The animation industry is experiencing a boom right now.

Even though the art form has been around for hundreds of years, new technology has made animation more prevalent than ever. More powerful software and computers mean that individuals can now create animations that would have previously taken a whole studio to complete.

We now have more screens and animation opportunities than ever.

This means that if you’re an aspiring designer, learning animation is something you should consider if you want to increase your career options or even just flex your creative muscles. At the same time, if you just want to animate for fun as a hobby, it’s a rewarding and fun pursuit.

Learning to animate on your own can be challenging. There are many different digital tools and pieces of industry software that you can use. Animation is a diverse discipline with several directions you can go in depending on what type you want to specialize in.

You could teach yourself animation by diving headfirst into an app and watching online tutorials. Still, taking one of the many online animation courses is a much better way to learn. 

Many online courses are available, and being online means you have many choices. Remote learning is flexible and, in many cases, cost-effective. Plus, you get to learn from professional animators.

To help you find a course that suits your needs, we’ve created this handy list of courses covering all the animation field's main areas.

1. For Adobe users: Hand-Drawn Digital Animation: Bring Illustrations to Life with Yukai Du

Acclaimed illustrator Yukai Du invites you to transform your static drawings into captivating animations! This Domestika course equips you to combine the art of illustration with industry-standard 2D animation software like Photoshop, After Effects, and Animate.

Learn how to take your unique drawings and infuse them with movement, giving them a whole new life. Master the fundamentals of animation using these powerful tools, and develop the skills to craft playful and unforgettable visuals.

By the course's end, you'll be equipped to elevate your illustrations and create stunning animations, ready to capture any audience.

This course is perfect for:

  • Illustrators who want to learn animation
  • Anyone who wants to create engaging visual content
  • Those interested in learning how to use Adobe

Pricing: $39.99

2. For game designers: 12 Principles of Animation for Games in Maya with Justin Harrison

If you’re a complete animation newbie or someone who knows a little and would like to brush up on your animation skills, this gaming animation course is an excellent place to start. Theoretically, you can get into animation without knowing the 12 principles of animation

Understanding the basics of animation will put you in a much better position to progress.

This course covers basic techniques like squash and stretch, timing, slow in and slow out, exaggeration, and more. It explains how you can use these animation principles to breathe life into your animated characters and objects. While they aren’t all there is to animation, they are the best place to start. 

It’s taught by Justin Harrison, the Associate Lead Animator at the behemoth Rockstar Games, so you’re in safe hands.

This course is best used with the 3D animation software Maya, although it can be used with other 3D animation applications. It lasts just over two hours and costs $19, so it doesn’t require too much financial investment or time. You can take the course through the developers, 3dmotive, or Udemy.

Pricing: $19 or $9 from 3dmotive

3. For 3D animators: Learn 3D Animation – The Ultimate Blender Guide with Alex Cordebard

The open-source 3D animation software Blender is one of the most popular animation apps. As it’s free, it’s an excellent tool for learning how to create 3D models and animations. One of the app's drawbacks is its steep learning curve, making a course like this one even more relevant.

3D animation is growing in popularity, and there are plenty of opportunities to work in the field of animation.

Considering a career in 3D animation? This Udemy course, paired with Blender, provides allows you to start your journey on the best foot. Master essential Blender tools and animation principles.

The course is taught by 3D artist and instructor Alex Cordebard and lasts around 26 hours, so you know it has depth. One of the advanced aspects of the course is that you will work on hands-on projects throughout and actively practice the skills you are learning. But if you want to take it a step further, you can also enroll in his course in 3D character animation.

It’s not the most affordable at $139, but it comes with lifetime access, so you can revisit it, refresh your memory, and hone your technical skills whenever you like.

Pricing: $48

‍4. For mastering Maya: Maya for Beginners: Complete Guide to 3D Animation in Maya with Lucas Ridley

Do you aspire to work in the film industry? Or would you like to be involved in making games? If your answer to either of these questions is yes, you must get to grips with Autodesk Maya. 

Autodesk Maya is considered the industry standard software for 3D animation. If you want to work at a high level in a professional environment and make feature films, then learning how to use this animation app is necessary for your career.

This 3D animation course is a hands-on, creative experience. You’ll learn how to use Autodesk Maya by creating a project with it. You’ll work on a scene inspired by Dia de Los Muertos (aka The Day of the Dead), where you animate a skeleton, which is pretty cool. 

