Animation is an art form that not only entertains but also has the power creatively communicate in a compelling and memorable way.
Most of these courses are recorded so that you can pause and re-watch as much as you would like, so that you can truly feel comfortable with the techniques being taught.
They range from beginner to advanced and cover a variety of specialties within animation. Read on to find out about the best animation classes available online now.
Best Animation Classes Online
- Best Overall: Procreate Animation Make Fun GIFs and Videos
- Best for Beginners: Simple Character Animation
- Best for Intermediate Animators: Adobe Animate Essential Training
- Best for Advanced Animators: Unreal Engine Interactive 3D: Blueprints, Animation, Audio, & Environments
- Best for Hand-Drawn Animation: Basics of Hand-Drawn Animation
- Best for Social Media Animations: Anyone Can Animate: Easy Animation for Social Media
- Best for Business Social Media: Animation that Sells: How to Create Animated Stories for Instagram in After Effects
- Best for Animating Logos: Logo Animation Techniques
- Best for Making Full YouTube Videos: Muvizu – Make Animation in Hours, not Months
1. Procreate Animation Make Fun GIFs and Videos (Best Overall)
What we liked: Great course for quickly and easily learning some of the most popular animation skills on one of the best digital drawing apps.
- Fun, enthusiastic, and interesting teacher.
- Very clear instruction with helpful examples.
- Uses one of the best and most popular drawing apps, but teaches animation techniques.
- Approachable for beginners to learn desired animation skills, as well as people already skilled with digital drawing.
- A few more examples might be nice.
- Updating the video to include Procreate Animation Assist would be great, as well.
This is an all-around great course, in which students will learn how to create animations in the highly-rated digital art program called Procreate. In addition to how to prepare your art for animation within the program, students will also learn animation fundamentals, how to create animation loops, animate artwork they have already made, how to export videos and GIFs, as well as many useful tips for getting the most of Procreate.
2. Simple Character Animation (Best for Beginners)
What we liked: This class gives a great foundation and introduction to what most beginners need and want to know when first starting to animate.
- Students will learn about design, after effects, rigging, and animating a walk cycle, as well as layers, masks, paths, framing, and velocity.
- They’ll also learn about rendering, exporting and sharing their animation.
- Clear, action-oriented instruction.
- The class could be more efficient if the instructor included keyboard shortcuts for some of the actions.
This course, as well as the one listed above it (Best Overall) are probably the best way for beginners to jump right into the most important aspects of animation. Of course, characters typically take center stage with animation, so this hugely popular beginner-level course is a must-see for beginning animators.
3. Adobe Animate Essential Training (Best for Intermediate Animators)
What we liked: This is a very well organized and clear course for mastering animation using Adobe Illustrate. It is geared toward beginners and intermediate-level animators.
- Earn a Certificate of Completion as well as credit towards the LinkedIn Learning Path, “Become a 2D Digital Animator
- Covers a lot of essential skills including animating either your own original content or ready-to-use assets, multimedia design, how to improve the look of their art, and how to use color management tools within the program.
- The course also includes more advanced techniques such as adding sound, making the design interactive, and more.
- It’s hard to keep everybody happy with an intermediate-level course. A few people felt it was too slow, or might have a bit too much instruction for how to use Adobe, but others felt it was just right and would cover any gaps that some people might have in their background knowledge.
In this LinkedIn Learning course, you will learn, in depth, how to use Adobe Animate like a professional. The course teaches students how to create animation that is both rich and interactive. There is enough explanation of Adobe so that no one should feel lost, but the pace is quick enough to keep most non-beginners engaged. As part of a LinkedIn learning path, this is a course that professionals or future professionals can take, and when completed, share their certificate on LinkedIn and other professional situations.
4. Unreal Engine Interactive 3D: Blueprints, Animation, Audio, & Environments (Best for Advanced Animators)
What we liked: This animation class takes your animation and ideas to just about the most advanced level currently possible, and even foundations relevant for integrating your animation into artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and augmented reality.
- Exceptionally advanced technology-driven techniques in animation including creating skeletal meshes, morphs, and simulating fabric and other materials.
- Learn how to build large environments with realistic elements including foliage, wind, water, various materials, and more.
- Students learn coding skills for animation that aren’t as heavy on syntax as some other coding programs.
- Learn a variety of sophisticated techniques for enhancing audio (interactive, ambient, interactive, attenuated, spatialized, or event-driven).
- Students can apply the techniques to other 3D programs such as Maya, Blender, Cinema 4D or 3DS Max.
- Learn fundamental applications for artificial intelligence, augmented reality, and virtual reality.
