The 5 Types of Animation – A Beginner’s Guide

The 5 Types of Animation

A Beginner’s Guide

What is this guide about?

The purpose of this guide is to take you through the intricacies of the different types of animation styles and techniques. It also covers the path you should take (and what does that path entails) in order to become an animator for each of the 5 types.

This guide is not about leaning how to animate, but instead it breaks down the five different types (or genres) of animation available to you, and what you’ll need to start animating. Best software, best schools, and courses.

Styles covered:

  1. 3D computer animation
  2. Traditional animation
  3. 2D Vector-based animation
  4. Stop motion
  5. Motion graphics

I hope that reading this will push you to take your first step to pursuing your dream of making animation.

For a deeper look into animation...

We suggest checking out our Animation Foundations course.

It covers the basic principles of character animation, and goes deeply into each of the 12 principles of animation, as well as basic animation workflows and techinques. If you’re just starting out and want to make sure your basics are covered – this course is the best place to start.

Get the course

3D Animation

(CGI, Computer Animation)

TOY STORY 4 | PIXAR ANIMATION STUDIOS

3D, also referred to as CGI (computer generated imagery), is the most popular type of animation for feature films currently, and it's become common in TV and short films as well.

This is also the same type of animation used to create digital characters for live-action films and animation for video games.

An animator uses a digital puppet (called a character rig) to position the character, and then use a system of motion paths (or splines) to define the movement of the character between those poses.

The computer proceeds to interpolate the frames of the animation in between the key frames. The animator then refines these frames until they are satisfied with the animation.

3D animation is a technically intensive process, which often involves many separate specialists to model the character, rig it with bones and controls, animate it, and then texture and light it for the final output.

Computers don’t create computer animation any more than a pencil creates pencil animation. What creates computer animation is the artist.

John Lasseter

Instead of drawn or constructed with clay, characters in 3D animation are digitally modeled in the program, and then fitted with a ‘skeleton’ that allows animators to move the models.

Animation is done by posing the models on certain key frames, after which the computer will calculate and perform an interpolation between those frames to create movement.

When the modeling and/or animation is complete, the computer will render each frame individually, which can be very time-consuming, depending on the quality of the images needed.

a 3D animator will spend most of their time looking at curves that represent the movement of different body parts over time.

Another big difference with 3D animation is that unlike traditional animation, the character’s body parts are always present and should be taken to consideration.

I’ll explain:

When animating in 2D, the character has to be drawn again every frame. When the character is viewed from the side, half of its body isn’t shown and thus isn’t drawn. It technically doesn’t exist. It’s drawn on a flat page and there isn’t really more of the character other than what the animator draws.

With 3D though, the character’s body parts always exist in the shot. Even when one hand isn’t visible, it’s still there. That adds some work for the animator, since they need to be aware of the entire character at all times.

The last major difference with 3D animation is the frame rate. Traditional animators usually work on 2’s which means they draw a new drawing every 2 frames, and thus having one drawing last for 2 frames. With 3D animation, however, the motion is always smooth (animated on 1’s), except for stylized pieces which intentionally try to look different.

Even when the character is standing still there should always be some sign of life or gentle movement to keep the illusion of life, this is something 2D animation can get away with much more easily than 3D animation.

History

3D animation has definitely revolutionized how the animation industry looks today, and it all started in 1995 with Toy Story, directed by John Lassetter.

Computer generated animation wasn’t completely new at the time, since it had already been used in TV commercials, movies and computer games, but Toy Story set the bar by being the first feature-length computer animated film, re-imagining the animation industry.

3D animation also lead to studios trying to achieve photo-realistic animations by combining high-level computer processing with advance motion-capture. This has led to films such as The Lord of the Rings trilogy, Avatar, and Planet of the Apes.


3D Animation Software

Autodesk Maya

The industry standard for computer animation. If you want to do animation professionally, this is the program you should focus on. 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering software with an integrated, powerful toolset. Use it for animation, environments, motion graphics, virtual reality, and character creation.

Price: $195/Month | Free for students

Learn more…


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Blender

A free, open-source, 3D program, Blender provides a broad spectrum of modeling, texturing, lighting, animation and video post-processing functionality in one package. Through its open architecture, Blender provides cross-platform interoperability, extensibility, an incredibly small footprint, and a tightly integrated workflow.