The instructor for the course is Lucas Ridley, a professional 3D animator who has worked on many Hollywood productions, including Steven Spielberg’s, Ready Player One (2018).

The course takes more than 25 hours to complete and covers how to rig, texture, animate, model, use light, use dynamics, and render with Maya. You’ll learn how to: 

  • Build and design 3D objects
  • Animate these objects with keyframes
  • Add shading, lighting, and texturing; 
  • Rig a 3D character for animation
  • Create dynamic special effects
  • Construct a full 3D animation sequence

Pricing: $69

5. For creating characters: Simple Character Animation with Fraser Davidson

Many people get interested in animation because they want to be able to create and animate their own characters. If bringing your own animated characters to life sounds like the exact thing you want to do, then this Skillshare course is a great place to learn the basics of animation.

Simple Character Animation is taught by the award-winning director and professional animator Fraser Davidson and covers everything you need to know to get started. The course takes a step-by-step approach and uses a simple walking animation as an example. In the end, you’ll even be able to export it as a GIF.

You’ll learn how to use Adobe Illustrator to animate and understand key elements needed for character design. You’ll also learn how to build and rig in After Effects for animation and how to render your projects when you have finished them. 

The total course length is around one hour, so it’s a good way to dip your toe into animation without investing too much time.

Pricing: You need a Skillshare membership to take this course

6. For getting to grips with CGI: Animation and CGI Motion with Eitan Grinspun

This edX course is quite advanced, and you’ll need good existing knowledge in a few areas to dive into it, but no one said making animations look crazy realistic was an easy feat. 

You know CGI from the movies, and if you want to know how to do it and how you can work in this area, then Animation and CGI Motion could be a solid first step.

Eitan Grinspun, an Associate Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering and the director of the Columbia Computer Graphics Group teaches it. He’s part of the team that has developed technology licensed by giants like Pixar Animation Studios, LucasFilm, and Disney for their animated films. 

The course lasts 12 weeks and will take 8 to 10 hours per week, so it’s not for the casual learner.

Before starting, you’ll need knowledge of C or C++ programming, calculus, and algebra. This might sound pretty heavy-duty, but when you consider what you’ll learn in the course, you understand why it’s necessary. 

You’ll learn the fundamental concepts of physical simulation and practice coding using a physics simulator. You'll also learn about the algorithms and equations used in CGI animation. The course is heavy on mathematics, but it then shows how these concepts are applied to create the movements of a dress in the wind or how fluids flow.

Pricing: Free for limited access or $249 for full access

7. For use with an iPad: Mixed Media Animation in Procreate with Caroline Kjellberg

The iPad is a great tool for drawing and animation, and there are many apps available. The downside is that you’ll have to wade through many tutorials or spend plenty of time figuring things out to progress. 

This mixed media animation course from motion designer and animator Caroline Kjellberg can help you accelerate learning to animate with an iPad by guiding you through the Procreate animation app.

Caroline has used storytelling animation in her work with brands like Beats by Dre and Adobe, so she knows a thing or two about creating animations that appeal to an audience. 

Using the Procreate frame-by-frame animation app, you’ll learn how to create a storyboard, shoot your own animation sequence, and design a looping animation using mixed media. The course takes just over eight hours to complete, so it’s fairly in-depth.

What we like about this course is that it gives you an insight into how to work with clients, a skill that will help you if you want to become a professional digital animator.

Pricing: $36

8. For aspiring 2D animators: 2D Animation for Beginners with T. Dan Hofstedt

Suppose you want to learn the art of 2D animation. This course is an ideal place to start as it effectively bridges traditional forms of 2D animation production with more modern approaches. 

The course is taught by Jay Jackson, an experienced animator who has worked on classic animated films like The Little Mermaid (1980) and Tarzan (1990).

This 2D animation course is a little different from the others on this list as it runs in seasons. You can either join for a course starting in Spring or a course starting in Fall. Places are limited, and it runs in a six-week workshop format. 

You can follow the workshops at home on your own time, and then once a week, you will have a live meeting with your mentor. The program also includes live Q&A sessions with Jay Jackson.

