Want to learn animation -- best software?
November 11, 2015 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I want to learn how to make animations. I would like to find a program that will let me draw A and then B and will automatically fill in what's in between.

I used to use Flash (rudimentarily) years ago, but it's dying so I want to learn a new program.

The hardware I have available is: a PC; an iPad mini; and a 4-year-old MacBook (not Pro).

I want to be able to make animations (by drawing) that run around 4 minutes (to accompany songs); therefore a lot of apps for iPad are not appropriate. I already draw one-panel cartoons, and want to expand them into animations (for example, a singer singing the song with some stuff going on in the background).

I'm pretty much a novice to all this. What's really important to me is that there are great tutorials for whatever program I choose, and/or that the program might be taught in an adult-education context.

Can you please tell me your favorite animation programs for the non-professional?
posted by DMelanogaster to Media & Arts (3 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
Ah, you want the PERFECT animation program that:

1) Powerfully fills in the gaps between everything
2) Is easy to use
3) has a vibrant community for novices


There are plenty of powerful programs that fill in the gaps--After Effects is my favorite--but it's not at all made for novices.

You have two good options:

1) Forget about automatic anything and just stick with drawing on paper/scanning/using a photo program or stop frame animation app to organize.

2) Up your game and step into a real animation program like After Effects.
posted by Murray M at 1:03 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

The feature you're looking for is "automatic tweening" or "automatic inbetweening" if you want something that might give you better google results. I believe Flash has it and it wouldn't surprise me if other animation software has it as well, but be aware that you're going to be very limited in what sort of tweening it'll do; generally it's limited to simple translation (movement from one place to another), rotation or deformations (like scaling or shearing). Like Murray M mentioned, animation software is generally pretty specialized/niche, so you're unlikely to find something without a significant learning curve and/or a significant cost.

This list of Flash alternatives might be a good place to start looking though.
posted by Aleyn at 2:04 PM on November 11, 2015

You might try out Toon Boom Harmony - it has a free 21 day trial. A lot of professional 2D work uses Toon Boom, and their educational pricing options lead me to believe that you can probably find some tutorials online and perhaps even some classes from Lynda or Gnomon if you really start enjoying it.
posted by slagheap at 11:10 PM on November 11, 2015 [1 favorite]

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