Price: Free

Learn more…


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Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is a motion graphics artist’s best friend. It is a 3D program for the After Effects user. Very intuitive, and works directly with After Effects without the need to render first. This would not be my first choice for serious 3D film production, since it is designed from the ground up with motion graphics in mind, but it is an amazing versatile program.

Price: $59.99/Month

Learn more…


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Courses

Maya Animation

Learn to animate with the industry leader in animation and visual effects.

Get the Course

Blender Animation

A complete course to character animation with the FREE 3D program Blender.

Get the Course


Schools

SVASchool of Visual Arts (SVA)

School information: Founded in 1947 by Silas H. Rhodes and Burne Hogarth as the Cartoonist and Illustrators School, and then renamed in 1956. Part of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design as one of 36 leading art colleges in the United States.

The school offered its first degree in 1972, and it’s first master’s degree in 1983 in Fine Arts for painting, drawing and sculpture.

  • Location: New York, NY. USA
  • Courses: Animation, Computer Animation and Visual Effects
  • Tuition cost: $21,700 per semester + Department fees (Animation: $1200, Computer Animation and visual effects:$1,340)
  • Notable alumni: Bill Plympton (Academy nominated animator), John.R.Dilworth (creator of Courage the Cowardly Dog), Pres Antonio Romanillos (supervising animator at Disney and Dreamworks animation)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • BFA Animation: 270 students
  • BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation & Visual Effects: 325 students
  • Notable graduate film: Kiwi! (Dony Permedi, 2006)

Read more…

Ringling College of Art and Design

School information: Founded in Sarasota, Florida, by Dr. Ludd M. Spivey as an art school in 1931, and as a branch of the Southern College in Orlando. Became an independent college in 1933.

Qualified as a full degree-granting institution in 1971. Ringling College is named after John Ringling, a circus magnate, who was interested in funding an art college, but wasn’t interested in Southern College as he wanted to establish his own at his wife’s museum.

However, he lost his museum and residence in bankruptcy, and it was all given to the state just before he died. Ringling’s nephew made a deal with Southern College to open an art college in Sarasota, and it was named School of Fine and Applied Art of the John and Mable Ringling Art Museum.

  • Location: Sarasota, Florida. USA
  • Courses: Computer Animation
  • Tuition cost: $42,330 per year.
  • Notable alumni: Aaron Blaise (Director of Disney’s Brother Bear)
  • Start of Academic year: August
  • Notable graduate film: Dia De Los Muertos (Ashley Graham, Kate Reynolds, and Lindsey St. Pierre, 2013) Won Student Academy Award, 2013

Read more…

University of California (UCLA)

School information: UCLA is a public University that was founded in 1919 as part of the University of California system, comprised of three universities in the state.

The animation program was established in 1948 by William Shull, a Disney animator, as just a group of various animation classes. When Dan MacLaughlin became head of the department in 1971, he started the MFA program for animation where he worked as the sole faculty member for years.

  • Location: Los Angeles, California. USA
  • Courses: Animation
  • Tuition cost: In-state: $12,920, Out-of-state: $39,602
  • Notable alumni: David Silverman (Animator, Producer on The Simpsons), Hoyt Yeatman (VFX supervisor, won Academy Award for The Abyss)
  • Start of Academic year: February
  • MFA Animation Notable graduate film: Her Lion’s Jump (Régis Camargo, 2013)

Read more…

Rhode Island School of Design (RISD)

School information: RISD was founded by the group The Centennial Women in 1877. The Centennial Women was a group formed to exhibit creations made by women from design schools, patents from female entrepreneurs, and books written exclusively by women, at the 1876 Centennial Exposition.

The group raised $10,000, and by the end of the expo had over $1,675 left, which they decided to invest into founding Rhode Island School of Design.

  • Location: Providence, Rhode Island. USA
  • Courses: Film/Animation/Video
  • Tuition cost: $51,800 per academic year
  • Notable alumni: Seth MacFarlane (Creator of Family Guy) Bryan Konietzko & Michael Dante DiMartino (Creators of Avatar: The Last Airbender), Lance Wilder (Animator, The Simpsons)
  • Start of Academic year: Second week of September
  • Film/Animation/Video: 50 students per year
  • Notable graduate film: Inner Tubes (Tim Beckhardt, 2009) Screened at Ottawa International Animation Festival and Boston Underground Festival

Read more…

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

School information: Founded in 1978 by Paula S. Wallace with her husband and parents, taking out a $200,000 loan to build the first educational building, by renovating the Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory.

