Learn the Basics of Animation with an Animation Course
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 7 min read


Are you interested in animation but don't know where to start? Taking an animation course may be the perfect first step to learning the fundamentals of animation. In this article, we will discuss the different aspects you need to consider when selecting the right course and the essential tools and software for animation. We will also explore the different animation techniques and how to develop your animation skills. By the end, you'll have a solid foundation on how to get started with animation.

Understanding the Fundamentals of Animation

Before diving into animation courses, it's essential to understand what animation is and the principles that govern the field. You'll also need to know about the history of animation to appreciate its development as an art form.

Animation is the process of creating the illusion of motion and change by rapidly displaying a sequence of static images that minimally differ from each other. This creates the illusion of continuous motion and is often used in films, television shows, and video games.

The History of Animation

The history of animation dates back to the early 1900s, where simple drawings were pieced together to create the illusion of movement. The first animated film was created by J. Stuart Blackton in 1906, called "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces." Since then, the animation industry has grown immensely, with the advent of technology allowing for more complex and realistic animations.

Animation has played a significant role in the entertainment industry, with animated films and television shows captivating audiences of all ages.

Types of Animation Techniques

There are various animation techniques to choose from, depending on your preference, style, and purpose. Traditional animation, also known as hand-drawn animation, involves creating each frame by hand. 2D animation involves creating characters and backgrounds in a two-dimensional space, while 3D animation involves creating characters and environments in a three-dimensional space. Stop-motion animation involves taking photographs of physical objects and moving them slightly between each shot to create the illusion of movement. Motion graphics involve using animated graphics to convey information or tell a story.

Each animation technique has its strengths and weaknesses, and it's up to you to choose what works best for your animation project.

The Principles of Animation

The principles of animation are the fundamental building blocks of creating compelling and captivating animations. These principles were first introduced by Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas in their book, "The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation."

Some of the principles include timing, which involves creating the illusion of movement through the timing and spacing of frames. Exaggeration involves exaggerating certain movements to make them more appealing and interesting to watch. Anticipation involves preparing the audience for an action before it happens, creating a sense of anticipation and excitement.

Other principles include squash and stretch, which involves exaggerating the shape of an object to create the illusion of weight and flexibility, and follow-through and overlapping action, which involves creating secondary movements that follow the primary movement to create a more realistic and natural-looking animation.

Understanding these principles takes you from creating simple motion to creating complex character animations. By mastering these principles, you can create animations that are not only visually stunning but also emotionally engaging.

Choosing the Right Animation Course

Now that you understand the fundamentals of animation, the next step is selecting the right animation course. Multiple factors go into choosing the right course that will give you value for your money and time.

Online vs. In-Person Courses

Deciding between an online and in-person animation course depends on your availability and preference. Online courses offer flexibility and convenience, while in-person courses provide the chance to interact with tutors and other students physically. The course format you choose is integral in ensuring you get the most out of your animation course.

If you are someone who has a busy schedule or lives in a remote area, an online course may be the best option for you. Online courses give you the freedom to learn at your own pace and on your own schedule. You can access the course material from anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. Additionally, online courses tend to be more affordable than in-person courses.

On the other hand, if you prefer face-to-face interaction with instructors and other students, an in-person course may be more suitable for you. In-person courses offer a more immersive learning experience, and you can ask questions and get feedback in real-time. You also have the opportunity to network with other students and build relationships that can be beneficial in your career.

Course Duration and Commitment

The duration of the course and the amount of time you have to commit is vital when choosing an animation course. Some courses may take weeks, months, or even years to complete. Your schedules and other commitments will determine the course that's suitable for you.

If you have a full-time job or other responsibilities, you may want to consider taking a course that allows you to learn at your own pace. This way, you can fit the course around your schedule and not feel overwhelmed. However, if you have the time and resources to commit to a more intensive course, you may benefit from a course that has a set schedule and deadlines.

Assessing Course Curriculum and Instructors

It's essential to research the course curriculum and instructors before enrolling to ensure the course has all the tools and techniques you need to learn animation. A qualified instructor is also necessary as they will help you navigate the complexities of the animation world.

When assessing the course curriculum, look for courses that cover a wide range of topics, including 2D and 3D animation, character design, storyboarding, and visual effects. The course should also provide you with access to the latest software and technology used in the animation industry.

Additionally, it's essential to research the instructors who will be teaching the course. Look for instructors who have experience working in the animation industry and have a track record of producing successful animators. You can also read reviews from previous students to get an idea of the quality of teaching.

In conclusion, choosing the right animation course requires careful consideration of multiple factors. By taking the time to research and assess your options, you can find a course that meets your needs and helps you achieve your animation goals.

Essential Tools and Software for Animation

To create animations, you'll need to have the necessary tools and software. The software plays a significant role in the quality of your animations. However, having the right hardware and additional resources can also make a big difference in the final product.

Industry-Standard Animation Software

Some of the industry-standard animation software include Autodesk Maya, Adobe Animate, and Toon Boom Harmony. These software applications provide you with the tools needed to create professional-quality animations. Autodesk Maya is a 3D computer graphics software that allows you to create stunning animations with its powerful tools. Adobe Animate is a vector-based animation software that allows you to create interactive animations for web and mobile devices. Toon Boom Harmony is a 2D animation software that offers advanced features for creating complex animations.

Hardware Requirements for Animation

Your computer hardware also plays a significant role in the animation quality. You will need a computer or laptop with adequate processing power, memory, and a dedicated graphics card to handle the demands of animation software. A powerful CPU and GPU will allow you to render animations quickly and efficiently. Additionally, having a high-resolution monitor will enable you to view your animations in detail.

Additional Tools and Resources

Other tools such as a graphics tablet, pencils, and sketch pads are crucial in creating concept art and storyboards. A graphics tablet allows you to draw directly on the screen, making it easier to create detailed sketches and illustrations. Pencils and sketch pads are also useful for creating rough sketches and storyboards before moving on to the digital stage.

Researching for tips, tutorials, and resources can help you improve your animation skills and stay up-to-date with new techniques. Online communities such as forums and social media groups can also provide valuable feedback and support for animators. Attending workshops and conferences can also give you the opportunity to learn from industry experts and network with other animators.

By having the right tools and resources, you can create stunning animations that captivate your audience and showcase your creativity and talent.

Developing Your Animation Skills

Now that you have the tools and resources, it's time to develop your animation skills.

Mastering the Art of Storytelling

Storytelling is a critical aspect of creating great animations. By mastering how to create engaging stories with compelling characters, you'll be able to bring your animations to life.

Enhancing Your Drawing and Design Abilities

For 2D animation, drawing and design are fundamental in creating quality animations. You need to learn drawing and design fundamentals such as anatomy, character design, and perspective to create compelling animations.

Building a Strong Foundation in 3D Modeling

For 3D animation, 3D modeling, texture mapping, rigging, and animation are critical skills in creating 3D models and animations. Building a strong foundation in 3D modeling will give you an edge in creating exceptional 3D animations.


Becoming an excellent animator takes time, patience, and dedication. By following the fundamentals, choosing the right course, having the necessary tools, and developing your skills, you can learn how to create captivating animations that can capture your audience's attention and imagination. Start your animation journey today by enrolling in an animation course that suits your availability, preference, and budget.

If you're eager to dive deeper into the world of animation, don't miss the workshop 'How Do I Get Into Animation?' by Michy. This workshop will help you learn the essentials of animation and provide you with the knowledge and skills needed to kickstart your journey in this exciting field.