11/05/21 • Animation Insights

5 of the best FREE resources for animators

According to our crew!

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Working in the animation industry is enjoyable, rewarding and challenging all at once. We get to tell fun stories and important ones, show off our talents and skills, and see the fruits of our labour being enjoyed by audiences across the world. Amidst all the positives, there are also certain demands that we must meet. Creative work is by its nature innovative, and so we are constantly pushing ourselves to explore new ways of doing things and to hone our craft.  

At Lighthouse we value the diversity of our crew and the knowledge and skills that each individual crew member brings to the tableLuckily, we’re not stingy when it comes to sharing information we think might help someone else. We asked our crew to tell us the best free resources they use for learning new animation skills and brushing up on existing ones.  

Here’s what they said.  


FramebyFrame is a cool twitter account that goes through shots across the mediums and demonstrates frame by frame the principles of animation at work.” George Grimble, Animator 

FramebyFrame is a partner of the Agora Community, a wider group which offers direct and affordable access to experts from the animation industryFramebyFrame provides free educational content for animators and, as George says, breaks down exactly what goes into creating each shot by slowing down each frame so that viewers can see how each individual element contributes to the overall result. In addition, it provides links to further free resources and live streams, while also inviting followers to join in challenges. You can find FramebyFrame on Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram and Facebook.  

Image reference search on Github 

“This site is great for image reference searches for animals. You pick the angle you want with the animal, i.e. looking screen left, then click search, and google pulls up loads of images of the animal looking that way.” – Maureen Walshe, Animator 

There are no bells and whistles with this one – it takes a simple idea and executes it perfectly. Rather than spending hours trying to articulate the exact placement of an animal’s head in a way that Google will understand, simply enter in the species of animal you’re looking for and toggle the onscreen skull to get a picture of that animal from the angle you specify. Piece of cake – and you know how much we love cake at Lighthouse.  

Kyu Bum Lee  

Toon Boom tutorials for Animation, rigging, mouths etc. on YouTube” – Grace McDonnell, Animation Director 

Kyu-bum Lee has also free Toon Boom Rigs available at https://gumroad.com/kyubumlee”  Marcela Scota, Animator 

Kyu Bum Lee is certainly popular in our studio, and it’s easy to see why. His YouTube account features a playlist of Toon Boom tutorials which includes 11 videos and over eight hours of content. Being a Toon Boom studio, we are no stranger to the software. However, these tutorials are an excellent resource for any animator looking to brush up on their skills, as well as being invaluable to any aspiring animators out there.  

The free Toon Boom rigs as shared by Marcela are also extremely handy, though take care to ensure your use of them is purely non-commercial.  

For colour theory 

Colour can bring concepts to life and guide the eye of the viewer to what we want them to see, while also creating mood and atmosphereBut what colours go together? How can you reach your desired effect? Which colours create exactly what you’re looking for? That’s where colour theory comes in. Here are Background Artist, Gemma Aloisi’s suggestions on where to brush up on your skills. 

The (not) rules of colour temperature – Part one of the (Not)Rules of Art series, a three part series in which Nathan Fowkes illuminates the strengths and shortcomings of traditional colour theory rules.”

Principles of colour every artist should know by heart “Angela Pan’s video is a great summary of all the most important principles of colour theory, which she explains using her lovely illustrations and background designs.”

Colour theory episode one, warm vs cool colours – “Colour theory episode one, warm vs cool colours – In her playlist Dr. Oto Kano beautifully illustrates the principles of colour theory in traditional watercolour painting. Having a good understanding of how colours behave in traditional media can be extremely helpful even when mostly using digital tools, especially when we wish to give a traditional feel to our work. Plus, experiential learning with actual paints on paper can be lots of fun!”

And last, but not least…

Living Lines Library

“Don’t forget to add Living Lines Library for pencil test references. Soooo pretty!” – Maureen Walshe, Animator

We hope you enjoy digging around in some of the resources shared by our crew. Stay tooned for further updates from Lighthouse Studios! 

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