The university first opened in 1979 with only 71 students. Currently the University has over 11,000 students.

  • Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA. Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Hong Kong, Guangdong, China. Lacoste, Vaucluse, France.
  • Courses: Animation, Visual Effects
  • Tuition cost: (In order of locations) $33,795 (American dollars), $261,911 (Hong Kong dollars), $10,983 (American dollars)
  • Notable alumni: Mir Zafar Ali (Visual effects specialist, The Day After Tomorrow)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • Notable graduate film: Legacy (Adam Floeck, 2013)

Read more…

University of Southern California (USC)

School information: USC was founded in 1880 by judge Robert M. Widney, who managed to acquire donations from Ozro Childs, John Gately Downey, and Isaias W. Hellman; three very influential figures at the time.

Originally operated in affiliation with the Methodist Church, but became officially secular in 1952. It has the largest amount of international students in the United States, and enrolls over 18,000 domestic/international students each year.

Has its own IMAX theater and research lab, which opened this year.

  • Location: Los Angeles, California. USA
  • Courses: Animation and Digital Arts
  • Tuition cost: $57,256 for two semesters
  • Notable alumni: George Lucas (Creator of Lucas Arts, Industrial Light and Magic, Star Wars), Eric Hanson (Digital Designer/Lead VFX artist, The Fifth Element), Ray Harryhausen (Stop-motion and Special Effects animator, Jason and the Argonauts)
  • Start of Academic year: Last week of August
  • BA Animation and Digital Arts: 75 students
  • MFA Animation and Digital Arts: 45 students
  • Notable graduate film: Ladies Knight (Joe Rothenberg, 2012) Nominated Best Animated Student Short at Annie Awards.

Read more…

Animation Mentor

School information: Founded in 2005 by Bobby Beck, Shawn Kelly, and Carlos Baena, the last two employed as animators at Industrial Light and Magic.

  • Location: Emeryville, California. USA
  • Courses: Classic animation, Character animation, Creature animation
  • Tuition cost: $18,928 for Full 18 Month Program.
  • Notable alumni: Siggurdur Orri Thorhannesson (Animator, Guardians of the Galaxy), Jude Brownbill (Animator, Pixar)
  • Start of Academic year: Every Spring, Summer, Fall, and Winter
  • Animation Mentor courses: 5,000 students (Total)
  • Notable graduate film: Greed (Alli Sadegiani, 2011)

Read more…

Traditional Animation

(2D, Cel, Hand Drawn)

THE JUNGLE BOOK | WALT DISNEY PRODUCTION

The first type of 2D animation might be called traditional animation or cel animation. I prefer the term hand-drawn animation because that define its most important aspect - the fact that it is drawn by hand.

This is the classic type of animation you're probably most familiar with. In the old days, animators drew characters frame by frame, and then those drawings were transferred onto clear acetate sheets called cels for painting. That's where the term cel animation comes from.

Through the 1990s almost all animation studios stopped using cels and started scanning drawings into the computer for digital coloring, and now many hand-drawn animators skip paper altogether and draw directly into the computer using a tablet or Wacom Cintiq monitors.

So hand-drawn animation could be done entirely analog or entirely digitally, or some mix of the two. The important thing is that hand drawn animators still create their animation frame by frame using the same techniques and principles as in those old days of paper and cels.

There’s always room out there for the hand-drawn image. I personally like the imperfection of hand drawing as opposed to the slick look of computer animation.

Matt Groening

History

The techniques of animation that we are familiar with first appeared in 1650 as The Magic Lantern, by the Venetian inventor Giovanni Fontana (whether or not he truly is the inventor is still highly debated). A simple lantern with a strip of animation sliding past a crude lens, illuminated by a single candle, was humankind’s first introduction to projection. It was primarily used to scare people with images of devilish creatures running on the wall, and generally play on people’s superstitions.

