How to Learn Animation Online

Master the art of animation online with a plethora of resources, from free tutorials to live classes, and open career doors ranging from filmmaking to game development, and more. Learn how to use industry-leading softwares like After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Cinema 4D, and apply these skills across a variety of digital media platforms.

Key Insights

  • Animation is a valuable skill applicable in a variety of fields, from filmmaking to game development, providing a creative outlet to create moving graphics for various digital platforms.
  • An animator uses softwares like After Effects, Premiere Pro, Photoshop, and Cinema 4D to create stunning and evocative digital art pieces.
  • Live online animation training provides flexibility and convenience, allowing students to learn from any location, at their own pace, without the need to commute.
  • On-demand or self-paced animation courses offer cost-effective and flexible learning options, perfect for self-motivated learners.
  • Free introductory animation courses and online tutorials are available for beginners wanting to explore the field of animation.
  • Learning animation online with Noble Desktop provides several live online training opportunities, with courses ranging from beginner to comprehensive certificate programs, making a career switch more efficient.

If you’re just starting to learn a new skill, you can find dozens of tips and resources online; learning animation is no different.Animation is used to create evocative art pieces, such as animated films, digital designs, and prototypes for a wide range of products. Any digital asset that involves motion will be made using animation tools. If you’ve always wanted to learn animation, there are plenty of options at your fingertips. From free tutorials to live classes, your options are outlined here so you can decide how to learn in a way that works best for you. 

What is Animation?

Most people have seen animated movies or shows, but what is animation? Animation is the process of photographing a still image—typically a drawing—then making slight modifications to the image while taking successive pictures. An animator will rapidly show these pictures to make it appear as if the image is moving. An animator would create a series of pictures to show, for example, a flower on a windy day, each with the flower in a slightly different position. When viewed quickly, one after another, the flower will appear to move back and forth even though it’s not actually moving. 

Animation skills are great to have in many different jobs; they’re just fun! Animators don’t just create movies or television shows. They also create moving graphics for websites, video games, or visual effects. Most animators now use software to create the graphics, though some still use drawings and sketches to bring their imagination to life.

Read more about what animation is and why you should learn it. 

What Can You Do with Animation?

Learning animation opens doors to different fields. The most obvious field is filmmaking: producing visual effects, developing computer-generated special effects, or creating images for any media type. Movies, television, the internet, and (video) games all rely on Animators for their products. Yet, Animators can also work as Medical or Mathematical Animators, Illustrators, Games Developers, and VFX Artists. Illustrators focus on still images, both hand-drawn and computer-generated, while Medical or Mathematical Animators, Games Developers and VFX Artists develop 3D moving images. 

Video Editing & Motion Graphics Certificate: Live & Hands-on, In NYC or Online, 0% Financing, 1-on-1 Mentoring, Free Retake, Job Prep. Named a Top Bootcamp by Forbes, Fortune, & Time Out. Noble Desktop. Learn More.

The software that Animators use day in and day out is just plain fun! After Effects and Premiere Pro are the go-to animation software for professionals. After Effects allows users to complete video compositing, motion graphics design, and animation projects. Animators also learn software like Photoshop and Cinema 4D. Each type of software performs a specific function, such as image generating or developing special effects; Animators using multiple types of software can layer them to create stunning work.

Live Online Animation Training

Future animators may opt to take courses live online instead of in person. One major perk of live online classes is their flexibility. Students can take the classes from any convenient location, such as a coffee shop, the office, or even from their relaxing lounge chair on a patio. Online classes also reduce commuting time, allowing students to fill the time with more productive endeavors. Or, possibly, online classes may be the only option for prospective learners who may not live close to in-person class locations. Yet, for some learners, online classes are a challenge. They might find they need the accountability that an in-person class provides.

If the benefits of online classes outweigh the drawbacks, Noble offers prospective students many live online animation classes. These animation classes are not Youtube-style training that you go through at your own pace. Instead, live online courses are taught by an instructor in real-time over Zoom or a similar platform. Their classes range from short courses for beginners to comprehensive certificate program courses. Explore other live online providers of animation courses using Noble’s Classes Near Me tool. Companies like Ledet Training and Lumenbrite provide software training. Prospective Animators can learn skills like Cinema 4D or After Effects. For many busy professionals, online courses can provide a way to switch careers more efficiently than traditional courses. 

On-Demand Animation Classes

When in-person and live online courses are too time-consuming to fit into a busy schedule, a possible option is to take on-demand or self-paced animation training courses. Without any set days/times for class, students can work through the material at their own rate, fitting coursework into available time slots. Self-motivated learners may thrive under this option; learners who require accountability may not find as much success. 

On-demand or self-paced classes differ in cost, quality, and difficulty level. Typically, on-demand courses cost less than in-person or live-online courses. Some may even be free. However, not all programs are created equally. Especially if a course requires a subscription or costs money, check company and course reviews before signing up. Some subscription services allow unlimited access for a set monthly price which is excellent for learners who can devote time to acquiring new skills. Although most subscription services are geared towards beginners, some provide intermediate and advanced skills lessons. Browse course options again before purchasing a program. 

Free Intro Courses & Tutorials

Attending an entire course takes a commitment. If you’re not ready yet to attend a course but want to start learning animation, enroll in a free online animation seminar. In this free introductory animation course from Noble, you’ll learn how to create motion graphics animation from a photo. By the end of the two hours, you will be adding easing and animating with keyframes like a pro. The class allows participants to test out animation. Love it? Then you’re ready to sign up for a full-length course.

