5 MORE Free Online Resources Every Animator Needs to Bookmark

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While there are thousands of free resources for animators, we’ve scoured the net in search of some of the best! Below are five of our personal favorites.

1) Your One-Stop-Shop for Combat Reference Videos

Filming a reference video for your animation is a great idea, but what if you can’t physically do what you’re trying to animate?

That’s where Motion Actor Inc. comes in.

Motion Actor Inc. is a YouTube channel offering high-quality reference footage for animators, covering all kinds of combat skills. Whether you need simple punches and kicks, weapon and sword movements, or complex wall jumps and flips, they have it all. They’ve got nearly 3,000 videos in their library!

All their videos are HD quality, so you can go through moves frame-by-frame to catch every detail. Plus, the actors perform stunts from different angles—front, back, left, and right—so you can get the perfect reference for your scene.

2) Endless Free Textures For CG Modeling

Looking for free textures to use in your CG models?

Ambient CG, run by Lennart Demes, is a free-to-download texture library for all your CG projects.

And while there are nearly endless textures to choose from, Ambient CG primarily focuses on material textures like wood, flooring, stone, or cloth rather than organic textures like skin, or fur. The library boasts over two thousand textures, making it a valuable asset for any CG modeler.

All their textures include PBR maps and tile perfectly, plus many are up to 8K resolution.

And, if you’ve used some of Ambient CG’s free textures, you can submit your work via email to be featured on their gallery page – a nice little way to get some extra exposure from other CG artists.

3) Boost You Animation Career By Listening To This Podcast

If you need a podcast for career inspiration or tips on climbing the industry ladder, check out The Animation Industry Podcast.

With over 250 episodes, this podcast features top animators from more than two dozen countries sharing how they honed their skills, landed their first jobs, and advanced their careers. You’ll hear from a wide range of professionals including animators, storyboard artists, directors, concept artists, character designers, writers, and more.

Past guests include names like Disney director John Musker, Aardman stop motion animator Maraike Krämero, and Pixar vis-dev artist Sylvain Marc.

No matter what role you’re aiming for, there’s probably an episode with a high-profile animator explaining exactly how to get there.

4) Instantly Find Any Anime Scene

Have you ever wanted a gigantic database of every anime scene you can think of that is also completely searchable by text?

Want no more, because that’s exactly what Sakuga Booru is. It’s an online resource library of over 140,000 animated clips from anime movies and television shows.

The library includes clips like explosions, smoke, smears, creatures, liquid, hair, and more. Simply type in the sort of clip you’re looking for – like “explosions” – and you’re faced with hundreds of results from different anime scenes showcasing your query. You can also search for specific shows like Dragon Ball Z, or movies like Howl’s Moving Castle.

You can even contribute to the library yourself. Users can edit tags of clips to ensure accuracy of what’s displayed, and can even upload their clips themselves.

5) Free Maya Character Rigs

Looking to jump into character animation, but don’t want to fuss around building your own rig?

Animation Methods is the website for you. 

All rigs on Animation Methods are user-made and are available for direct download. You can find tons of different options including:

  • Popular characters like Aang, Elsa, or Spiderman
  • Generic humans or people in costumes like ninjas, spacesuits, or knights
  • Fantasy characters like goblins, cyborgs, or wraiths
  • Animals like dogs, horses, and chameleons
  • Objects like trucks, flour sacks, or juice boxes
  • And more!

On top of this, they also have a library of free tools to download for Maya. These tools include lighting setups, easy smear frame meshes, motion trails, squash/stretch makers, and camera shakers.

Want to learn more?

Learn the basic principles of character animation, including a survey of the different types of animation, basic vocabulary, and the 12 principles of animation. If you’re just starting out and want to make sure your basics are covered – this course is the best place to start.

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