- Students can earn a certificate after completion.
- This course depends heavily on advanced technology, including coding, which might not be desirable for everybody.
If you are ready to truly take your animation skills to the top professional level, then you will most likely need a course such as this one. The best animation today combines artistic skill with technology and coding. If you have already mastered most of the other skills for phenomenal animation, then this course will help you bring it to blockbuster movie level professionalism with rich and realistic environments, form the natural elements, to fabrics, and detailed integration of audio. The course also introduces you to how to apply these skills to the fields of artificial intelligence, and augmented and virtual reality.
5. Basics of Hand-Drawn Animation (Best for Hand-Drawn Animation)
What we liked: Not everyone wants to depend on a computer program for animation. While, it does include using Adobe Animate, as well, it also gives students the foundations of traditional animation, as well. The course shows you how to quickly master essential skills in hand-drawn animation.
- Essential hand-drawn animation skills taught quickly.
- Great for beginning animators or artists who want to add animation skills.
- Positive and likeable teaching techniques.
- Lessons and instructions are clear and organized.
- Says “hand-drawn” but does still use computer.
The teacher really hones in on the most essential skills and explains how to quickly master those, without having to spend a lot of time on other tasks (such as detailed illustrations, etc.). This lets students apply the animation techniques to their own style or projects quickly and confidently!
Even though the class teaches hand-drawn animation, it still utilizes computers, which might be slightly confusing or frustrating to some. A very small minority of people also thought that the drawing examples within the teaching video went a bit slow.
6. Anyone Can Animate: Easy Animation for Social Media (Best for Social Media Animation)
What we liked: This class will teach you the basics of quick animation with a focus on what works in social media to help you get attention, engagement, and followers!
- Fun and engaging teaching style.
- Teaches students step-by-step everything you need to know to make catchy animations for social media quickly and efficiently.
- Includes topics such as scripts, audio, and making the animation relatable.
- Great for beginners or intermediate students who want to learn more about applying their animation to the world of social media.
- Don’t expect advanced artistic techniques.
This class is all about “stopping the scroll,” by a self-proclaimed “bad animator.” (Although his “bad” animation hasn’t stopped his work from going viral and being on Forbes’ 30 under 30 list in 2020!)
Students will quickly learn not only the animation basics necessary for creating animation for social media, but most importantly, how to create the critical features to get social media users to engage with, share, and follow your posts.
7. Animation that Sells: How to Create Animated Stories for Instagram in After Effects (Best for Business Social Media)
What we liked: Expert blending of marketing psychology with professional-level animation output, all in a class that is accessible to people of all different marketing and animation skill levels.
- Learn how to effectively pitch your business or product within a 15-second viewing time to capture your audience’s attention.
- Quickly and easily learn animation techniques that will look professional enough to give your business the image you desire.
- Students learn how to incorporate key psychological concepts into their marketing.
- Clear and well-organized step-by-step instruction is complete enough to make this class welcoming even to beginners.
- You do need to have access to Adobe After Effects, and optionally, Adobe Photoshop.
8. Logo Animation Techniques (Best for Logo Animation)
What we liked: Students of this course will learn professional techniques for real-life logo animation and earn a certificate that can be displayed on their LinkedIn and other profiles.
- Focuses on real-world logo animation applications.
- Students earn a certificate for completion.
- Professional-level output to achieve many different types of effects.
- Intermediate level may be a bit advanced for some learners.
- At almost three hours, it is a bit on the long side.
Students of this course will use After Effects to animate real logo designs. They’ll learn to use various animation tools help communicate qualities and stories of the brands for which they are advertising, and learn skills such as animating words or scribbles as well as creating reveals.
9. Muvizu – Make Animation in Hours, not Months (Best for Making Full YouTube Videos)
What we liked: This class teaches students how to use a program that can be used to create animations quickly. This is great for creating content for sites such as YouTube, where speed and ease of storytelling are valuable qualities.
- Learn how to animate a video in one of the easiest and most efficient ways possible.
- The course itself teaches you the material quickly and easily, as well.
- This will not necessarily teach you how to make the most beautiful and professional looking animations or videos possible, but they will work fine for venues such as YouTube.
Animation Classes – Best Online Options
Whether you would like animation to make a picture or logo more eye-catching, or you would like to learn how to create entire animated stories or videos to share, there are now many amazing online courses to show you the way.
Picking from among the options listed above, you will be well on your way to achieving your animation goals, whether it is animate your own GIFs, social media posts, animated videos for YouTube, or even create professional quality animation, the skills are all available through these excellent online classes.