April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

April 16, 2024

Mastering Animation: The Best Tutorials for Aspiring Animators

Mastering Animation: The Best Tutorials for Aspiring Animators

Mastering Animation: The Best Tutorials for Aspiring Animators




AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner & Data Science

Toy Story was one of the first animated movies I remember watching, and back then, I was captivated by how the characters were brought to life. As I grew older and watched more animated movies, whether 2D or 3D, I realized how cool everything really was.

Animation can seem like an extremely daunting pool to stick a toe into, but learning animation for beginners can be made incredibly easy when you have great teachers by your side. Thankfully, the internet is a massive resource with a lot of free stuff and I’ll show you some of the gems.

Fundamentals of Animation: Tutorials for Beginners

If you’re just getting started with animation, there are a lot of terms that you’re bound to run into quite a bit. For instance, if you don’t know what storyboarding is from the onset, you’re going to have a pretty tough time at the office, even with the best animation tutorials at your disposal.

This section will guide you to some of the best animation tutorials for beginners that you can find right now.

  1. For Character Design

Not all animation projects have characters. After all, you could animate a ball bouncing down a slope or a faucet dripping. However, most people aim to animate characters, and the first step is to learn to design characters. Fortunately, character design tips apply the same to 2D and 3D.

This YouTube video from TipTut gives basic insight into what you need to design your first character and have them ready for their first foray into being animated.

  1. For Fundamental Animation Principles

If you’re going to get ready for a life as an animator (or a hobby, that’s cool too!), you’ll need to know the 12 fundamental principles of animation. Honestly, as a beginner, I think it is incredibly important for you to have these by your side, as during the actual animation process, many of these add extra “polish” to your animation to make it look professional.

This video from TipTut covers principles such as squash & stretch, exaggeration, staging, etc.

  1. For Storyboarding

Now, before you can move on to animating, it’s a good idea to learn storyboarding. Truth be told, you can animate without a storyboard, especially very simple and short sequences, but you’ll certainly find it easier to have a storyboard. Plus, it’s not a complex thing to learn or understand.

In fact, I think this storyboarding tutorial from RobynO on YouTube is a perfect way to get into the concept and start using it yourself.

2D Animation and Tradition Techniques

Animation was born in the 2D form, so if you have a good foundation in art already, it’s the best place to start if you want to learn to animate (though not necessary). Here, let’s talk about some of the best tutorials you can use to learn 2D animation.

  1. For General 2D Animation (Several Vital Courses)

2D animation isn’t the kind of thing that you learn in a night. You can learn the principles, but it is up to you to make sure that you apply them well and practice a lot. However, if 2D animation was a book, it’d be massive. You can do your best to learn as many important techniques as possible.

The course below is from NobleFrugal Studio on YouTube and comprises multiple videos relating to 2D animation. The best part is that it is still being updated, so you can check again in a month and see something new. However, the in-between video might be the single one I might choose if you were to take just one of them.

  1. Learning 2D Animation Software: Adobe Animate

Adobe Animate is one of the most popular choices of software to do 2D animation with, and it’ll set you back just about $20 a month, which isn’t that bad for software with such potential. It’s important that you know how to use it well though.

This tutorial series from Devon Kong should help a lot in getting the hang of the program.

  1. Learning 2D Animation Software: Toon Boom Harmony

Toon Boon Harmony is considered one of the industry-standard options for animating in 2D and if you’re ambitious, it might be the program that you want to use. That’s understandable and the good thing is that there are many tutorials showing how to use it.

Here is the Toon Boom Harmony tutorial series from Jesse J. Jones. To be honest, it’s a bit dated, but the core functionality still remains even in the newest version of the program.

  1. Keeping 2D Animations and Drawings Consistent

One advantage of the 3D animation medium is that once you already have a character, AKA a model, set up, you don’t need to worry much about replicating the character perfectly from scene to scene. 

Unfortunately, 2D animation, most of the time, involves a new drawing for each frame. It can be hard to keep things consistent all the time, but this tutorial from Toniko Pantoja can help you out with that.

3D Animation Tutorials

Most people who draw learned how to when they were young, but when it comes to 3D modeling, you have to use specialized software, so the barrier to entry is higher. Let’s cover some 3D animation guides to help you out.

  1. For Designing Character Models

Creating a 3D character model from scratch can be a lot harder than a 2D character. Everyone has different ways to come up with designs, but if you’re unsure of how to get into it, this video from Proko details the workflow that Scott Flanders uses, and this can be applied to any application.

  1. Learning 3D Animation Software: Autodesk Maya

3D animation software is incredibly complex and Autodesk Maya is considered the industry standard. This playlist from Maya Learning Channel can get you started. Plus, many other videos on the channel can be helpful for you at the intermediate and advanced stages.

Autodesk Maya is one of the top choices from many of the best 3D animation studios in the world, so it’s a good place to learn if you have ambition.

  1. Learning 3D Animation Software: Blender

Blender is the most popular open-source and free program for 3D modeling, and in the right hands, it can be incredibly capable. Fortunately, being free, there are a lot of free resources available for it.

This Blender playlist from Blender Guru is intended for absolute noobs to Blender, and by the end, you’ll actually have a finished product: a donut animation!

  1. Learning 3D Animation Software: Cinema 4D

Cinema 4D is another very popular option for 3D modeling and animation, and if it is your choice of 3D modeling program, it’s not too tough to find great courses to teach you how to get the hang of it. This one, from TutorTube, is a very effective choice. Each video is rather brief but potent, with several individual videos to teach you all the major aspects of the program. Online animation classes like this can take a long time to complete, but they cover almost all the bases.

Whether you’ll be animating with keyframes or motion capture, Cinema 4D has your back.

Specialized Tutorials in Stop Motion and Motion Graphics

Some forms of animation fall out of the typical categories, such as stop motion, claymation, and motion graphics. Here, we’ll provide a few tutorials you can use to get started with these.

  1. Learning Stop Motion Animation

Stop motion animation is one of the more niche forms of animating things, and the animation studio Laika is best known for using this style to great effect. You can get started with stop-motion animation using all sorts of items found at home and on your smartphone.

  1. Learning Claymation

Claymation is a dying art and one of the more advanced animation techniques. It has its own charm, and animation studios like Aardman are best known for it. You might know them for the Wallace & Gromit series and Chicken Run. It’s a form of stop-motion animation in itself, but might arguably be harder than using rigid objects.

  1. Learning Motion Graphics (And Adobe After Effects)

Technically, motion graphics (or motion design) count as 2D animation, but it is such a different discipline that it is hard to put them under the same umbrella. However, motion design is extremely marketable these days and can be less intense than traditional 2D animation. Adobe After Effects is the most popular software of choice for this.

If you’re entirely unfamiliar with Adobe After Effects, the tutorial below can get you up to speed, real quick.


It’s so easy to take animation for granted, but it is genuinely one of the most fascinating and challenging aspects of modern art to master. Once you learn it though, you’ll feel very rewarded, especially when you have a creative mind and the proper technical skills to back up your ambitions.

Jump on any tutorial of your choice and a Vagon cloud desktop to get to work animating. No matter how heavy your workloads get, a Vagon system will be able to keep things running buttery smooth.

Ready to focus on your creativity?

Vagon gives you the ability to create & render projects, collaborate, and stream applications with the power of the best hardware.