Many more inventions came along, such as the Phenakistoscope and Zoetrope, but the first projection of animation on a screen came in 1877 with the Praxinoscope, invented by the French science teacher Charles-Émile Reynaud. He then later invented the Théâtre Optique in 1888, which he used to stage the first public screening of animation at the Musée Grévin in Paris in 1892.

There he screened the animated short Pauvre Pierrot, which is notable for being the first time film perforations was used, and also for having the animation drawn directly on the frames instead of being photographed.

The first film recorded on a filmstrip was made in 1900, which included animated sequences where J. Stuart Blackton draws a man on an aisle holding a bottle of wine, and the man grabbing the bottle. Blackton followed it up five years later with the Humorous Phases of Funny Faces, which cemented J.Stuart Blackton as the forefather of American animation.

Stepping to France in 1908, we saw the world’s first fully animated film, made by the French artist Émile Cohl. The film was called Fantasmagorie, which contained stick figures encountering various inanimate objects.

As the 1910’s rolled around, studio produced animations came into fruition with the newspaper cartoonist Winsor McCay, who directed several animated shorts.

During the 1910’s, animations we’re called ‘Cartoons’. They we’re mainly produced for cinemas as pre-show attractions, to be screened before the feature film. John Randolph Bray and  Earl Hurd were the most successful animation producers of the decade, and were responsible for patenting the cel animation process, which would later dominate the animation industry for most of the century.

Nowadays, traditional animation is being done mostly on computers by using a tablet (such as the Wacom Cintiq.) It is usually animated on 12 frames per second, with occasional faster actions animated on 24 frames per second.


Traditional Animation Software

Toon Boom Harmony

Hamony is a more advanced 2D software ideal for both frame-by-frame animation and rig-based animation. It has advanced rigging systems, effects and camera tools. It is vector based, but the more advanced version also has the option for bitmap drawing.

Read: Toon Boom Harmony vs. Flash (Animate)

Price: $24/Month

Learn more…


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TVPaint

This french animation software was built with hand-drawn traditional style animation in mind. It’s definitely more robust and complex than Photoshop, but it’s also much pricier. This software is for professional animators and studios.

Price: €500 (€250 for students)

Learn more…


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Courses

Toon Boom Harmony Animation

A complete course for high-end 2D animation with Toon Boom Harmony.

Get the Course

TVPaint Animation

Learn to animate with the industry leader in 2D frame-by-frame animation.

Get the Course


Schools

Sheridan College

School information: Sheridan College was founded in 1967 as The School of Graphic Design at a converted public school until it was eventually moved.

The Canadian animation industry was virtually non-existent during the 60’s and 70’s, but president Porter decided to start a course in classical animation at the college in 1968 in hopes of getting trained animators.

  • Location: Toronto. Canada
  • Courses: Animation, Computer Animation, Digital Creature Animation, Visual Effects
  • Tuition cost: $7,638 (Canadian dollars) per semester
  • Notable alumni: Dean DeBlois (Disney animator), Dan Lee (Pixar animator), John Kricfalusi (Creator of Ren and Stimpy show), Dan Antonucci (Creator of Ed, Edd ‘n, Eddy)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • Notable graduate film: Night Light (Qing Han, 2014)

Read more…


Gobelins

School information: Founded by the Parisian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in 1964, but is best known for the Cinema Department of Animation, which was founded by Pierre Ayma in 1974 when the first Asterix and Obelix feature film was being produced by Studio Idefix.

The studio didn’t have enough animators for the project, so they asked Gobelins to start an animation training program.

  • Location: Paris. France
  • Courses: Character Animation and Animated Film Making, 3D Character Animation
  • Tuition cost: 8800€ per year for European citizens and 13300€ for non-European citizens.
    Notable alumni: Pierre Coffin (Director of Despicable Me), Bibo Bergeron (Director of A Monster in Paris)
    Start of Academic year: Beginning of September
  • BA Animated Film Making: 80 students
  • Notable graduate film: Oktapodi (Julien Bocabeille, Francois-Xavier Chanioux, Olivier Delabarre, Thierry Marchand, Quentin Marmier, Emud Mokhberi, 2007)
    Nominated for Academy Award, 2009

Read more…


CalArts

School information: CalArts was founded in 1961 by Walt Disney, when Chouinard Art Institute and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music merged together due to financial difficulties.

