9 Best Animation Courses Online (Free & Paid) 2024

9 Best Animation Courses Online (Free & Paid) 2024

We independently research, test, review, and recommend the best products—learn more about our process. If you buy something through our links, we may earn a commission.

Animation has come a long way from the first animated cartoon in 1908, but thankfully as the art school technology of the animation industry has moved forward, so have the opportunities that amateur animators have to not only learn their craft but to improve upon it as well.

That’s why we have put together this list of the best animation courses online.

sponsored message

Adobe Creative Cloud Discount

With the internet, the number of art resources available is near limitless and if there is something that cannot be found, it can easily be created and shared with a community of people all over the world.

When it comes to character animation, learning new tools and ways to make things look and move the absolute best they can is important, and with that in mind, we wanted to share eight online classes with you that will help you improve your animation skills or might be just a refresher if you’re getting back into the game.

We’ve included courses on a variety of animation software including After Effects, Maya, Blender and Adobe Animate.

You may also be interested in our features on the Best Laptops for Animation and the best Drawing Tablets for Animation.

8 Best Animation & Motion Graphics Courses Online – 2024

If you go online, you will find numerous online classes for animation and some are much better than others. In our opinion, the list below contains the classes that we feel offer the most for your time and money, both free and paid.

sponsored message

  1. The Beginner’s Guide to After Effects (Skillshare) – 4 Weeks Free then $99/year
  2. 12 Principles of Animation for Games in Maya (Udemy) – $19
  3. Learn 3D Animation – The Ultimate Blender Guide (Udemy) – $139
  4. 2D Animation For Beginners With Adobe Animate (Skillshare) – 4 Weeks Free then $99/year
  5. Complete Animation Course by Aaron Blaise – $50
  6. Character Setup and Animation (Coursera) – $79/month
  7. How to Create Lifelike Movement in After Effects (Skillshare) – 4 Weeks Free then  $99/year
  8. Blender Essential Training (Linkedin Learning) – $44


Best Animation Courses Online Compared

Course Instructor & Provider Length Cost
The Beginner’s Guide to After Effects  Jake Bartlett, SkillShare 34 Lessons (6 hours) 4 Weeks Free then $99/year
12 Principles of Animation for Games in Maya Justin Harrison, Udemy  2.5 hours $12.99
Learn 3D Animation – The Ultimate Blender Guide  Alex Cordebard, Udemy  26.5 hours $12.99
2D Animation For Beginners With Adobe Animate  Walt Wonderwolk, SkillShare 12 Lessons (1 hour & 14 minutes) 2 Weeks Free then $99/year
Complete Animation Course Aaron Blaise, Creature Teacher 12 Lessons $70.00
Character Setup and Animation Joy Horvath, Coursera Approximately 9 hours to complete $79/month
How to Create Lifelike Movement  Emanuele Colombo, SkillShare 9 Lessons (58 minutes) 4 Weeks Free then $99/year
Blender Essential Training David Andrade, LinkedIn Learning  4 hours & 54 minutes $44


8 Best Online Animation Courses to Learn Animation Online

1. The Beginner’s Guide to After Effects (Skillshare) – Free 4 week trial then $99/year

beginners guide to after effects

Skill level: Beginner | Duration: 6 hours

Taught by motion designer Jake Bartlett, the Beginner’s Guide to After Effects is a great class for anyone who might have an interest in the world of motion design for film and is looking to learn Adobe After Effects and hit the ground running.

sponsored message

The course covers everything you need to start creating animations of your own as well as cover topics such as Timecode, Resolution, Frame Rate, and more!


2. 12 Principles of Animation for Games in Maya (Udemy) – $19

12 principles of animation

Skill level: Beginner | Duration: a little over 2 hours

Offered by 3DMotive, the 12 Principle of Animation course is designed to be a short course that explains the basics of animation, particularly suited for students to Maya, an animation software.

Taught by character and technical animator, professional animator and student Justin Harrison, the class covers the 12 basic principles of animation, how you can use them to give life to your character animations, and will explore how those principles apply to everyday objects and characters.

A little over two hours long, the course goes over fundamentals such as timing and spacing, and slow-in and slow-out. With an affordable price, it won’t put a huge strain on your wallet either.


3. Learn 3D Animation – The Ultimate Blender Guide (Udemy) – $19

learn 3D animation the ultimate blender guide

Skill level: Beginner | Duration: about 26 hours

Taught by 3D artist and instructor Alex Cordebard, the Ultimate Blender Guide course teaches you how to use Blender to create 3D models and animations. Perfect for beginners who are looking to learn more about 3D arts or for anyone looking to increase their artistic skills.

The course will teach you skills that include exploring Blender basics and techniques, creating 3D models, and creating a full 3D animation project at the end of the course.

While the course may be a bit pricey for some, the amount of knowledge and hands-on interaction make it worth the cost.


4. 2D Animation For Beginners With Adobe Animate (Skillshare) – $99/year

2d animation for beginners with adobe animate

Skill level: Intermediate | Duration: a little under 3 hours

Using simple and straightforward examples, the 2D Animation For Beginners With Adobe Animate course, instructed by Walt Wonderwalk, demonstrates how to draw, compose, and animate characters to give you a good grasp of the principles involved character animation.

The course covers a wide range of topics including the basics of creating vector drawings in Animate, how to create nested animations as well as complete animation, how to add sound to your animations, and much more.

This is a perfect class for anyone who may have an interest in learning animation and could do it as a hobby, not a professional dream job.


