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Intro to Animation

A 10-week-course where you learn the essential principles of the Animation medium

Teacher Artwork by Mike Wiesmeier

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Teacher Artwork by Mike Wiesmeier

Intro to Animation

Are you an aspiring animation artist with a solid drawing foundation and good figure sketching skills? Do you wish to learn a set of tools and techniques that will enable you to seamlessly transform a rough drawing into a believable animation scene? Animators around the world are well versed in powerful animation principles that enable them to create natural-looking animations that possess a high level of visual appeal.

In this 10 week course, former Disney animator and master artist, Mike Wiesmeier, will introduce you to the 12 essential animation principles outlined by animation legends Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston, as well as the basic animation tools of the industry standard Toon Boom Harmony Animation Software. Your instructor will begin by teaching you to represent basic movement with simple animations at first, then end by helping you create your own simple character animation. Through the study of traditional Disney animation scenes, you will learn the importance of movement and timing in animation in addition to gaining experience in adding personality and emotion to your own projects.

By the end of this course, you will have gained a solid understanding of the 12 essential animation principles that will enable you to efficiently plan out and create simple to moderately complex animations. You will also have learned to correctly use Toon Boom Harmony giving you the confidence and ability to create your own high quality animations in the future.

NOTE: Students will have to purchase a license for the Toon Boom Harmony Animation Software to attend this class

  • Course Type Concept Art and Illustration Classes
  • Duration 10 weeks
  • Skill Level
    Level 3
    Level 3

    These courses are for people who can already draw and paint realistically and can create complete digital illustrations.

    Level 3 classes will help students to give a new edge to their images, properly render their digital work, and bring them closer to a professional level.

  • Language English

This class is currently on Sale!

The Late Registration Deadline is Wednesday the 28th of September at 11:59 PM.

$xxx (save $zzz!!) $yyy USD CAD
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Note: This class will be offered online only

Class Timings: Tuesdays from 10:30 AM to 1:30 PM, Eastern Daylight Time (EDT or UTC-4h)

Date of first class: September 27th

Duration: 10 weeks

If you are unable to attend the class during the times listed above, you will still have access to video recordings of the class lectures and will still receive personalized feedback from your instructor.



Skill requirements 

To enroll in this course you should have: 

  • A foundation in gesture drawing, including basic anatomy and proportions.
  • Ideally completed our Figure Sketching for Animation class or have equivalent practice/experience.

If you are unsure of your skill level, please contact [email protected] for additional guidance.


Language and age requirements

You should have at least intermediate level English to take this class. Please also note that Syn Studio’s classes are targeted towards adults and students should be 16 years or older to enroll.

Required Materials

You need to have a desktop computer or a laptop with Photoshop installed and a graphic tablet sensitive to pen pressure (such as a Wacom tablet). Or you need a tablet-computer with Photoshop installed that is sensitive to pen pressure (such as the Cintiq Companion).


You will need a licensed copy of Toon Boom Harmony Animation Software - We recommend that you purchase the Advanced version of the software so that you have access to all of the features.  Once the class is over you can cancel or change your subscription as you see fit.


Tech Requirements for Attending Syn Studio Online Classes

Minimum Requirements

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 600kbps bandwidth (up/down).
  • A Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a single core processor (at least 1 GHZ processing speed) or a smartphone/tablet with equivalent processing capabilities
  • Good speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser - IE7+, Safari 5+, Firefox, Chrome
  • Operating System - Windows XP, Mac OS 10.6, Linux distro based on 3.0 kernel, Android 5.0, iOS 10
  • Toon Boom Harmony Animation Software License


Syn Studio Recommendations

  • A strong uninterrupted broadband wired or wireless (3G or 4G/LTE) connection with a minimum 1.5Mbps bandwidth (up/down). You can also connect to the internet directly using your ethernet cable to improve your experience.
  • Laptop/Desktop computer equipped with a dual core processor with at least 2 GHZ processing speed and a 4 GB RAM
  • High Quality speakers/earphones to listen to the classes
  • Browser & Operating System - We recommend using the latest version of the browser and operating system for an optimal online classroom experience.

Course Outline

*Please note that the following outline is subject to change slightly at the teacher's discretion.

Week 1: Introduction to the course; introduction and overview of the 12 Animation Principles;
Introduction to the classic animation references: ‘The Illusion of Life’ and ‘The Animator’s
Survival Kit’; Introduction to the Harmony interface and drawing tools

Week 2: Animating a Bouncing Ball I: The Importance of the Bouncing Ball Animation in
learning the Animation Principles; plan out the Ball Bounce animation; Introduction to the
‘Pose-to-Pose’ approach to animating: draw the key poses, create the timing charts and draw
the breakdown poses; analyzing a short animation scene to see the bouncing ball concept in

Week 3: Animating a Bouncing Ball II: The ‘special’ inbetween and the importance of
showing the change of shape of the ball; drawing the inbetween poses; Introduction to and
using the ‘Straight-Ahead’ approach to animate a tail on the ball

Week 4: Animating the Flour Sack I: Brainstorming Ideas with Thumbnails and Creating the
Animation Key Poses; Overview of the creative process as it relates to thumbnailing your

Week 5: Animating the Flour Sack II: Creating the Charts, Breakdowns, and Inbetweens for
the Flour Sack Animation; the critical role of the Breakdown drawing in animation; review of
Richard Williams’ ideas about the breakdown drawing

Week 6: Animating the Flour Sack III: Flour Sack Master Animation Study: the importance of
the flour sack animation in thinking about character mass and change of shape in a simplified
way; analysis and study of a flour sack animation from Sleeping Beauty

Week 7: Introduction to Character Personality Animation: The Character ‘Take’; Introduction
to the use of the Take in animation and its importance in showing change of character
expression and thought; Review of the components of the Take through analyzing many
animated examples and Richard Williams’ notes; The importance of getting into the
performance of the Take

Week 8: Animating the Character ‘Take’: Brainstorming and thumbnailing the Take
animation; Drawing the Key Poses, Creating the Charts and Drawing the Breakdown Poses

Week 9: Animating the Character ‘Take’: Drawing the Take animation Inbetween Poses;
animating the character details (using the Animation Principle of Follow-Through) using the
‘Straight-Ahead’ approach to animation

Week 10: Review of Student Character Animation assignments and review of key points of
the course

Check out the entire outline


Syn Studio offers the highest quality education at the most affordable prices.

This is a popular class is expected to fill up very quickly


The Late Registration Deadline is Wednesday the 28th of September at 11:59 PM.

This class is being offered at
for a limited period of time (save $xxx!!)
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