A few weeks ago I wrote a beginners guide for new animators who are just starting out.
The guide breaks down many of the steps of becoming an animator, but I wanted to push our readers even further and challenge them to pursue their animation dreams today.
2 popular excuses a lot of people have are:
- I don’t know where to start.
- I can’t afford the right equipment.
In this post I’m going to show you how you can start animating like a pro with less than a $100.
Software – $19
For this price range I will assume you are a beginner, so I’m going to focus on 2D animation. Another reason is that in order to stay within our price limit we need affordable software, and 3D software ain’t cheap.
The best 2D animation programs in my experience are Adobe Flash, After Effects and Photoshop. they all cost $19/month and you get a free trial month. That gives you 2 months of animation for $19. All 3 programs will work on most recent computers, so you can use the one you already own.
Option 1: Flash
Probably the most popular 2D animation software out there. Flash has a long lineage of animation making, even before it was purchased by Adobe. Flash is vector based, which I don’t personally like, but it’s very intuitive to work with (as most Adobe’s products are) and relatively cheap.
If you want to learn more about character animation in Flash, check out our Flash Animation Course.
Option 2: After Effects
An interesting choice for 2D animation. After effects gives you a great control when creating rigs for 2D, and using the puppet tool is very intuitive. After Effects is a great choice if you’re comfortable with Adobe’s interface. Since it’s an editing software it’s great to be able to edit and color correct in the same place you animate.
If you want to learn more about character animation in After Effects, check out our After Effects Animation Course.
Option 3: Photoshop
Photoshop is often skipped when considering an animation software, but in reality its powerful drawing capabilities makes it a great choice for frame by frame Disney-style animation. Photoshop’s timeline functionality lets you animate by drawing frame by frame, using onion skinning and is incredibly robust.
Hardware – $79
Since we’re doing 2D animation, using a drawing tablet is a must. I know what you’re thinking: These Wacom tablets are so expensive! They’re like a $1000! Well, that’s true if you’re talking about the high-end ones. however, Wacom makes great tablets at lower prices as well.
Wacom Intuos Draw
For $69, This is the cheapest professional tablet Wacom makes, and it is a great product for beginners on a low-budget. It Allows you to quickly draw straight to your computer, which makes the process extremely quick.
Total price: $88
Now it’s up to you to do something about it. You can sit around and tell yourself that you don’t have the right equipment or that you don’t know how to draw – but look at the top animation videos on YouTube. Many of them have very basic animation and white backgrounds. Anyone can make something interesting if they have a good idea and sit down to do the work.