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Animation I

Learn the principles of hand-drawn animation using Toon Boom Harmony in this introductory course!

Teacher Artwork by Mike Wiesmeier

This class will be offered in Fall 2023.   Join our waitlist to reserve your spot and get priority before anyone else.  Click on the button to secure your spot.

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Teacher Artwork by Mike Wiesmeier

Animation I

NOTE: A licensed copy of Toon Boom Harmony Animation Software is mandatory to take this class. If you do not own your own licence, we offer our students a 3 months license at an exclusive discounted price of $55 USD instead of $337.5 USD (subscription available before the start of the class).

In this course, former Disney animator, Mike Wiesmeier, will introduce you to the 12 principles of animation 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.

Through the expressive and dynamic medium of animation, you will learn to create basic movement and then your very own simple character sequence. By studying traditionally-animated scenes, you will learn the importance of movement and timing in animation in addition to injecting personality and appeal in each of your drawings.

By the end of this course, you will have gained a solid understanding of animation basics and will be able to efficiently plan and create your very own animated projects in Toon Boom Harmony.




  • Course Type Animation and Comics 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


Note: This class will be offered online only

Class Timings: Fall 2023

Date of first class: TBD

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 be advised that there could be artistic nudity in our classes. Students should be 14 years old to enroll.

Required Materials

Material List: 

  • A desktop computer or laptop*
  • A  graphic tablet with pressure sensitivity (from brands such as Wacom, Huion, or Xencelabs), OR a tablet-laptop hybrid (also with Photoshop installed) with pressure sensitivity (such as the Wacom Cintiq Companion or Microsoft Surface Pro).
  • Toon Boom Harmony Advanced (animation software)**


Important note: 

Please ensure that all of your hardware and software are functioning properly before the start of the term; there will not be any time to resolve technical issues in class.


*Please consult our Tech Requirements below for more precise computer specifications.

**A licensed copy of the animation software Toon Boom Harmony Advanced is mandatory to take this class. If you do not own your own licence, we offer our students a 3 months license at an exclusive discounted price of $55 USD instead of $337.5 USD. Once you enroll in the class, a private link will be provided so you can pay for the license. A unique License Activation ID will then be provided to you a week before the start of the class.



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 ideas.


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

Questions and Assistance

Feel free to send us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 514-998-7625

Please consult our FAQ; most of the commonly asked questions are answered in detail there. If you cannot find the answer to your question, please feel free to fill out the form below, or, send an email to [email protected]

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