5. Complete Animation Course by Aaron Blaise – $50

sponsored message

Complete Animation Course by Aaron Blaise

Skill level: Beginner | Duration: N/A

While not a name known to most people, Aaron Blaise is a rockstar in the animation world. A Disney animation veteran who has worked on major Disney movies and television shows such as The Lion King and Beauty and the Beast has crafted an incredible course, made up of 13 HD videos, which takes you on a journey through the 12 principles of animation that were developed by Disney’s Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston.

Blaise has an approachable and relatable style of teaching that makes the course feel less like taking lessons and more like learning from a friend. Aimed at beginners and animation students, the course offers things that even experienced animators can take away from the course.


6. Character Setup and Animation (Coursera) – Enroll for Free then $79/month

character setup and animation

Skill level: Intermediate | Duration: 10 hours

If you’re studying to take the Unity Certified 3D Artist exam, we’ve got the perfect prep course for you. Taught by Joy Horvath, the Character Setup and Animation course is designed for students who are ready to accept their first paying role as a Unity 3D artist.

As the bridge between the programmers and the designers in studios, a Unity 3D artist is a critical piece in the development pipeline. Through the duration of the course, you’ll work on a sci-fi themed 3D adventure game and learn how to import assets and create effects to the visuals and provide a more stylish and cartoony feel.


7. How to Create Lifelike Movement (Skillshare) – Free for 1 Month then $99/year

the art of animation how to create lifelike movement

sponsored message

Skill level: Intermediate | Duration: less than an hour

Taught by Emanuele Colombo, an animator and motion designer concept artist who has worked with companies such as Google and NBC, the How to Create Lifelike Movement course is perfect for anyone looking for a more condensed online animation course.

The course guides you through the top four principles of animation which were developed by two Disney animators in the 1980s film. By the end of the course, you will learn how to master the After Effects program and how to build an entire scene with a story in mind and be able to create a landscape, a sense of realism, movement, and intrigue.

With the tips and tricks offered by the course, you can finesse your skills and create incredible, lifelike characters.


8. Blender Essential Training (Linkedin Learning) – $44

Blender Animation Course

Skill level: Beginner | Duration: 5 hours

Taught by David Andrade, an award-winning professional animator himself, the Blender Essential Training course introduces you to the interface in Blender 2.8, as well as 3D modeling, 3D animation, and how to use simulators so you can create fluid and smoke effects.

The various lessons cover a complete overview of how to do 3D modeling on the software including how to use the interface, scene layout, sculpting, VFX styling, visual effects, and more.

Available on LinkedIn Learning, the course comes with access to downloadable files, textures, and UV maps that you can use while you go through the course.

9. The Maya Animation Fundamentals (Pluralsight) – Free for 7 Days then $299/year

The Maya Animation Fundamentals
Skill level: Beginner | Duration: 3h 24m


The Maya Animation Fundamentals course is provided by Pluralsight, an online resource that offers many other courses in technology, graphics, and more. This Specific course is developed to teach the basics of animation utilizing Autodesk Maya, one of the software tools for 3D modeling, animation, and rendering that is industry-standard.

The class has main units, including Maya UI, keyframe animation, character rigging, animation principles, etc. That may be implemented as practical and project-based activities for students to practice how to use the concepts they have learned.

This course is designed for beginners who despite their lack of experience in animation or after their switch from other animation software to Maya. It gives the participants a solid understanding of the concepts and methods of Maya animation.

The instructor is probably an experienced animator who has worked in the industry and who is knowledgeable in how to use Maya for animation. The lecturer’s insight and mentorship is key to learning experience enhancement.

On the cost structure, Pluralsight works on a subscription model where users pay a monthly or a yearly fee to access the entire library of courses including Maya Animation Fundamentals. As a matter of fact, Pluralsight’s subscription costs approximately $29 per month or $299.00 per year for individuals.

PluralSight usually provides new users with a 7-day free trial period to be able to explore the platform and its content, which includes the course Maya Animation Fundamentals. This method enables students to determine if the class meets their needs prior to enrolling in the subscription package.

Pluralsight also provides customized plans for businesses and teams, and some of them have additional features like analytics and reporting. The prices for these plans differ depending on the size of the team and the particular additional features necessary.

What to look for in an online animation course

Knowing what to look for in an online class can help you decide if the class is the right career choice for you and will do everything it can to help you succeed and add to your skills. Before you sign up for any class, be sure to consider the following.

Skill level

As we said before, thanks to the internet, there are so many resources available for anyone who is looking to build new skills or refresh themselves on dormant ones. However, just because there are so many different classes out there, not every class may fit the skill level you’re at. For example, if you’re just a beginner looking for a refresher, taking an introductory class might be a waste of your time and money.

Teaching style

One area that not many people consider before taking an online class is the teaching style that is being used. Some of the more inexpensive classes may offer pre-recorded video lessons and come with no interaction with the instructor at all. Some others may offer one-on-one interaction with the instructor and even feedback tailored to the work you are doing and these types of classes generally come with a higher price.

Commitment level

The final area to consider is your commitment level. You need to consider how much time you can put towards the class as many classes can range from thirty minutes to 20 hours a week for several weeks. Knowing how much of a commitment and time that you can devote to an online class will help you choose the right one much easier.


More top course compilations


8 Animation Courses To Become an Incredible Animator

Taking an online class from an online school can be an exciting and fulfilling experience. Choosing the right class though by paying attention to the skill level, teaching style, community and your commitment level can make it even more so.

We hope that our list of the best online animation classes help you on your animation journey, whether that’s working for Disney one day, or simply drawing funny pictures your kids enjoy.

Share This Post: