5 Best 2D Animation Courses and Certificates for 2024

Published: April 26, 2024

Key Takeaways

Our recommended course from the list is the 2D Animation Course by Sasha Dorogov. It offers a flexible curriculum and lessons according to international standards.

From basic morphing to advanced character movements. Engage in practical assessments and regular Q&A sessions, ensuring a solid foundation for aspiring animators.

The demand for 2D animation is growing across various industries, including advertising, education, gaming, and entertainment.

The global animation market would surpass US $587 billion by 2030. As a result, the demand for skilled 2D animation professionals continues to soar.

According to Glassdoor, the estimated total salary of a 2D Animator is $84,298 per year in the United States.

The job outlook for animators is projected to grow 8% from 2022 to 2032, faster than the average for all occupations.

Advancing your skills or transitioning to the animation industry requires acquiring essential techniques and knowledge.

Therefore, we’ve researched and evaluated the best 2D animation courses that can help you refine your craft and build a standout portfolio.

List of the 5 Top 2D Animation Courses and Certificates

Here’s our list of top-rated 2D animation classes and certifications to take up:

  1. 2D Animation Course: From understanding key principles to mastering industry-standard tools, it is the best 2D animation training that equips aspiring animators with the essential skills and knowledge to bring characters and stories to life through the magic of animation.
  2. Getting Started in 2D Animation: This course introduces the principles and techniques of 2D animation, catering to beginners with step-by-step guidance and practical exercises.
  3. Certificate of 2D Animation: Earn your Certificate of 2D Animation by completing this course covering foundational concepts, advanced techniques, and hands-on projects. Develop a strong portfolio and gain recognition for your proficiency in the art and craft of 2D animation.
  4. Intro to 2D Animation Course: This course is designed to familiarize students with fundamental principles and industry-standard software. Explore basic animation tools, techniques, and terminology, setting the stage for further learning and creative expression.
  5. 2D Animation Course: This is a specialized course tailored to different animation skill levels and interests. From beginner-friendly introductions to advanced masterclasses, enhance your animation skills and pursue your creative goals.

Our Course Selection Criteria

Our selection process involves evaluating and shortlisting courses that meet specific standards tailored to each subject area.

For 2D animation courses, we employ five exclusive selection criteria to identify the best lessons and training programs:

  • Curriculum Depth: We assess the comprehensiveness of the course curriculum, ensuring it covers essential topics such as character animation, storyboarding, and software proficiency. A well-rounded curriculum provides students with a solid foundation in 2D animation principles.
  • Instruction Quality: We evaluate instructors’ expertise and teaching styles to ensure they effectively convey complex concepts in an engaging manner.
  • Hands-on Projects: Courses offering hands-on projects or assignments enable students to apply theoretical knowledge to practical scenarios.
  • Student Feedback: We consider feedback regarding course content, instructor support, and satisfaction to measure the course’s impact.
  • Industry Relevance: Courses aligned with industry standards and practices equip students with the skills to succeed in animation. It helps students acquire industry-relevant techniques, software, and workflows.

Let’s explore each.

1. 2D Animation Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

We examined this comprehensive 2D Animation Course, which offers a structured approach to training animators according to international standards.

The course’s flexibility in promoting students based on their progress and allowing restudy of any course is amazing.

The course covers various topics essential for aspiring animators, from basic tasks like morphing to more advanced concepts such as character movements and pantomime.

The progression through semesters and tasks ensures a gradual buildup of skills and knowledge.

Lecture materials are posted in the student’s account, providing reference materials for further study and reinforcement of concepts. It allows students to revisit lecture content at their own pace.

Students need to complete a set of tasks in graphic programs as practical assessments. Regular online meetings include Q&A sessions where students can engage with the lecturer.

However, it’s a full-time animation course with a duration of over 3 years, which may be lengthy for some students.

Overall, this 2D Animation Course offers aspiring animators a solid foundation.

Who should take this course?

