2D Animation for Beginners

Curriculum Summary

6-week course breakdown:

Session 01 Fundamentals of 2D Animation


2D animation can be an incredibly expressive and dynamic form of entertainment and artistic creation. It’s important to start with a strong foundation of the core principles and an understanding of how they relate to 2D animation. We’ll start things off by diving into the first set of key principles, including Squash and Stretch, Arcs, and Pose to Pose animation. You’ll get familiar with our digital tools and workflows using either Toon Boom Harmony or Rough Animator. You’ll start with a simple bouncing ball exercise to practice these techniques and tools.

Session 02 The Mechanics of Weight


Showing weight is always important in animation. It grounds your work so that it still feels believable to the viewer, even when exaggerated. We’ll explore how to ensure your animation has proper weight and which drawings are most critical to getting that idea and feeling across. Problem-solving is a constant part of the animation process and in this session you’ll explore some of the tools we can use to make your work stronger.

Session 03 Animating Physicality


In this session we’ll continue to build upon showing convincing weight, and layer in more complex animation techniques and scenarios through physicality. Clear posing, follow through, and overlapping action will be critical components that you’ll use to animate your characters.

Session 04 Drawing with Emotion


One of the things that really crystallizes when studying 2D animation is this: every drawing is critical. This concept carries over to 3D character animation as well, with posing being the equivalent. In this session we’ll explore the importance of showing emotion and clarity of ideas in a single drawing, and how that flows into an animated shot.

Session 05 Turning Heads


In this session we’ll focus on animating transitions, and dive deeper into breakdowns and inbetweens. There’s so much more to think about than just getting from Point A to Point B, or from one storytelling drawing to another. Each transition drawing (inbetween) must serve a purpose and reflect all the animation principles at play. We’ll look at how to plan out these transitions and develop your workflow to keep things manageable.

Session 06 Review and Recap


You made it! In this final session we’ll continue our discussion of transitions, as well as other advanced techniques to be aware of, and will review the key principles and techniques used to effectively animate in 2D. We’ll go over the work you produced and note what’s working and where things need to be developed more, so that you feel confident in using your new skills in future shots.