Other online providers offer After Effects and Premiere Pro classes. Udemy’s Adobe After Effects: Complete Course from Novice to Expert teaches students how to create motion graphics and visual effects through several projects. They also have courses that move more slowly, covering just beginner skills. Coursera has some free courses and many paid courses that cover animation. Most are specialized, so it helps to know what area of animation you’re interested in. You can find anything from VR to biomedical animations. As always, sites like LinkedIn offer animation courses.

Read about more free animation videos and online tutorials.

Comparing Online Methods with In-Person Learning 

Are you interested in learning animation? Gaining the skills takes training through in-person, live online, or self-paced classes.

Enrolling in in-person classes is a sure way to learn new material. In-person courses allow for more interactions between students and the instructor. Students can ask questions and receive regular, immediate feedback. Sitting in the same room as their classmates will enable students to start their professional network. Fewer distractions are present in a classroom; students cannot say, take a short break that extends for an hour. Yet, in-person classes present some challenges. Depending on how far the class is, students can waste hours commuting. Or a local in-person class may not be an option. 

Live online courses bring many of the same benefits of in-person classes. Instructors guide students immediately, answering questions and tailoring responses to individual needs. Often live online and in-person courses structure class time around completing projects that showcase students’ skills. These projects can then be added to a portfolio. Students may even interact with one another through a virtual classroom. The option of live online is convenient; it requires zero commute time, but students must acquire their own up-to-date software, which can be pricey. 

The most cost-effective option for learning new skills is through on-demand or self-paced classes, but this type of training is not for everyone. Instructors pre-record lessons for students to access when it’s convenient for them. Quality varies widely. Self-paced or on-demand instructors may or may not assign projects for students to complete. Depending on the company or course, students may not have access to an instructor to answer their questions. Often on-demand courses cover the basics but do not cover more complicated topics. Since these courses are pre-recorded, the course information may also be outdated. Additionally, some learners may struggle without a class or instructor motivating them. It may be easy to fall behind or drop out. 

Consider the benefits of each type of training and any drawbacks before making a course decision, then enjoy learning animation skills. 

Tips to Succeed when Learning Animation Online

It can be difficult for students new to online learning to transition out of the classroom space. In-person learning offers students several slight advantages, such as a distraction-free learning environment and a cohort of classmates to collaborate with. This isn’t to say that online education is inferior (it can often be preferable), but students should be aware of the differences and take steps to maximize their chances of success.

One of the biggest reasons that many students prefer in-person learning is that the classroom space is designed to direct their attention toward their instructor and minimize the potential for distractions. Students may find that they must attempt to replicate this in their workspaces to avoid losing focus on their lessons. This may be as simple as ensuring that windows are closed and roommates aren’t too loud or as elaborate as finding someone to take care of a child or pet during the afternoon.

Similarly, students may need to do an honest self-assessment about whether or not they will be tempted to multitask or do other work during their online lessons. Some students may find it easy to try and do other work while their instructor provides essential information. This can greatly hinder a student’s ability to learn, so those new to an online learning environment should take the time to consider whether this will be a problem they need to address.

Finally, since so much of the process of learning animation is about the process and creative iteration, feedback is vital for students. While live online classes will provide students with feedback, the lack of a cohort to collaborate with can be problematic. Similarly, on-demand courses won’t give students any feedback on their work. Thus, students wanting to succeed online may wish to seek out other means of receiving honest feedback on their work.

Key Insights

  • Animation is the art of creating the illusion of movement in static images. Much of modern animation is done using computer applications, so learning animation online may be an ideal choice for aspiring Animators.
  • Online training is available through both live instruction and asynchronous on-demand course offerings.
  • Live instruction provides students with a learning environment replicating the feel of an in-person classroom, while on-demand learning lets students learn at their own pace.
  • Students wanting to succeed at online learning will want to prepare themselves for the new learning environment. They will want to work to minimize distractions, both external and internal, and they will want to find outside sources of feedback on their work.
  • Once students have committed to learning animation online, they can turn to Noble for many live online training opportunities.

Learn Animation with Hands-on Training at Noble Desktop

Many experts agree that animation is much easier to learn when taken either in a live online class or in person. Noble Desktop provides animation classes, from their live online training taken anywhere in the world to their in-person courses in Manhattan, so students can easily find a class that enables them to gain animation skills. Class sizes are small; students are not nameless faces on a computer screen. Instructors can provide plenty of attention and feedback to students. The school is committed to student learning, allowing students to retake the course free up to a year later if they want to brush up on skills. 

In just a few days, students can learn how to use Adobe After Effects in Noble Desktop's bootcamp. This class is ideal for people new to the field of animation and motion design who want to start creating moving graphics with industry-leading software. 

If you have more time, you can learn what it takes to become an Animator in Noble’s comprehensive Motion Graphics Certificate course. This class teaches animation with Adobe After Effects, video editing with Adobe Premiere Pro, and audio editing with Adobe Audition. These three pieces of software blend perfectly to create a polished final product. Participants will leave the course with a solid portfolio demonstrating their skills to future employers.

How to Learn Animation

Master animation with hands-on training. Animation is the process of manipulating still images so that they appear to move, often using software like After Effects, Cinema 4D, or Adobe Animate.

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