This course is suited for creative individuals with spatial thinking and drawing abilities and a basic understanding of perspective.

It’s designed for those aiming to work in the animation industry and offers an “Animator Specialist” Certificate upon completion.

What topics are covered?

Here’s the course of study covered:

  • 1st Course of Study:
    • Semester 1: Morphing
    • Semester 2: Flag; Start task Legs
  • 2nd Course of Study:
    • Semester 1: Legs; Geometric figures
    • Semester 2: Movements of a two-legged character or Movements of a four-legged character
  • 3rd Course of Study:
    • Semester 1: Wind Resistance; Sketch “Waiting at the Vet”
    • Semester 2: Pantomime: Difference in Intelligence of a 2nd Character; Dialogue of a 2nd Character; Episode “Role Play: Separation by Characters” (Diploma)

Throughout the program, students will utilize graphic programs such as Toon Boom Harmony, TvPaint, or Blender to complete tasks and assignments.

Who is the instructor?

Sasha Dorogov is an experienced animation professional with over 30 years of experience. As the founder of Dorogov’s Animation Institute, he has been instrumental in shaping the next generation of animators.

His journey began in 1983 when he embarked on a career as an animation lecturer specializing in teaching children.

During his tenure at “Souzmultfilm,” he acquired skills and shared his expertise with studio employees and aspiring animators.

In the 1990s, he showcased his talents on an international stage by participating in a Disney animation competition, where his exceptional skills earned him the title of “Master’s degree” in classical animation.

Following this, he transitioned into a role as an animation lecturer at Disney Studios, where he spent over 15 years contributing his knowledge and creativity to various projects.

With his experience and passion, he continues to inspire and educate animators worldwide.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Yes, the other course the instructor offers is the Advanced 3D Course.

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Students must complete tasks and assignments using graphic programs such as Toon Boom Harmony, TvPaint, or Blender.

These tasks are designed to apply the concepts taught in the lectures and develop practical skills in 2D animation.

Each semester of the course includes specific tasks and projects related to the topics covered.

What are the prerequisites to study?

The prerequisites for studying the 2D Animation Course include creative abilities, spatial thinking, drawing skills, and a basic understanding of perspective.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the discussion on Reddit, users praise Sasha Dorogov’s online animation school, stating his Disney background and the quality of work produced by the students.

Source: Reddit

2. Getting Starting In 2D Animation

The editor’s perspective on this course

Next, we looked into the Getting Started in 2D Animation course, which provides a practical introduction to 2D animation.

The course includes a self-motivation series designed to boost creativity and confidence, which is a valuable addition to addressing common struggles animation students face.

The course covers a wide range of topics essential for beginners in 2D animation, from equipment setup and software tutorials to drawing fundamentals and animation principles.

Key animations, such as particle swarms, bouncing balls, character walk cycles, and action shots, are demonstrated through walk-throughs, which provide practical demonstrations of animation techniques.

The Animator’s Workbook, filled with hand-picked animation assignments, provides students with practical exercises to reinforce learning and enhance their portfolios.

With over 130 video lessons totaling over 20 hours of content, the course offers extensive instruction that can be streamed on any device.

The course includes downloadable files such as sound effects, keyboard shortcuts, custom brushes, and exercise files to support students’ learning.

Chapters dedicated to equipment breakdowns and software tutorials offer valuable reference materials for students as they progress.

Overall, it offers valuable content and practical guidance for beginners in 2D animation, making it a worthwhile investment for aspiring animators.

Who should take this course?

This course suits beginners who want to learn 2D animation from scratch and gain confidence in animating characters using industry-standard software.

What topics are covered?

The course includes the following topics:

  • Equipment setup and software tutorials
  • Drawing fundamentals
  • Animation principles and techniques
  • Walk-throughs of key animations such as particle swarms, bouncing balls, and character walk cycles
  • Story creation and storyboarding principles
  • Self-motivation series to boost creativity and confidence

Who is the instructor?

