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Tools for an Animation Degree: Programs for Animators

Tools for an Animation Degree: Programs for Animators

Students pursuing an animation degree have a wide option of software on their hands. Animation has become quite the digital profession. Gone are the days of flipbooks and hand-drawn materials (though they still appear) and in comes the optimized field of digital animation.

Students entering this world have a lot to take in, so following is a list of programs that students should learn to use to make it in the animation industry.

Autodesk’s Maya

Technology-based corporation Autodesk focuses on and specializes in the production of 3D design software. One of their most successful and widely-used pieces of software is Maya. Maya is Autodesk’s flagship 3D modeling and animation software and it is used by most major development studios out there. From DreamWorks Studios to Insomniac Games, Maya is the industry standard.

Maya’s 2013 software touts a more accessible viewport for its animators, the ability to create and work with both realistic hair and bullet physics, and a variety of other helpful 3D modeling/animation techniques.

Any student looking to make a splash in the world of 3D animation should familiarize themselves with Autodesk’s Maya.

Adobe Flash

For novice and experienced 2D animators, Adobe Flash has emerged as an accessible option. After being developed by Macromedia, Flash was used by animators and web developers alike. After Adobe’s acquisition of Macromedia in 2005, Flash became a major player in the 2D animation field. These days, Flash is widely used in the production of web-exclusive content and has even seen a number of appearances in the television industry.

With the support of traditional frame-by-frame animation alongside the newer implemented motion tweens, Flash is a perfect option for any animation student. Flash even supports the production of basic 3D animation to round it out.


Blender, unlike the other programs on this list, is a free open-source 3D modeling and animation program that came out of a company’s bankruptcy. Initially designed as an in-house animation program, Blender has become one of the most influential and familiar programs for students of animation.

Blender features many of the same devices as Maya and other high-level 3D animation software, but most of these tools are presented in a very different way. Blender is also rare in that it features a built-in game engine that serves well for animators looking to enter the gaming industry.

Any piece of open-source software proves to be good for students as there are any numbers of plugins and tutorials to help them learn.

Toon Boom Studio

Toon Boom Animation has provided some of the most influential animation studios in the world with the proper tools to create movies and TV shows alike. Toon Boom Studio is the company’s software pointed more towards the novice animator looking to take the first steps into learning 2D animation.

Toon Boom Studio features a number of simple tools including a number of built-in visual effects and an easy-to-use skeleton for easy animation. It also features simple publishing techniques for animators to easily showcase their work.

Toon Boom Studio has been used to create a number of short films and web-exclusive shows. For any student with little animation experience, Toon Boom Studio is a perfect tool to get started.  Get more information on earning your degree in animation by filling out the form at the top of this page.

Any of these programs can help an animation degree student or any prospective animator take the first steps into the industry.

Get information on an animation degree using the form on this page. School representatives will guide you through the process and answer any questions you may have about the various programs that are available to help you earn your animation degree.

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