How to get started with animation: what you need to know
Whether you’re looking for a career change or trying to find a new hobby in the media arts field, animation might be a path worth checking out. Not only can you make a decent living as an animator, but it’s one of the many options out there for earning a living outside of an office, at home, at the beach or wherever you want to be.
GameDesigning.org reports in its article The Animation Job Market in 2019 & Beyond, that a little more than half of animators were self-employed as of 2014. Of course that number is likely even higher now, with more and more people taking advantage of the Internet working in remote positions from home. The hardest part is getting started, but these tips might just give you the edge you need to achieve your goal.
There are many types of animation, so the first thing to think about is what kind you want to start with. Most people begin with 2D animation, and there are tons of software options on the market to help you learn the basics. Two of the cheapest and most accessible programs are Toon Boom Harmony and Animate CC, but two others that are equally popular are TVPaint and After Effects. However, with some Google searching, you may even run across some free software too.
In order to animate, you’ll have to have a decent laptop or tablet. The nice thing about the software programs mentioned above is that they don’t need anything fancy to operate, any functioning desktop computer or a basic tablet can work for beginners. Of course, you probably already have something you can use right now and unless it’s very old, it will probably already be compatible with animation programs.
Creating a strategy
Before you get started with an animation project think about what direction you want to go with it. Most artists like to create their story and characters in regular sketchbooks before translating them to their digital form as it’s a good routine to get into. Next, plotting out each scene is key to brainstorming the overall goal of what you want to bring to life. As an animator, understanding how to edit videos properly will also assist in your post-production. This will ensure the finished product is exactly what you are aiming for.
And finally, figuring out your timing is one of the most important pieces to successfully bringing your artwork into motion. Mapping out how much time each object and character needs to move from X to Z is critical to having a smooth and flowing animation.
When it comes to learning any new skill, practice really does make perfect and that includes animation. No one learns how to master animation overnight or in a week, so no matter how hard it might seem at times it’s important to keep at it and perfecting your art. Animators never stop learning, and in order to keep growing at your new job or hobby, a substantial amount of practice will be required.