Nelbert Chouinard, founder of the Chouinard Art Institute, started a professional relationship with Walt Disney in 1929, and agreed to train animators for him on a pay-later basis as Disney was struggling financially.

  • Location: Valencia, California. USA
  • Courses: Film/Video (Includes animation)
  • Tuition cost: $52,850 Full-time enrolment
  • Notable alumni: Tim Burton (Disney animator and Director), Brad Bird (Director, Disney and Pixar), John Lasseter (Pixar), Jennifer Lee & Chris Buck (Directors of Frozen)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • Notable graduate film: Trust & Estates (Jeanette Bonds, 2013) Official Selection, Melbourne International Animation Festival 2013

Read more…

2D Animation

(Vector-based)

Rick and Morty | Adult Swim

Nowadays there are new ways to create 2D animation using a 2D digital puppets. These are 2D characters which are built with a system of bones and controls that can be manipulated in a way similar to a 3D character rig.

The difference between 2D rigged characters and hand-drawn characters can get a bit blurry. Programs like Toon Boom Harmony and Adobe Animate CC let you seamlessly mix and match hand-drawn animation with 2D puppet techniques, sometimes even within the same character.

A character could have bones that let the animator pose it, but also have other parts that are animated by hand.

Animation is different from other parts. Its language is the language of caricature. Our most difficult job was to develop the cartoon’s unnatural but seemingly natural anatomy for humans and animals.
Walt Disney

History

In the late 90’s, due to bandwidth restrictions, many artists started using Flash to distribute short (and very limited) animations on the web, which were usually very small in size.

That limitation gave Flash the mass appeal which made it such a huge success among independent artists and animators.

Flash really skyrocketed in 2005 when it was purchased by Adobe. When YouTube started growing, it completely exploded, and today you can find thousands of Flash animations there.

The reason 2D was put in a separate category is that in addition to the option of animating frame by frame, an animator has the option of creating rigs for the characters and then move the body parts individually instead of drawing the character over and over.

These flexibilities provides beginners with more options when approaching animation, especially if drawing isn’t their strong suit. Traditional animation, on the other hand, requires very strong drawing skills.


2D Animation Software

Toon Boom Harmony

Hamony is a more advanced 2D software ideal for both frame-by-frame animation and rig-based animation. It has advanced rigging systems, effects and camera tools. It is vector based, but the more advanced version also has the option for bitmap drawing.

Read: Toon Boom Harmony vs. Flash (Animate)

Price: $24/Month

Learn more…


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Adobe Animate CC

Probably the most popular 2D animation software out there. Animate has a long lineage of animation making, dating back to the early days of internet video publishing. It is vector based, very intuitive to use (as are most of Adobe’s programs) and relatively inexpensive. It’s great for getting started with 2D animation, and though it’s not meant for professional animation production (unlike Toon Boom Harmony) you can still get amazing results with it.

Price: $20.99/Month

Learn more…


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Adobe After Effects

An interesting choice for 2D animation. After effects gives you great control when creating rigs for 2D, and using the puppet tool is very convenient and intuitive. I find it to be a great choice if you’re already comfortable with the Adobe environment.

Price: $20.99/Month

Learn more…


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Adobe Character Animator

The big hook of Character Animator is that you can use input from a camera and microphone to do real-time performance capture and automatically animate characters. This saves a huge amount of time.

However this is only really suitable for cartoons that feature mostly dialog scenes and not a ton of action or physical gags.

Price: Unfortunately Character Animator is not available individually and can only be purchased as part of Adobe’s All Apps plan.

Learn more…


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Courses

Toon Boom Harmony Animation

A complete course for high-end 2D animation with Toon Boom Harmony.

Get the Course

Animate CC Animation

Learn how to make cool animations for YouTube, or 2D frame-by-frame animation for commercial use.

Get the Course

After Effects Animation

A step-by-step course to character animation with After Effects.

Get the Course

Character Animator Animation

Learn to animate animate in real-time, using your own face. No animation skills required.

Get the Course


Schools

Full Sail University

School information: Founded in 1979 by Jon Phelps in Ohio, before the University was moved to Orlando in 1980, under the name of Full Sail Recording Workshop. Focused on video and film production, but added in animation when the University moved to Orange County in 1989.