Howard Wimshurst is an award-winning filmmaker and artist who specializes in hand-drawn animation.

His background in animation spans 10 years, starting with independent filmmaking from his bedroom, progressing to a foundation degree in art and design, and then a Bachelor of Arts in Animation.

He has worked with a wide variety of international clients, including Discovery Channel, the BBC, and Cancer Research UK, to achieve their creative ambitions.

He is an influential voice in the animation community, with over 25 million collective views on YouTube.

He has guest-lectured at universities and founded AnimatorGuild.com – an online educational platform for animation students.

Howard is most interested in how animation can create tangible positive change in the world.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Yes, the instructor offered other courses, such as:

  • Mastering Motion: Advanced 2D Animation Course
  • Combat Choreography
  • Camera Movement
  • Sakuga Destruction

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Students are guided through practical exercises and animations, such as particle swarms, bouncing balls, character walk cycles, and action shots, allowing them to apply the concepts learned in the course to their own projects.

The course includes an Animator’s Workbook filled with hand-picked animation assignments designed to teach important techniques and enhance students’ portfolios.

What are the prerequisites to study?

The prerequisites for studying the “Getting Started in 2D Animation” course are minimal, as it is designed for beginners.

However, a basic computer understanding and an interest in animation would be beneficial. Other than that, no prior experience or knowledge in animation is required.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

As per the comments on YouTube, users praise his animation style, music choices, and skill level. Some viewers express their aspirations to become animators and appreciate the effort and detail required in the craft.

3. Certificate of 2D Animation

The editor’s perspective on this course

As we researched this 2D Animation Certificate Track by Aaron Blaise, we found that it provides a complete pathway for individuals seeking to enhance their skills in 2D animation.

The certificate track comprises six animation classes, offering a well-rounded and thorough exploration of 2D animation techniques and principles.

Each course likely covers various topics, from foundational concepts to advanced techniques, providing students with an understanding of 2D animation.

This course allows you to receive personalized PDF certificates of completion, and digital badges add recognition for students’ hard work and achievements.

The human review process for evidence submission ensures quality control and authenticity in certificate issuance.

The videos are expected to be clear, engaging, and informative, guiding students through various animation exercises and demonstrations.

Students are encouraged to apply the skills and techniques learned throughout the course.

Overall, this course is a valuable opportunity for individuals seeking formal recognition of their animation skills and expertise from a reputable source.

Who should take this course?

This course is ideal for individuals passionate about 2D animation and eager to develop their skills. It is suitable for:

  • Beginners looking to start their journey
  • Intermediate animators wanting to refine their techniques
  • Professionals seeking to enhance their credentials
  • Students or hobbyists

What topics are covered?

Here are some key areas covered in this course:

  • Fundamentals of animation principles include timing, spacing, squash, and stretch.
  • Character design and development, focusing on creating appealing and expressive characters.
  • Storyboarding techniques for planning and visualizing animated sequences.
  • Key frame animation and traditional animation techniques.
  • Using animation software such as Adobe Animate, Toon Boom Harmony, or TVPaint.
  • Advanced topics such as character rigging, lip-syncing, and special effects animation.
  • Industry insights and tips for building a career in animation.

Who is the instructor?

Aaron Blaise is a renowned artist with a passion for drawing and painting animals, nurtured from a young age.

After graduating from the Ringling College of Art, Blaise spent 21 years at Walt Disney Feature Animation, contributing to iconic films like “The Lion King” and “Mulan.”

Afterward, he co-founded Tradition Studios, exploring new animation ventures.

Despite setbacks, Blaise’s career evolution showcases his resilience and dedication to his craft. Today, he inspires as an artist, educator, and creator.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Yes, the instructor offers a range of other courses, including the Character Design Certificate course.

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Yes, the 2D Animation Certificate Track offers practical exercises that allow students to apply the concepts and techniques taught in the courses.

These include creating character animations, storyboarding scenes, and completing animation exercises.

