Which Animation Training Format Is Right for Me?

Compare Learning Methods: In-Person, Live Online, On-Demand, and Tutorials

Explore the world of animation and various career paths that it opens up. Learn about different animation training formats, the benefits and drawbacks of each, and how to choose the best one for your specific learning style and career goals.

Key Insights

  • Animation is the process of photographing a still image, making slight modifications to the image while taking successive pictures, and showing them rapidly to give the illusion of movement. It is used not only in movies and television shows but also in creating moving graphics for websites, video games, or visual effects.
  • Learning animation can lead to various careers such as filmmaking, special effects development, image creation for different media types, and roles such as Medical or Mathematical Animators, Illustrators, Games Developers, and VFX Artists.
  • Animation training can be in-person, live online, or self-paced/on-demand. Each format has its own benefits and drawbacks, so it's crucial to understand your own learning needs when deciding on a training program.
  • Noble Desktop offers various animation classes, both in-person and live online. They provide comprehensive certificate programs that equip students with industry-standard concepts and software in as little as two months.
  • While self-instruction can help you learn the basic skills of animation, mastering any aspect of animation typically requires professional instruction. You need to practice and receive feedback to grow as an animator.
  • Salaries for animation careers can vary greatly depending on the role and experience level. For instance, as per the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, multimedia artists and animators earned a median annual wage of $75,270 in May 2019.

Animation is the art of giving life to still images using many techniques and applications. Anyone with an artistic eye or an eye for design may want to learn some aspect of animation. When comparing types of animation training, there are many factors to consider. Everyone learns differently, and choosing the proper training is critical to your experience.

Keep reading to learn more about the different formats of animation training, how they compare, and how to determine which is 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?

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.

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. 

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.

Training Formats for Animation

Students have many different training options to choose from when it comes to animation training. They can receive specialized animation instruction or decide to learn tools commonly used in animation. They can learn in person or online, and these courses can be live or asynchronous. Each option has different affordances, so students should know their own needs when selecting a training program.

In-Person Animation Training

Learning animation in person lets people get to know other animators and interact directly with an instructor. This can be useful since peers in the classroom could work alongside one another on future projects. Standard in-person classes also require learners to join the classroom community by participating and working collaboratively with other students. Sometimes it’s easier for some learners to fade into anonymity during online classes, which lessens their effectiveness. However, in-person classes have their own set of drawbacks. Commuting to a class or finding childcare can be especially tough for busy adults, especially if the class is a significant distance away. 

If you prefer the accountability of an in-person class, Noble has created a Classes Near Me tool where you can find in-person animation classes. They summarize content covered in popular animation courses across the United States in cities such as Los Angeles, Chicago, and Denver. If you’re located in the New York City area, Noble offers in-person animation courses. Just minutes from multiple subway lines, Amtrack stops, and bus stops, Noble is an easy commute for New York residents as well as residents of New Jersey. Noble provides many different in-person animation classes, including a well-reviewed After Effects Bootcamp that teaches students to create videos, animations, special effects, and animated titles. Students are immersed in animation concepts and software for three days through instruction and projects.

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. 

Free Online 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.

On-Demand 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.

Comparison of Animation Training Formats

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. 

Is it Possible to Teach Yourself Animation?

While you can learn the fundamental skills of animation through self-instruction, it is challenging to master any aspect of animation without professional instruction. Students can watch videos and tutorials, but they need to practice and receive feedback to grow as animators. It is possible for amateurs to slowly pick up animation skills over time, but anyone with professional aspirations will need to learn quicker and more effectively.

Students can pick up a lot of animation techniques and styles through self-education and free resources. A large part of this is watching animated projects and exploring the kinds of work other creatives produce. This won’t be enough to implement these techniques, but knowing what types of things can be done will help students decide what additional training they will seek. 

How to Decide the Best Way to Learn Animation

Although there are multiple ways to learn animation, each pathway fits a different type of student. It’s essential first to identify who you are as a learner. That way, you will be more likely to find the route best suited to you.

Mini classes may be the answer for curious beginners who need a high-level overview or for people interested in picking up animation as a hobby. These classes are free or cost very little. Consider checking out Noble’s Intro to Premiere Pro seminar. It will get you editing videos in no time. Another good choice is their Intro to After Effects, where you can get a sense of the program's animation features and start creating motion graphics or animations. Since both seminars are free and short, deciding that animation is not for you has no consequence. 

Beginners who want to develop a strong working knowledge of Animation or intermediate learners who wish to plug a skill gap or grow within a current role may wish to check out Noble’s bootcamps. In their Premiere Pro Bootcamp course, learners leverage the software to create polished and eye-catching professional videos in their Premiere Pro Bootcamp course. Adobe After Effects blends usually blends well with Premiere Pro to create animations in videos. In just three days, you can learn how to animate titles, create special effects, and animate 2D and 3D figures in Noble’s Adobe After Effects Bootcamp

Want to master Animation for a new career or pivot to a new industry? A certificate program will provide the in-depth knowledge you’ll need to acquire an entry-level job, plus time and support to develop a portfolio that showcases your skills. Some certificate classes also provide help with finding a job. Noble offer a Motion Graphics Certificate class that teaches industry-standard concepts and software. This certificate stresses animations, motion graphics, and special effects. If you want to add video editing on top of that, you could enroll in a Video Editing & Motion Graphics Certificate class instead. This class also teaches how to use Premiere Pro to edit dialogue, background noise, and add music. You could be ready to apply for animation jobs in as little as two months.

Considering your reason for taking classes before signing up will ensure that your time and money are not wasted. It may be worth speaking with an enrollment counselor, sharing your goals, and defining your current level of expertise to decide what course or program is right for you. 

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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