The University started offering online degree programs in 2007.

  • Location: Orange County, Florida. USA
  • Courses: Computer animation
  • Tuition cost: $83,500 Degree Total
  • Notable alumni: Culley Bunker (Lead visual effects artist), Chance Glasco (Senior animator)
  • Start of Academic year: Second week of November

Read more…


Stop Motion Animation

(Claymation, Cut-Outs)

Kubo and the Two Strings | Laika

Stop motion has several variants, but they all involve manipulating real world objects. These objects are moved slightly, and photographed one frame at a time. When shown in sequence, these frames create the illusion of movement.

In higher-end stop motion, like the ones created by Laika (Coraline, Kubu and the Two Strings), a specially rigged puppet is shot on a miniature stage.

I love all forms of animation, but there is something unique and special to stop-motion: it’s more real and the set is lit like a set. But I think it’s also a kind of lonely and dark thing to want to do.
Tim Burton

Types of stop-motion animation:

Claymation

Claymation is a similar technique. In it, malleable characters are used, though they're generally made out of a substance called plasticine, not actual clay.

Puppets

Some animators use regular Puppets instead of clay ones, usually also built with some sort of skeleton rig. The faces of the characters can be replaced based on the expression, or controlled within the rig.

Action Figures / Lego

Some use action figures or Lego characters for animation. This genre is very popular on YouTube with many channels dedicated to creating funny skits with Lego characters. Robot Chicken is a great example of that. They use famous action figures to make fun of pop culture.

Cut-out

Another variation of stop motion is paper cut-out animation. In this style, characters are built out of paper shapes. They might be pinned together at the joints to make a posable figure, or pieces might be set in place so that they can be swapped out. They are then moved and photographed frame by frame, just like a stop motion puppet. That's how South Park was originally animated.

Silhouette

Similar to cutout animation, silhouette animation uses cardboard or some kind of flat material, but the objects are all black and the shot is depicted with silhouettes only. This is one of the oldest forms of stop motion and is rarely used today.

Pixelation

Pixelation is a form of stop motion that uses real people and real environments to create unreal videos. It uses the stop motion method of taking a still photo, moving things around, and then taking another photo, but the subject matter is usually real people instead of puppets.

All of these types of stop motion share an important characteristic:

They all have to be shot straight-ahead, which means starting at frame one and shooting each frame one after another, all the way through the end of the scene.

If a mistake is made on one frame, it's very difficult to fix it without having to start all over again. You can't just redraw that frame like you can in 2D animation. This makes this type of animation particularly intense and it requires a lot of patience.

History

Stop-Motion animation was very often used as special effects before the introduction of CGI animation, and as such has a very long history in both the animation and film industry, starting from The Humpty Dumpty Circus (1887, Blackton). One of the earliest of clay animations was Modelling Extraordinary (1912), and the first female animator was a stop-motion artist named Helena Smith Dayton, who made a clay animated short based on Romeo and Juliet in 1917.

Another technique, which came about in the 80’s, was Go Motion. This technique involved programming a computer to move the models for the animators before each frame was photographed. It was used when creating visual effects for RoboCop (1987, Verhoven) and The Empire Strikes Back (1980, Kershner). It was a lot more complicated than doing it by hand, but the result was a more realistic-looking animation.

Stop-motion set the standards fir visual effects with masters like Ray Harryhausen, who created animations for Jason and the Argonauts (1963, Chaffey) and Clash of the Titans (1981, Davis), or Nick Park who created the Wallace and Gromit franchise. However, stop-motion wasn’t always made for shorts and visual effects. There have been many feature-length stop-motion animated films, most notably The Nightmare Before Christmas (1993, Selick) and  Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (2005, Park.)


Stop Motion Animation Software

Dragonframe

Dragonframe is the industry standard for stop-motion animation, and was used on films such as Kubo and the Two Strings and Shaun the Sheep.

If you’re planning on making a professional stop motion video, Dragonframe is the best tool for the job. Its comprehensive software can be used with many different attachments, such as a device that controls the camera, lights and even pull focus.

Price: $295

Learn more…


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Stop Motion Studio

Stop Motion Studio is an entry-level stop motion app for all devices and platforms that connect to any digital camera, phone or tablet to create great stop-motion videos with simplicity and ease. This is a great choice if you're just starting out.