What are the prerequisites to study?

No prerequisites. You just need to have passion and basic computer skills.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

The discussion on Reddit praises the talent, knowledge, and teaching skills, highlighting the instructor’s extensive experience as a director and animator.

Some comments stated satisfaction with purchasing his lessons and commended his clarity in teaching complex topics.

Source: Reddit

4. Intro to 2D Animation Course

The editor’s perspective on this course

The Intro to 2D Animation Course by John Pomeroy covers a wide range of topics, including animation tools, inbetweening, squash and stretch, drag and overlap, anticipation, arcs and silhouettes, timing, character design, model sheets, maquette creation, walk and run cycles, storyboarding, creating an animated short film, and building a portfolio.

Each lesson includes practical demonstrations and exercises, allowing students to apply the concepts learned in real time.

From basic principles to advanced techniques, learners gain valuable experience through step-by-step guidance from Pomeroy.

His teaching style is clear, engaging, and easy to follow. He breaks down complex concepts into segments, making them accessible to students of all levels.

The self-paced animation course allows students to progress at their own pace before moving forward.

Overall, it provides a solid foundation for aspiring animators, guided by an industry veteran like John Pomeroy.

Who should take this course?

Whether you’re a complete beginner or have some prior experience, this course introduces the principles and techniques essential for creating compelling animations.

It caters to a diverse audience, including students looking to pursue a career in animation, professionals seeking to enhance their skills, and hobbyists interested in exploring the art form.

What topics are covered?

Here’s an overview of the key topics covered in the course:

  • Introduction to Animation: Overview of animation tools, materials, and building an animation desk at home.
  • Basic and Advanced Inbetweening: Fundamentals and advanced techniques of inbetweening in animation.
  • Squash and Stretch: Understanding and applying the squash and stretch principle to add believability and humor to animations.
  • Drag and Overlap: Exploring primary and secondary motions in animation and how to apply drag and overlap effectively.
  • Anticipation: Incorporating anticipation into character movements to enhance liveliness and excitement.
  • Arcs and Silhouettes: Utilizing arcs and silhouettes to create fluid and visually appealing character movements.
  • Timing: Understanding the importance of timing in animation and learning how to communicate timing effectively.
  • Character Design: Principles and steps involved in creating appealing and unique character designs.
  • Creating Model Sheets: Developing character model sheets to ensure consistency in character design across animations.
  • Making a Maquette: Creating a 3D sculpture of a character to aid in understanding and visualizing character anatomy.
  • Animating Walk and Run Cycles: Step-by-step guidance on animating walk and run cycles, essential for character movement.
  • Storyboarding: Techniques for planning and visualizing animated scenes through storyboards.
  • Creating an Animated Short Film: Combining previous learnings to create an animatic and produce an animated short film.
  • Creating a Portfolio: Guidance on compiling and presenting an animation portfolio to showcase skills and projects effectively.

Who is the instructor?

John Pomeroy is an accomplished animator and artist with a rich history in the animation industry.

With decades of experience, Pomeroy has contributed to numerous iconic animated films, making him a highly respected figure in the field.

His expertise spans various roles, including animator, director, and producer, showcasing his versatility and depth of knowledge.

Pomeroy’s passion for animation shines through in his teaching, making him an engaging and knowledgeable instructor.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Here’s the list of other courses offered by the instructor:

  • Intro to 2D Animation
  • Animation Dialogue
  • Acting for Animation
  • Character Design
  • Storyboarding
  • Allstar Collection
  • Intro to CG Animation
  • CG Animation Layout

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Students engage with the course content and reinforce their learning by applying it to their own animation projects.

What are the prerequisites to study?

The course is designed to cater to beginners in 2D animation, so there are no specific prerequisites to study.

5. Advanced 2D Digital Animation

The editor’s perspective on this course

The Advanced 2D Digital Animation course offers students an immersive experience in mastering advanced animation techniques under the guidance of award-winning animator Jeanne Stern.

