Animation is an incredible art form, but to fully master the form takes significant hands-on learning and expensive software. Thankfully, there are many free resources for animators, including software, 2D software, music and more. Here are six great free resources every animator should know about.

The 11 Second Club

Get feedback on your skills and get fired up for a monthly competition with the 11 Second Club. This website brings together animators from all over the globe, all animating a character which speaks one line of dialogue provided by the club. There are twelve competitions a years, and at the end of the month, all members vote on the best submission. This is a challenging and fun website that lets you mix and mingle with great talent. The club helps instill discipline and planning in animators, which can push your creativity to the next level. The community is known for giving blunt feedback, but it is not intentionally mean. Although this may sound intimidating, once you get in the flow, no site will teach you more about animation.

Animation Mentor

Established in 2005, Animation Mentor may be the first online animation school. The three co-founders provide instruction from major animation studios, giving you real-world advice from the pros. Paid courses include feedback tools and more. Its graduates work at Pixar, Industrial Light & Magic, WETA, DreamWorks, Laika and more. Thankfully, some courses are free, such as its Animate Believable Creatures Webinar, which pulls together four brief lectures to explain how to bring creatures to live in animation.

Watch Me Animate

YouTube is proving to be a great new resource for animators, since the videos provide artists with a bird’s-eye-view of the process as it happens. Watch Me Animate was created by an artist with more than 17 years of industry experience on AAA Games, Mobile Games and TV Shows. On his channel, he breaks down how characters are animated. The free content includes videos like How to Animate a Realistic 3D Dinosaur Roar, Useful Techniques to Animate Feet, and The Art of Posing.

Flash Kit

One of the challenges of being an independent animator is founding sound files that you can use with a small royalty or no licensing fee. At Flash Kit, you will find a huge archive of royalty-free music for you to use in flash project. Musicians can also submit their own original loops for animators. All music is available for commercial use, but the sound files cannot be re-sold.

Autodesk

Autodesk makes software for animators and designers. You can get a free trial of various software on the Autodesk website, like its 3D animation programs: Maya, Arnold, 3Ds Max, Mudbox and more. WIth a quick signup, you can also obtain access to free software if you are a student, non-profit or educator. The website also includes great tutorials and behind the scenes information. One blog post features ten visual effects pros who have worked on Game of Thrones. For Autodesk, they collaborate to explain the challenges of building ice-walls and dragons for the popular HBO show.

PowToon

PowToon is a free 2D animator. They were the first company to offer a free alternative to flash for 2D characters. PowToon can guide you through the process in just a few hours. Everything is in your toolbox at PowToon, including characters, scenes, props and more. The site runs on the web, which makes it a snap for both Mac and Windows users.

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