Price: $4.99 (iOs/Android) | $9.99 (Mac/Windows)

Learn more…


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Courses

Dragonframe Animation

A complete course for stop motion animation using the industry-leader software Dragonframe.

Coming Soon


Schools

CalArts

School information: CalArts was founded in 1961 by Walt Disney, when Chouinard Art Institute and the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music merged together due to financial difficulties.

Nelbert Chouinard, founder of the Chouinard Art Institute, started a professional relationship with Walt Disney in 1929, and agreed to train animators for him on a pay-later basis as Disney was struggling financially.

  • Location: Valencia, California. USA
  • Courses: Film/Video (Includes animation)
  • Tuition cost: $52,850 Full-time enrolment
  • Notable alumni: Tim Burton (Disney animator and Director), Brad Bird (Director, Disney and Pixar), John Lasseter (Pixar), Jennifer Lee & Chris Buck (Directors of Frozen)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • Notable graduate film: Trust & Estates (Jeanette Bonds, 2013) Official Selection, Melbourne International Animation Festival 2013

Read more…

Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

School information: Founded in 1978 by Paula S. Wallace with her husband and parents, taking out a $200,000 loan to build the first educational building, by renovating the Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory.

The university first opened in 1979 with only 71 students. Currently the University has over 11,000 students.

  • Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA. Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Hong Kong, Guangdong, China. Lacoste, Vaucluse, France.
  • Courses: Animation, Visual Effects
  • Tuition cost: (In order of locations) $33,795 (American dollars), $261,911 (Hong Kong dollars), $10,983 (American dollars)
  • Notable alumni: Mir Zafar Ali (Visual effects specialist, The Day After Tomorrow)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • Notable graduate film: Legacy (Adam Floeck, 2013)

Read more…

SVASchool of Visual Arts (SVA)

School information: Founded in 1947 by Silas H. Rhodes and Burne Hogarth as the Cartoonist and Illustrators School, and then renamed in 1956. Part of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design as one of 36 leading art colleges in the United States.

The school offered its first degree in 1972, and it’s first master’s degree in 1983 in Fine Arts for painting, drawing and sculpture.

  • Location: New York, NY. USA
  • Courses: Animation, Computer Animation and Visual Effects
  • Tuition cost: $21,700 per semester + Department fees (Animation: $1200, Computer Animation and visual effects:$1,340)
  • Notable alumni: Bill Plympton (Academy nominated animator), John.R.Dilworth (creator of Courage the Cowardly Dog), Pres Antonio Romanillos (supervising animator at Disney and Dreamworks animation)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • BFA Animation: 270 students
  • BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation & Visual Effects: 325 students
  • Notable graduate film: Kiwi! (Dony Permedi, 2006)

Read more…

Motion Graphics

(Typography, Animated Logos)

Motion graphics

The last big category of animation is motion graphics. Motion graphics focuses on making dynamic and interesting presentations of moving text logos and basic illustrations.

Motion graphics can be both 2D and 3D, and you'll find them everywhere in commercials, explainer videos, sporting events, the news and other TV productions.

Proper character animation is generally outside the scope of motion graphics, but many of the core animation principles  apply to motion graphics too.

The process of creating Motion Graphics depends on the programs used, since video editing softwares often have different UI or settings, but the idea is the same. Motion Graphics usually involves animating images, texts or video clips using key framing that are tweened to make a smooth motion between frames.

I can calculate the motion of heavenly bodies, but not the madness of people.
Isaac Newton

History

The term Motion Graphics came along computer based video editing, as programs like Adobe After Effects and Apple Motion made editing images a lot easier and faster.

Previously, before the advent of computer editing, it was a very time-consuming process, which limited it to high-budget productions. Today, it is highly popular in commercials, news shows, sporting event and online videos.


Motion Graphics Animation Software

After Effects

An interesting choice for 2D animation. After effects gives you great control when creating rigs for 2D using the puppet tool and different expressions. It's a good choice if you’re already comfortable with the Adobe environment.

Price: $20.99/Month

Learn more…


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Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is a motion graphics artist’s best friend. It is a 3D program for the After Effects user. Very intuitive, and works directly with After Effects without the need to render first. This would not be my first choice for serious 3D film production, since it is designed from the ground up with motion graphics in mind, but it is an amazing versatile program.

