“Here is the world of imagination, hopes, and dreams. In this timeless land of enchantment, the age of chivalry, magic and make-believe are reborn - and fairy tales come true.” - Walt Disney

Since 1934’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was released, Disney has continued to grow and produce animated films that have inspired many animators.

Which aspiring animator hasn’t dreamt of working at Disney?

However, you might want to practise at home first. Whether it’s a small project at home or a big project with a studio, here are some of the tools you can use.

Animation Programs for Beginners

Starting an animation project is quite a challenge. Not everyone knows how to draw well or can use 2D or 3D animation software. It can take years to become a professional animator.

Which are the best animation programs for beginners?
If you're just getting started with animation, you may want to try something simple and achievable. (Source: 5187396)

However, in recent years, a lot of programs have popped up that can help aspiring animators.

More and more people are sharing their creations on YouTube and other online platforms so if you want to create your first animation, there are several accessible programs and platforms.

Find out how to make your first animation.

LightMV

LightMV is a program that you can use to make animations. It’s fully accessible online but you can also download it to your computer or tablet. You can’t draw directly onto the program, but you can add the elements that will make up your animation. It’s a good option to try out a bit of animation.

Powtoon

Powtoon can be used to make an animated CV, slide show, or an animation. It’s very intuitive and users can choose from a variety of templates.

Moovly

A bit like Powtoon, Moovly is a program that allows anyone to put together videos. You can use to make infographics and presentations, too. A subscription is necessary to access the suite of tools.

FlipaClip

This animation tool is designed with beginners in mind. Everyone can use the animation and design tools to create their own clips. You can download them as MP4s or as GIFs. You can download the app for iOS and Android devices. It’s very useful for making quick animations on the go.

Toontastic 3D

Thanks to Toontastic 3D, users can create an animated video with the 3D characters from the program’s library. But rather than using just a default character, you can also edit them and make your own story with them.

Which are the most useful animation programs?
The most useful program is the one that gets you animating! (Source: Cdd20)

Find out more about learning to animate.

Animation Programs for Experts

Once you’re confident and would like to take your animations further, there are several programs you can use. These programs are more powerful but also take more time to learn. If IT isn’t your thing, you may struggle with them at first.

AutoDesk Maya

AutoDesk Maya isn’t that easy to pick up. In fact, you’ll need a lot of training and practice to get the hang of it. However, once you get the hang of it, it’s a powerful program for 3D modelling and animation. The tools can help you make very realistic animations.

Which are the best animation programs for experts?
Once you've got the hang of animating, you'll want more powerful tools to help you with the process. (Source: Prawny)

AutoDesk Softimage

AutoDesk Softimage is a program that was developed in the 2000s and bought by AutoDesk. It’s no longer updated but you can still use it to make animations. Amateur animators will enjoy how easy it can be to use.

Houdini

Houdini is useful 3D imaging, modelling, texturing, and animation.

Aurora 3D Animation Maker

Aurora 3D Animation Maker is useful for those wishing to experiment with 3D animation. Far from the simplest of programs, it’s still useful for getting the hang of animation. It’s a good stepping stone for those who want to move onto more complicated programs.

Adobe After Effects

After Effects isn’t dedicated to animation but when used with programs like Premiere Pro, it can be used to animate certain elements. It’s quite intuitive and you can find tonnes of online tutorials for it.

Blender

Blender is often recommended by amateurs and experts. It can be used for 3D modelling and animations and is accessible to both professionals and amateurs. You can work on lighting, post-production, texturing, and modelling.

Find out more about the equipment you'll need to start animating.

Animation Programs for Professionals

Are you looking for professional-grade animation programs?

Here are some programs that will help you create beautiful animations.

Which are the best professional animation programs?
The programs used by the professionals are often perfectly suited to their project and, in many cases, quite costly. (Source: MacGyverNRW)

Animation Paper

Created by Niels Krogh Mortensen, Animation Paper is a gem for those who love traditional animation. It allows you to create hand-drawn animations like the good old days. Its creator is a developer, director, animator, and graphic designer.

It works on computers and tablets and is useful for drawing and cleaning up images for use in animation. You can easily duplicate elements rather than having to draw them again for each frame.e

As you’ll have gathered, this is the tool for those looking to create hand-drawn 2D animations.

Moho

Moho is another professional-grade program. It was developed by animators and video game developers. It blends 3D and 2D animation and also has a lip-syncing tool. This tool can make the whole process much easier.

To get started, you can download characters from a library. It’s a great way to animate.

Pencil2D

Pencil2D is an open-source animation software, which means you can get it for free. Users can create their own animations in bitmap or vector formats.

This means you can use the animations on different scales. Without tweening, an animator often has to redraw an image. The “onion skin” option allows animators to see several frames at once.

This program is good for animators who can’t spend thousands on software.

Animate CC

Animate CC from Adobe has replaced Flash that was commonly used for animation online. The program uses vector graphics and also allows onion skinning like in other animation software.

The best thing is that you can edit your animations in 4K. Quality guaranteed!

Find out how to start animating.

Don't forget that when you're planning out your work, you'll get a better idea of what you need. Certain programs are better suited to creating certain types of animation so while you won't need a full script, it's important that you have an idea of the story, the way the characters will move, and even maybe the designs of the characters.

If you need help with drawing, animation, scriptwriting, or character design, consider getting help from one of the many talented and experienced private tutors on Superprof. There are tutors all over the country and around the world ready to help you learn new skills, prepare for exams, or take up new hobbies.

There are three main ways to enjoy private tutorials: face-to-face with your tutor, online, or in a group with other students. Each type of tutorial comes with its advantages and disadvantages so it's really down to you, how you like to learn, and your budget.

Face-to-face tutorials are the most common type of tutorials offered and are usually the most popular. With just you and your tutor in the class, you can be sure that the lessons will focus on your learning and your tutor will tailor every session to you and how you like to learn. As the tutor will require extra time to plan bespoke lessons, they usually tend to charge more per hour for the service. However, while face-to-face tutorials are usually the most expensive per hour, they're also the most cost-effective.

For those on a tight budget, group tutorials are a way to share the cost of the tutors time with other students in the class. These other students can be friends, family members, or even complete strangers. This does mean that the lessons won't be tailored just to you but you will usually pay less than you would per person for a one-to-one session.

Finally, online tutorials are useful if you can't find any suitable tutors that live near you or neither of you are able to travel. As long as you have a webcam and a decent internet connection, you can learn a variety of skills and study a range of topics from private tutors all over the world.

There's a lot to think about when it comes to hiring a private tutor so it's a good idea to take your time when choosing. Fortunately, a lot of tutors on Superprof offer the first lesson for free so you can try out several different tutors and see if they're right for you before choosing to hire them.

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Jess