As already mentioned, the best place to start is your drawing skills. Life drawing. Lots of it.. 2 hours per session doing 30 second gestures LOL (omg how we got slammed with this in animation school). Looking at photographs isn't the same as working from a live model. What these gestures teach you is this: proportion, anatomy, movement, foreshortening, perspective
These are the foundations of 2D animation. Being able to quickly reproduce a drawing with the same proportions. Maintaining mass is probably one of the trickiest parts of 2D animation. It requires a hella lot of flipping and refining and an eye for continuity errors.
Squash and stretch is a good principle to understand also.
These days, the majority of animation is cut-out 2D animation an 3D animation. It's beneficial to understand the foundation of classical animation to be able to apply the most eye-pleasing way to make something move. Animation in general uses a lot of exaggerated movements to communicate what's going on to the audience.
It's been so long since I've studied it myself. I do recall my life drawing instructors highly recommending Hogarth's books for anatomy studies. I'm afraid I can't make additional suggestions to what's already been said.
These pretty much apply to 3D animation as well. Except the drawing part.. it's pretty much manipulating a puppet. Cut-out 2D animation is kidna the same if you're using skeletons.Anyhoo, good luck and don't give up! Animating is some pretty intensive labour....
UNO. Take the time to be able to do flip books and stuff, they teach you patience and pacing. You don't need fancy bound paper. I used my english books since we never had to give them back. Of course almost any book will do.
DOS. Take time to learn about color, people are more pink then they are yellow and putting someone in a dark room will make them kinda yellow, or if they are in a dark place looking at a phone, a blue/purple light will shine on them. Theire is many great stuff on deviant art about it.
TRES. Get the animation book by Kit Layborne. This book is very 90's style, but it gives you great ideas and uses actualy animation examples. Plus it shows lots of different types. It is what got me into stop motion animation. But it talks about round-abouts for characters, to the different types of walk styles. It has stuf on storyboarding and cameras..
QUATRO. Buy books about different types of styles of art. Christopher Hart has hands down best books on manga. Plus you can find him here on DA. For more comic types- stan lee has a few books. The better thing about stan Lee is that he is big in the buissness. Who has not heard of spiderman? Plus what I like about his books is he also talks about the back end of things too. Since every animation has characters- character mentor by Tom bancroft is good. Art books will only do good and make it easier to go back to basics.
CINCO. I stress the importance of backgrounds. DOO ITT, Even if it is a bunch of gray smears, its better than nothing!
CES. Every animation is a story, so read up on writting and dialouge. A good how to guide is here: [link]
Animation is the art of timing, so on top of working on your anatomy/drawing skills, then looking up references for the timing of how long something takes is important, like a yawn would averagely stretch out three seconds. 3D animation would seem to be easier but learning 2d and drawing the animations out yourself is probably a better way to start, since later in 3d you'll be thumbing your pose to pose. btw for 3D animation I use maya, it's pretty simple. 3D modeling is a bit rougher, but that's a whole nother page XD for 2D animation you can use photoshop,flash, & there's one i can't remember right now, that's ever more simple and basic, and really good T_T. P.s I loath life drawing class, second semester around and it's still so painful 2 and a half hours of DRAW DRAW GOGO FASTER FASTER. Sigh,
I looked at your gallery. If what you have there is an example of your skill then you need to practice the basics first before attempting animation. In his Animator's Survival Kit book, Richard Williams does stress a strong grounding in good drawing skills. Start out with books on figure drawing and anatomy. I found going to life drawing classes held at the local art league really helped me. And good drawing ability does not happen overnight. It takes practice and lots of it.
Thank you. I started with the traditional route. Animating on paper and shooting it on film. Computers did make the process easier though it introduced their own complications. I'm also learning 3D modeling and animation. Having a knowledge of drawing does help because you have to visualize in 3 dimensions.
There is a some free animation software out there. But I started with Toon Boom Studio because it came close to a traditional workflow. It's vector based. For raster based I'm thinking of adding Digicel Flipbook.
I have several 3D programs I'm learning with but the most easiest and fun one is Metasequoia. There is a freeware version of it. I wish you luck with your endeavors and future success.
Blender is great, might be confusing at first. Ok, a lot of confusion ahead, but it's great. Sculptris is fun to sculpt with, allows you to create a character without the usual bevel-extrude path.
Book, well, Richard Williams The Animator Survival Kit, really helpful.
Polugon count and general workability are going to depend on your machine. For Sculpting in Sculptris a recent middle class desktop with dedicated graphics is going to get you close to the million poly count, where my four years old laptop only reaches 100k. But to animate, normally in class we kept our models below 30k to make it possible to animate for the machine.
Okayyyyyy.... So... I'm gonna do a memory dump and throw down all I can think of right now...
I just finished studying an Advanced Diploma of screen and Media, specialising in 2D animation.\
Some good books for animation, specialising in 2D, however it is still relevant for all forms of animation.
Preston Blair's work is fantastic: [link] and Richard Williams is a god to me: [link]
For 2D animation I preferably work in Photoshop/Painter, however Flash is also fantastic. You can get 30 day trials from the adobe website.
For 3D modelling and animation I use Autodesk Maya and 3DS Max, however you can learn using Blender and Sculptris.
If I were you I'd try and start 2D first, atleast for a few weeks so you can understand animation. Do the old school "bouncing ball" tutorials and practice walk cycles. Then move to 3D, or atleast practice modelling and then go to animation.
As for hardware, I use Windows computers, I'm not all that keen on Mac due to the one's at my uni crashing a lot when using Maya/After Effects. Overall, they're computers, they all crash and the likes.
I hear Blender is rather decent to good for 3D animation, and Pencil is a free 2D animating program. Maya is pretty handy, though a bit moody, for 3D animation as well - if you're student, you might be able to register for the free student version of Maya here: [link]
With 2D animation, and this is just something I personally find rather helpful but I find pixel art rather helpful for understanding frame-animation and helps build the patience.
Here's something that might be helpful, or at least interesting to look at: [link]
//hugs// no problem~ And I'm... doing relatively okay haha. Much better than before, at least. Thinking of finally get my butt off of hiatus and make a full return. How about you? Hopefully things have been going well!
I would say go traditional first since that would be the quickest and most effective way of figuring out the base of your style before going digital - though it wouldn't hurt at all to get a bit of Digital practice in here and there.