Price: $59.99/Month

Learn more…


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Courses

After Effects Animation

A step-by-step course to character animation with After Effects.

Get the Course

Cinema4D Animation

A step-by-step course for animating using Cinema4D.

Coming Soon


Schools

SVASchool of Visual Arts (SVA)

School information: Founded in 1947 by Silas H. Rhodes and Burne Hogarth as the Cartoonist and Illustrators School, and then renamed in 1956. Part of the Association of Independent Colleges of Art and Design as one of 36 leading art colleges in the United States.

The school offered its first degree in 1972, and it’s first master’s degree in 1983 in Fine Arts for painting, drawing and sculpture.

  • Location: New York, NY. USA
  • Courses: Animation, Computer Animation and Visual Effects
  • Tuition cost: $21,700 per semester + Department fees (Animation: $1200, Computer Animation and visual effects:$1,340)
  • Notable alumni: Bill Plympton (Academy nominated animator), John.R.Dilworth (creator of Courage the Cowardly Dog), Pres Antonio Romanillos (supervising animator at Disney and Dreamworks animation)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • BFA Animation: 270 students
  • BFA Computer Art, Computer Animation & Visual Effects: 325 students
  • Notable graduate film: Kiwi! (Dony Permedi, 2006)

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Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD)

School information: Founded in 1978 by Paula S. Wallace with her husband and parents, taking out a $200,000 loan to build the first educational building, by renovating the Savannah Volunteer Guard Armory.

The university first opened in 1979 with only 71 students. Currently the University has over 11,000 students.

  • Location: Savannah, Georgia, USA. Atlanta, Georgia, USA. Hong Kong, Guangdong, China. Lacoste, Vaucluse, France.
  • Courses: Animation, Visual Effects
  • Tuition cost: (In order of locations) $33,795 (American dollars), $261,911 (Hong Kong dollars), $10,983 (American dollars)
  • Notable alumni: Mir Zafar Ali (Visual effects specialist, The Day After Tomorrow)
  • Start of Academic year: September
  • Notable graduate film: Legacy (Adam Floeck, 2013)

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Full Sail University

School information: Founded in 1979 by Jon Phelps in Ohio, before the University was moved to Orlando in 1980, under the name of Full Sail Recording Workshop. Focused on video and film production, but added in animation when the University moved to Orange County in 1989.

The University started offering online degree programs in 2007.

  • Location: Orange County, Florida. USA
  • Courses: Computer animation
  • Tuition cost: $83,500 Degree Total
  • Notable alumni: Culley Bunker (Lead visual effects artist), Chance Glasco (Senior animator)
  • Start of Academic year: Second week of November

Read more…


Animation Hardware

(For any type)

Hardware is getting cheaper, and software is getting more efficient. You can run most animation programs on most modern computers, and drawing tablets are getting very affordable.

Here is a short list of what we recommend for animators of all levels:

One by Wacom

The perfect choice for beginners.

This intro-level Wacom tablet is the cheapest way for you to get into using a tablet. This allows you to do hand-drawn animation on a budget, and will benefit 3D animators as well, as tablet is often easier to use than a mouse in a 3D program.

Price: $59-$69


Wacom Intuos Pro

Taking it to the next level.

If you need more drawing real-estate, or if you're using a tablet for 3D animation, this is the best all-around choice for the job. You'll see these tablets at most production studios, and it's a popular choice for animation students who want to do good work, but can't afford the high-end Cintiq tablets. It comes in 3 sizes, with Medium being the most popular one.

Price: $230-$479


Wacom Cintiq Pro

Going pro.

For high-end animation production, the Wacom Cintiq is the ultimate choice. It's basally a giant monitor (13", 16", 24" or 32") that you can draw on directly. It makes precise drawing much easier and more responsive than a regular tablet, but it comes at a much higher cost.

Price: $649-$3299


Computer

The nice thing about using 2D programs like Animate CC or even Toon Boom, is that most modern computers are capable of running them just fine.

When you get into 3D, things can get tricky, but they don't have to. If you're rendering massive worlds with complicated lighting setups, you'll need a strong computer with an expensive graphics card, but there are other options:

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Before you leave...

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