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Learn about animation with online courses and programs

From simple cartoons to complex, computer-generated imagery (CGI); animation is used in movies, TV shows, video games, advertising, workplace training videos, and more. Learn about animation with online courses delivered through edX.

What is animation?

Animation is the art of creating moving images. It can be used to make a variety of effects, from simple cartoons to CGI. Animators use different techniques to produce animation, including stop motion, traditional animation, and computer animation.

Stop motion involves taking photographs of an object’s every small increment of movement as it is manipulated between frames. In traditional animation, images are drawn or painted by hand on transparent celluloid sheets to be photographed and exhibited on film. Today, many animations are made with CGI. Computer animation can be very detailed 3D animation, while 2D computer animation (which may have the look of traditional animation) can be used for stylistic reasons, low bandwidth, or faster real-time renderings.

Animation | Introduction Image

Animation course curriculum

Animated videos can be used to deliver valuable messaging more effectively than graphics or charts. Whether you're making high-quality animation for business, or creating the next blockbuster cartoon movie, edX has courses and certifications that can help you learn animation skills. 

An introductory course in animation might cover the following topics:

  • Fundamentals of computer-aided design (CAD).

  • 3D digital models of various shapes.

  • Keyframing and particle systems used to create simple computer animation.

  • Different applications of animation including movies, training videos, and games.

One you understand the basics, you may move on to more advanced courses in animation that can cover specialized topics, such as:

  • Advanced animation techniques, including morphing and inverse kinematics.

  • Complex computer software for animation.

  • Complex animations, such as character animation or special effects.

  • Principles of game design and development.

edX offers courses designed for learners interested in animation careers. These courses cover a range of topics, from foundational digital design skills to advanced techniques for creating animation. 

Are you ready to start learning? Explore the range of educational opportunities offered through edX. ‌Sign up for an accelerated boot camp or enroll in a full degree program and start working toward a bachelor's degree or (for more advanced learners) a master’s degree in a relevant subject. You can also explore executive education programs specifically designed for busy professionals.

Explore animation jobs

The field of animation is constantly evolving, and there are a range of opportunities for animators to pursue.

Some job roles that individuals with an animation background can pursue:

  • Animator: Creates and manipulates characters, objects, and environments to bring them to life through motion. 

  • Character designer: Specializes in creating original and appealing characters for animations, video games, and other forms of media. They develop the visual appearance, personality, and characteristics of the characters.

  • Storyboard artist: Creates visual storyboards that illustrate the sequence of events in a production. They work closely with directors and writers to visually plan out scenes, camera angles, and transitions.

  • Concept artist: Develops visual concepts, sketches, and designs for characters, environments, props, and visual effects. They help establish the visual style and direction of a project, often working in pre-production stages.

  • Visual effects artist: Creates realistic or fantastical visual effects using CGI or other techniques. They work in film, television, video games, and advertising to enhance or create elements that cannot be achieved practically.

  • Motion graphics designer: Creates animated visuals, typography, and graphics for various media, including commercials, title sequences, presentations, and online videos. They combine design principles with animation techniques to convey information or enhance visual appeal.

  • Game animator: Works specifically in the game development industry, creating animations for characters, creatures, and objects within video games. They focus on interactive and real-time animation systems.

  • Multimedia artist/designer: Creates visual content using a combination of animation, graphics, sound, and video. They may work on projects such as interactive installations, mobile apps, websites, or multimedia presentations.

Are you ready for a rewarding and creative career? Start learning the skills you need with edX.

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