Khan Academy is on a mission. That mission, to teach the world how to do just about everything. In their own words, their mission is “to provide free, world‑class education for anyone, anywhere.”
But, the reason we are discussing Khan Academy today is that they have a great little program in partnership with Pixar studios on animation. This isn’t a specific program on how to animate in After Effects or how to create cel animation. Instead, it’s an overview of the principles and theories behind animation.
The program is a part of a larger partnership with Pixar called Pixar In A Box, which is a series of courses on all types of animation topics. These include things like rigging, patterns, character modeling, and rendering. All of which are worth watching for a complete look at animation from one of the top animation studios in the world.
Today we’ll focus on the Introduction To Animation course, which serves as an animation 101 of sorts. It’s a great foundation for anyone who hasn’t animated before or for anyone looking to review the basics and understand better how to build an animation.
Let’s take a closer look.
The first video in the series is a quick overview of the definition of animation and how some different types of animation work.
Then the lessons begin, explaining in more detail how animation techniques are put into place. It starts with a video on “straight-ahead” animation, followed by an interactive demo.
Next up is “linear interpolation” with another interactive demo, and then “Bezier curves” and yet another demo.
The final section of the program covers the idea behind the “squash and stretch” that happens when animating an object in motion.
After you cover these keys concepts, there is a short quiz to make sure you got the concepts. And finally, there is a “hand’s on activity” that let’s you put your new knowledge to the test with hand-drawn animation techniques.
The course is short for sure, but the fundamentals are important and Khan Academy and the host do a great job of explaining them in a simple way.
Be sure to watch it if you need a quick primer on how animation works and it’s various styles. And for more courses on a host of topics, visit khanacadmy.org.