In this 2D Animation for Beginners course, you’ll learn the basic principles and workflows of 2D animation and dive deeper into the key concepts of emotion and movement in animation. The classic exercises also teach you to apply posing, timing, and framing to 3D character animations.

To take the course, you’ll need a digital painting device like a tablet and an animation app like RoughAnimator or Harmony by Toon Boom. The course is pricier, but the expert input and feedback are valuable.

Pricing: $899

9. For stop motion: Stop Motion for Beginners: Create Expert Animations in Dragonframe with Dina Amin

We love the art of stop motion animation at Linearity and believe it creates animations with a unique character and feel. Clay animation, cut-out animation, and puppet animation are just some ways you can use stop motion. 

If you’d like to learn how to create your own stop motion animations, then this stop motion course is for you.

Taught by animator Dina Amin, Stop Motion for Beginners covers everything you need to know to get started, including detailing exactly what equipment you’ll need, and how you can generate creative ideas for your animation project. 

You’ll also learn about animation's laws and design principles and what you need to do to set everything up for your own animation.

The course uses the Dragonframe stop motion animation app, which is the industry standard for stop motion and the app used by many major studios, so you’ll need to invest in that as well to take the course. It also covers how to export your projects when they are done and what post-production you can do.

Pricing: You need a Skillshare membership to take this course

10. For real beginners: How to Animate with Matthew Fryer

This free, six-part video course on YouTube or Class Central breaks the mold of typical animation tutorials. Forget just learning how to animate – this course equips you with the entire animation process, transforming your ideas into polished creations. 

In less than an hour, you'll learn to craft a captivating script, visualize it with storyboards, and breathe life into your characters with engaging designs. Learn how to create animatics, the bridge between script and animation, and set the stage for your story with stunning backgrounds and title cards. 

This course also equips you with valuable animation tips and tricks to elevate your skills, and even guides you on effectively exhibiting your finished masterpiece. This is a perfect course for anyone who's new to animation and wants to learn the entire process. 

Pricing: Free

11. For motion graphic animation: After Effects Motion Graphics Beast with Alan Ayoubi

This Udemy course is designed for both beginners and experienced animators who want to improve their After Effects skills.

The course covers everything you need to know, from the basics of After Effects to advanced animation techniques. You'll learn about keyframes, Graph Editors, animation principles, and more.

The course also includes practical exercises and real-world projects. By the end, you'll have a strong animation portfolio to showcase your skills and land freelance jobs.

Pricing: $48

12. For cartoonists: Animating 3D Cartoon Characters in Blender with Ulises Cervantes

This animated character course, led by animator Ulises Cervantes, will teach you how to bring cartoon characters to life using Blender, regardless of your experience level. 

You'll learn the fundamentals of acting in animation, from exaggerating actions to believably expressing emotions. Whether you're a complete beginner or a 3D artist comfortable with other software, Cervantes' fun and efficient approach will have you animating captivating characters in no time. 

The course is available in both English and Spanish, making it accessible to a wider audience. By the end, you'll be able to create characters that tell stories through their poses, gestures, and actions, leaving viewers amazed.

Pricing: $36

13. For seasoned animators: Advanced After Effects with Carlos “Zenzuke” Albarrán

Creative director and industry-pro Zenzuke (Carlos Albarrán) offers a comprehensive 5-course learning path designed to make you an After Effects novice master.

This program builds upon the foundation laid in Zenzuke's previous course, "Introduction to After Effects".

You’ll start with advanced techniques for manipulating the cornerstones of motion graphics: shape layers and text animators. You'll then learn how to create flexible layouts for various content, even incorporating external data from spreadsheets or databases.

Learning rigging will allow you to breathe life into characters and simplify complex animations. Zenzuke will guide you through its application, opening up a world of creative possibilities.

The course doesn't stop there. You'll also discover how to seamlessly integrate After Effects with other creative tools like Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Figma. Learn efficient workflows for a smooth transition between these programs, maximizing your creative power.

Finally, Zenzuke equips you with workflow optimization tricks to elevate your After Effects experience. Master composition optimization, color management, and other practical tips to boost your efficiency and project quality.

Pricing: $36

14. For web development: Learn SVG Animation - With HTML, CSS & Javascript with Sam Billingham

This fast-paced course will guide you through creating six unique SVG projects and introduce you to various animation techniques. With animation now standard practice in user interfaces, this course equips you to add a touch of magic to client projects.