With a focus on hands-on learning, students create animated short films while delving deeper into Adobe Animate CC software.

The curriculum covers tweening, lip sync, animating from video references, and wave movement.

Students benefit from Jeanne Stern’s real-life tips and tricks, professional feedback, and project-based learning.

The course provides all necessary materials, equipment, and software, including a brand-new Wacom tablet for students to take home.

However, prerequisites include completing the Intro to 2D Animation course or equivalent skills.

Who should take this course?

This course is ideal for individuals who have completed the Intro to 2D Animation course or possess equivalent skills and are eager to further their knowledge and expertise in digital animation.

What topics are covered?

The course covers a detailed list of topics for intermediate and advanced-level learners, including:

  • Tweening and Symbols: Exploring advanced techniques for creating smooth animations using tweens and symbols.
  • Lip Sync: Mastering the art of syncing character movements with dialogue or sound effects to create realistic and engaging animations.
  • Animating from Video Reference: Learning how to use live-action video footage as a reference to create lifelike character movements and actions.
  • Wave Movement: Understanding and implementing the principles of wave movement in animations to add fluidity and realism.
  • Real-life Tips & Tricks: Receiving valuable insights and advice from award-winning animator Jeanne Stern to improve animation quality and efficiency.

Who is the instructor?

Jeanne Stern is a versatile artist who blends animation and puppetry to craft captivating and surreal cinematic experiences.

Her works have been showcased globally, from prestigious venues like the Smithsonian and South by Southwest to international film festivals in Berlin, Toronto, and Athens.

Her animations often delve into themes of loss, identity, and the fantastical, creating worlds where playful aesthetics meet darker narratives.

One of Jeanne’s notable projects, “Sophie’s Story,” poignantly explores loss through the metaphor of a mermaid. At the same time, “Les Malaventures de Zut-Alors” follows the journey of conjoined twins searching for their “other half.”

Her films, such as “Sprout” and “The Museum of Touch & Feel,” exhibit unique materiality and motion rules that immerse viewers in distinctive story worlds.

Apart from her independent projects, Jeanne has lent her expertise as a 2D Animator and Director of Animation to various ventures, including documentaries, music videos, and educational series.

Her teaching experience extends to courses in animation at the Austin School of Film and an Experimental Animation class taught in Porto, Portugal.

With an MFA in Film from the University of Texas at Austin and a BA in Studio Art and Computer Science from Connecticut College, Jeanne brings a rich background in artistic expression and technical expertise to her creations.

Does the instructor offer other courses?

Yes, the instructor offers many other courses, including:

  • 2D Character Animation
  • Stop-motion Animation
  • Victorian Gothic-Themed Animation Class
  • Experimental Animation
  • Monty Python-Themed Animation Workshop
  • Indie Animated Music Video
  • Animated Dioramas
  • 3D (stereoscopic) Animation

Does the course offer hands-on projects or assignments to reinforce learning?

Yes, the course offers hands-on projects for students to reinforce their learning. Students are provided with a project that must be completed to receive certification.

What are the prerequisites to study?

Students should have completed the Intro to 2D Animation course or possess equivalent skills. Additionally, they should be at least 16 years old to enroll in this class.

What does social media sentiment tell us?

According to the reviews, students appreciate clear instructions and step-by-step video walkthroughs for assignments.

Conclusion

As the animation industry is experiencing exponential growth, driven by demand from various sectors, aspiring animators must equip themselves with essential skills and knowledge.

Each of these 5 best 2D animation courses provides valuable insights, practical training, and industry-standard tools.

Through training, hands-on projects, and expert guidance, students can develop the skills and knowledge to bring characters and stories to life through animation.

From foundational concepts to advanced techniques, these courses cover a wide range of topics essential for building a strong portfolio and establishing a successful career in 2D animation.

When choosing the course that best suits your aspirations, consider your current skill level, desired areas of specialization, and career objectives.