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harryboy8080 Posted: Jul 11th 2013

EDIT: I know the forums have shut down. but still feel come here if you are an aspiring animator!

So, you more or less clicked here because you either want to learn more about or make your own animation. Well, I decided I'd write all this out, who knows, I might even spark some future animators.

Step 1: Believe in Yourself/Think Positive!
To be honest, you're not going to get anywhere if you do not personally do not think you have it in you. Now, I am not trying to turn you into some kind of arrogant animator who thinks his/her work tops all the rest; likewise, it is still ideal to put forth constructive critism of your work, after all, how would you get better? BUT, anything that you think or do that has no other intention other than to bring you down, don't.

Step 2: Getting Started/Practice Practice Practice!
Grab a camera and a random medium, paper and a pencil, or a simple CGI model in free programs like Blender. Start moving it around, drawing new frames, or creating keyframes! Take a frame, move it a little more, draw it in a new position, or change up its position in the CGI enviroment, take another! When your all done, put it on your computer and compile the frames with a free program like MoneyJam. You've created an animation! Be proud of what you've done, this is a milestone in your journey! Keep practicing! It dosen't come quick, or easy. Start creating films and show your friends/family. As you progress, you can focus on upgrading your technology. You'll probably want to stream into your computer instantly with a webcam or via firewire. You might want to get better software, such as DragonFrame or StopmotionPro. Watch movies and look closely, note things that stand out to you in the animation. As you animate, study the principals of animation. Also, focus on creating some REALLY convincing life within the charectars through it's performance.

Step 3: So.. I'm a pretty decent animator. What's next?
You don't even have to great to do this, but it's important you start making films with evolved plots and storylines. Soo... ONTO THE NEXT STEP!

Step 4: Making your Film!

I'll make subcategories for this one.

Step 4|Part 1: Do you have an idea?
Come up with an idea! It can takle a big issue such as prejudice, war, etc., or just be funny! It can be scary or heartwarming! Gloomy or cheery! Whatever it is, think hard on it, and make sure you feel good about it. Create charectar concepts and setting designs.

Step 4|Part 2: Script and Storyboard!
Some of these steps can be skipped, but I STRONGLY advise you not to. Write a script! Include all the major dialogue, movements, etc. After that, get to storyboarding! Storyboarding is when you draw a picture for each major scene/actions. You'll have alot of them, but it's worth it!

Step 4|Part 3: Models, sets, lightning, and sound!

Create all your models/charectars, whether they are for stop-motion, 2D, or CGI. Plan and produce your settings/sets. Decide on music (there are alot of royalty-free music sites availabe on the web) and record any voice overs. Do any other post production needs before you get animating!

Step 4|Part 4: Get animating!

Animate your film! This takes a while. But, you have to be patience. Recall everything you learned, and you'll do great. Just enjoy it!

Step 4|Part 5: Post Production! 

Now, edit everything together! Software like Vegas, After Effects, or Final Cut isn't needed; however, will help you when you get more advanced. You can work just fine with iMovie or Windows Movie Maker. Once you are finished, and fully done, you can render it as a video. Some of the most universal formats are .avi and .mov, so those might be a good choice, but there are others, too!

Step 5| Part 6: Getting your work out there!

Show your masterpiece to your friends! Put it on YouTube! Your family will love it! Go bigger and enter it into competeions and perhaps win something, wheter it be scholarships, new technology, or cash! It is very important you get your work out there. There are many great competeions for young artists out there; some of which are free. 

Step 6: Follow your Dreams!

Who knows, you might even love animation so much you'll consider making it your career. That'd be cool, huh? You'd get to make cartoons all day! Well, who's to tell you can't. I know you can. Go back to Step 1. Believe in yourself and try your hardest, and someday you'll get there. 

Now, before I let you go, I want to say one more thing. As cliche as this may sound, you just need to be yourself.

Whether your a sports player, chef, architect, 
inventor genius , maybe even an animator; whatever it is, do what makes you happy and what you do best, and everything will turn out. 


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