They'll provide all the SVG files you need, but you'll also learn how to create them yourself using Adobe Illustrator (or similar software). Detailed video screencasts will walk you through real projects designed specifically for this course.

By the end, you can animate logos and social icons, create hand-drawn text animations, understand CSS animation properties, and confidently apply gradients and masks. You'll even start with CodePen and learn the basics of online SVG optimization.

For those completely new to SVG, consider the starter course, "SVG & CSS Animation - Using HTML & CSS," for a beginner-friendly introduction.

Pricing: $18

15. For UI animation: UI Animation using Sketch 3, Principle App, and Flinto with Pablo Stanley

Learn UI animation and prototyping with this comprehensive course by Pablo Stanley, a seasoned designer with 18 years of experience!

Learn industry-standard tools like Sketch 3 for efficient UI design, Flinto & Principle for crafting captivating UI animations and micro-interactions, and Marvel App & Invision's Craft Plugin for creating seamless interactive prototypes.

The course offers over an hour of video content with clear explanations and step-by-step guidance. Follow a structured curriculum or jump around based on your skill level. Apply your knowledge through hands-on projects and gain valuable insights from Pablo's design workflow.

This course is perfect for web and mobile app designers, developers curious about UI design, product managers seeking to expand their skill sets, and graphic designers who want to create interactive web and mobile experiences.

Pricing: $16

“For a beginner, I recommend studying your favorite animators' work. Watch a lot of their work and study the movements of each scene. Then, try to reproduce them. You learn a lot quicker by doing!” - Maddy Zoli, Senior Designer

Learn how to animate with Linearity Move

We offer various free animation tutorials using Linearity Move, our innovative animation design software. These tutorials are a great starting point for anyone wanting to learn animation fundamentals through Move. 

These user-friendly guides get into the core features of the platform, empowering you to create engaging animations without prior animation experience. Get started for free below, or check out our Pro and Org pricing for teams.

Bring motion in-house

Animate marketing assets in seconds with Linearity Move.

Get started
Linearity Linearity
Learn to draw with vectors using Linearity Curve. It's seamlessly integrated with Linearity Move to make storyboarding and animation a seamless process with powerful results.

Here are a few key features highlighted in the Move tutorials that make animation accessible:

  • Auto Animate: Don't feel like painstakingly moving each frame? The Auto Animate feature in Move is the tool for you. This tool lets you set start and end points for your animation, and Move takes care of the in-between frames. The tutorials will explain how to utilize auto-animate, saving you time and effort while creating smooth transitions.
  • Design and Animate Mode: Design Mode lets you focus solely on the appearance of your scene elements without messing with the animations. You can easily edit existing assets or create entirely new ones from scratch, all within this dedicated space. Animate mode is the heart of creating animations. Here, you can modify various properties of objects, like their position, size, opacity, or color, over time. 
  • Presets: Move offers a library of pre-built animation presets for those who want a jumpstart on their animations. These presets cover a range of common movements, like pulses, jumps, and twinkles. The Move tutorials will guide you through these presets and how to use them in your projects

With these features and easy tutorials, you can learn how to animate at your own pace, whether you’re a beginner or a seasoned pro. You can also browse our 3,000+ free design templates:

Join our creative community of designers and illustrators, and don't forget to share your art with us on social media @linearityhq.

Frequently asked questions

What are the prerequisites for enrolling in an animation course?

There isn't usually a strict requirement in terms of prior education, but a strong foundation in drawing and a passion for animation are definitely beneficial. Some programs might recommend applicants have a high school diploma or equivalent.

How long do animation courses take?

The duration varies depending on the program level (certificate vs degree) and the specific course. Animation courses can range from a few hours or weeks for a short workshop to several years for a master's degree.

What types of animation courses are there?

There are courses that cover traditional hand-drawn animation, computer animation (2D and 3D), and specializations like character design, storyboarding, or 3D modeling.

Do I need a degree to become an animator?

While a degree is not essential, it can be helpful in terms of acquiring the necessary skills, building a portfolio, and making industry connections.

How much do animation courses cost?

The cost can vary depending on the program's format (online vs in-person), the institution, and the length of the course. Generally, certificate programs are less expensive than degrees.

The 15 best online animation courses for any skill level | Linearity
The 15 best online animation courses for any skill level | Linearity