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During the Victorian Era, a number of pre-film animation devices existed, such as the zoetrope, praxinoscope, and thaumatrope. These devices all used a serious of two or more drawings to create the illusion of movement. In 1906, J. Stewart Blackton created the first official animated film, a three-minute short called "Humorous Phases of Funny Faces." Thirteen years later, Felix the Cat hit the scene, and in 1928 Mickey Mouse debuted in "Steamboat Willie."
Animations of today have come a long way since the early years of Walt Disney. With computer graphics capabilities, motion capture, and advanced animation software, animators have a plethora of powerful tools on their side. They can create animations that rival reality or allow their audiences to inhabit completely new worlds in
virtual reality. The art of animation is all about possibilities and making the impossible possible, and the surreal, real.
Why Learn Animation?
Most people choose to study animation because they're already passionate about it. Whether you love creating human or animal characters, drawing, doodling flipbooks, or enjoy watching animation, if animation excites you, then you might as well learn it. Knowledgeable, skilled animators have plenty of opportunities across several industries.
Depending on what excites you most, you can work on animated films at a major studio, like Walt Disney, Pixar, or Dreamworks. You can go to work designing and animating your favorite video games. Some animators choose to focus on animated graphics for marketing purposes, working on developing beloved characters like the Geico Gecko.
Most people with the potential to become talented animators would draw all day long, whether they got paid or not. Just imagine getting paid to do the thing you love most. When you learn animation, you gain a multitude of very real, practical, and exciting applications for your love of art and inherent abilities.
The Best Way to Learn Animation and What You'll Study in Classes
Although you can find plenty of free animation classes and tutorials online, the best way to learn animation is with one-on-one instruction from a private animation teacher. In private lessons, students benefit from advantages that aren't available with online videos and in larger class settings. Students receive individualized instruction and the tutor's undivided attention.
Also, no two private lessons are exactly alike. Teachers base curriculum on the individual student's preferred learning styles and interests. For example, animation lessons for adults differ from animation classes for children in terms of teaching methods and course content. In private lessons, you'll stay motivated and interested, while you learn at a pace that's effective for you.
Sample Curriculum for Beginner Animation
If you've only done a little animating or if you're brand new to the field, then beginner lessons are for you. In these classes, your animation tutor will introduce you to the basics of the art and industry. You'll get a brief overview of a variety of animations types and learn about the different paths you can take in an animation career. Your teacher might cover the following topics:
- Concentrate on the observation of motion
- Put your own drawing skills to work
- Sample techniques (stop motion, collage and cutout, rotoscoping, cell, and flash animation)
- Picking a path (2D vs. 3D animation)
Sample Curriculum for Intermediate Animation
In intermediate animation, you'll build upon your basic knowledge of the art. You'll exapand your skills, learning to use more complex animation software, improving your artistic eye, and fortifying your animations. Your animation teacher might choose to cover the following topics:
- Selecting animation software and learning to navigate it
- Strengthening key frames
- Creating a line of action and exaggerating it
- Timing frame rates
Sample Curriculum for Advanced Animation
In advanced animation lessons, your skills will reach a professional level. You'll learn cutting-edge techniques, principles, and software. The subjects covered in advanced lessons greatly depend on the student's area of focus and goals, but your teacher might cover the following topics:
- Digital 3D, stereoscopic 3D, and morphing
- Working with motion capture
- The business of animation, considering industries
- Professional portfolio preparation
How to Find an Animation Teacher Near You
Whether you're interested in learning hand-drawn or digital animation techniques, working with a private teacher can help you boost your talent and improve your skills. Luckily, finding an animation tutor on TakeLessons is easy! A quick search will direct you to a variety of teachers who offer lessons to students online and in-person. We recommend looking for a teacher who specializes in your preferred area of interest and skill level.
TakeLessons teachers charges rates based on the length and frequency of lessons, but the cost of animation classes does vary. You'll be able to find a tutor who fits your budget and your schedule with so many to choose from. Plus, investing in private lessons pays off fast, as you overcome challenges, learn to analyze and capture motion, and pick up new techniques quickly. With private lessons, you'll be achieving your animated dreams in no time!