If you are serious about becoming an animator you first need to know what animation is and what kind of animation you would like to do. Animation is the rapid display of a sequence of images of 2-D or 3-D artwork or model positions in order to create an illusion of movement (read more).
There are many different types and techniques of animation. Some of the most common ones are Traditional, 2D, 3D, Computer Animation and Stop-Motion, Clay animation.
TRADITIONAL ANIMATION also referred to as classical animation, cel animation, or hand-drawn animation, is the oldest and historically the most popular form of animation. In a traditionally-animated cartoon, each frame is drawn by hand
COMPUTER ANIMATION (or CGI animation) is the art of creating moving images with the use of computers. It is a subfield of computer graphics and animation. Increasingly it is created by means of 3D computer graphics, though 2D computer graphics are still widely used for stylistic, low bandwidth, and faster real-time rendering needs. Sometimes the target of the animation is the computer itself, but sometimes the target is another medium, such as film. It is also referred to as CGI (computer-generated imagery or computer-generated imaging), especially when used in films.
2D ANIMATION is the computer-based generation of digital images—mostly from two-dimensional models (such as 2D geometric models, text, and digital images) and by techniques specific to them.
3D ANIMATION (in contrast to 2D computer graphics) are graphics that use a three-dimensional representation of geometric data (often Cartesian) that is stored in the computer for the purposes of performing calculations and rendering 2D images. Such images may be for later display or for real-time viewing.
STOP MOTION (or frame-by-frame) is an animation technique to make a physically manipulated object appear to move on its own. The object is moved in small increments between individually photographed frames, creating the illusion of movement when the series of frames is played as a continuous sequence. Clay figures are often used in stop motion for their ease of repositioning. Stop motion animation using clay is described as clay animation.
CLAYMATION is one of many forms of stop motion animation. Each animated piece, either character or background, is “deformable”—made of a malleable substance, usually Plasticine clay.
All of these definitions were taken from wikipedia.org. You can read more about any of them here.
SCHOOL AND SOFTWARE
Once you decide what kind of animation you want to do you will need to decide how far you are wanting to go as an animator. If you are wanting to become a professional animator I definitely suggest going to school. You can find a great selection of animation schools Here. Whether you are wanting to go to school or not there are still many resources available to you on the web to further you animation education.
ANIMATION SOFTWARE After you decide what kind of animation you want to do the next thing you will need to do is get some animation software. There are many different types of software. Some are free and some are more expensive. You can find a list of great Animation Software Here. If you are going to school they will more than likely let you know what kind of software you will need. There are many free animation software available.
OTHER RESOURCES After you have your animation software and have decided to go to school or not there are still many additional resources for you. Other great resources on the web are animation forums. Forums are great for discussing animation with fellow animators or future animators. Many of them have probably had the same questions you have. A couple good forums to use are animationforum.net and awn forums.
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