Learning Animation online
Every-time I see this question I am shocked of how much terrible advice people give.
- It absolutely matters where you start,
- and it absolutely matters which software you learn first.
Learning animation from a bad animator is going to distort your perspective on how good animation should look. Also, learning animation from bad sources or using a sub-par software will be a terrible waste of time (and money).
Regarding 3D software, there are only 2 options:
- Autodesk 3ds Max (or)
- Autodesk Maya.
Blender is software that has no future. Learning it will only be a huge waste of your time. It lacks any form of long term support or functional stability — and so, it can’t be used in any form of professional environment.
Regarding 2D software, there are quite a few, but the top ones are:
- Adobe Flash.
- Adobe Photoshop.
- Adobe After Effects
- Anime Studio
Books wise, the most important one (like the bible for animation) is:
- The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams
Some of the WORST places you can learn animation from are:
- Udemy — is an absolute mess. There are only 2 types of courses / tutorials on that website: BAD and HORRIBLE. There are free tutorials on the internet that are 1000 times better then Udemy. Following a course on 3D animation on Udemy will make you a worst animator then not watching anything.
- YouTube — this is another horrible way of learning about 3D animation, games or VFX. Why? Because anyone who has worked in any of these industries would post their tutorials one of the other platforms or do a proper workshop. It’s the lazy way of learning a software — just open the official Autodesk website (!)
The cheapest high quality platform for learning about animation would be The Gnomon Workshop — not to be confused with Gnomon (the online school, which is expensive). This is by far the best place to find decent tutorials.
Digital Tutors (recently acquired by Pluralsight) is also a great platform for absolute beginners. However, the problem with Digital Tutors / Pluralsight is you don’t really know what you get.
Let me explain:
Some courses are very professional and up to date to the industry standard. Others, especially as they get more “advance”, are horrible — like the worst advice you can give someone. But here is the thing: if you want to later join a university or one of the online course like Animation Mentor / Animschool, you will need an entry portfolio. For that, Digital Tutors is perfect. It’s by far the best platform for quickly getting a foundation into any software. It’s great for figuring out what you like, and for building a basic portfolio.
If you want to become an animator of the same caliber as Pixar and Disney animators, these are the best of the best:
- Animation Mentor
All 3 are amazingly good. The tutors are from top studios like Blue Sky Studios, Dreamworks, Disney, Sony, and Pixar, so you know you are going to get feedback from the best people in the business.
Animation Mentor is all about pure animation. How to convey emotions, body language, facial expressions, essentially it’s the digital equivalent of acting school. It's also a much older program. It was established in 2005 and it won multiple awards over the years for it’s program. It has a reputation for getting its students into the top studios. They also offer individual workshops, but the “full animation program” is the real deal — that is what people assume when you say “I went through Animation Mentor”.
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