtotal Publishing
12) The Visual Story: Creating the Visual Structure of Film, TV and Digital Media – by Bruce Block
13) Drawing and Painting Fantasy Landscapes and Cityscapes – by Rob Alexander
14) Animals Real and Imagined: Fantasy of What Is and What Might Be – by Gilbert Banducci
15) Science of Creature Design: understanding animal anatomy – by Terryl Whitlatch
16) Alla Prima II: Everything I Know About Painting – by Richard Schmid with Katie Swatland
17) Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop – by Nykolai Aleksander
18) Beginner’s Guide to Digital Painting in Photoshop: Characters – by 3dtotal Publishing
19) The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation – by Ollie Johnston
20) The Manga Artist’s Workbook: Easy-to-Follow Lessons for Creating Your Own Characters – by Christopher Hart