What equipment is needed to learn creating animated videos?

Hello all, my teenage son is Autistic and wants to get both Photoshop and illustrator. He’s currently taking Art classes and his dream is to do Animation, create animated videos or games. He specifically wants to first create drawings on paper then transfer to pc. He is gifted with both drawing and computer so it’s not a pipe dream.

I don’t have a large budget to get him the best softwares so I would like to ask what’s the cheapest best thing I can get for him for now to get started please? I wouldn;t want to get him something right now then when he starts college next year majoring in Art that I would need to get him something else and both photoshop and Illustrator might then be obsolete for him.

Can you guys give me a list of what equipment mike will be needing for his future and also what he should start with right now please? Thanks guys

Hi, would recommend looking at the Adobe Creative Cloud suite. At the top tier you have pretty much everything you need to produce ‘2D’ animation, i.e. drawn out and animated and turned into video. Photoshop and illustrator both belong to the application suite. In particular Flash / Animate / Character Animator should get him started with animation. Photoshop and illustrator have been global standards for so many years that it’s unlikely they will be obsolete in the near future and are pretty crucial for most digital art related work - Adobe CC is the Microsoft Office of creative apps.

You can buy the applications outright or get them on subscription which of course lowers the investment and risk.

A new PC with plenty of ram and SSD hard drive space is recommended (master files can get quite big) as well as a good mouse, keyboard and a graphics tablet depending on his preference. With 2D, graphics cards are not so important. You can spend many, many hours clicking and tapping so comfy peripherals have made a big difference in my life.

I have a tablet PC with a pressure sensitive pen and love it but they are expensive, that said look at MS Surface or Wacom Cintiq if your budget stretches that far. Note these are great for 2D work but can struggle with some 3D apps depending on what you are trying to achieve.

Hope this helps.

Thank you very much for all of the great info and advice. I can’t afford to pay a monthly fee right now, I am seeing some folks selling both PS and illustrator on Ebay for reasonable prices with legit licenses. Things is I am seeing different versions and packages so I would like to know what to look for if you can advise me please? Also would simply having both PS and illustrator be enough for him to draw out something on paper and create an animated video or what else will he be needing?

Try a free photoshop alternative called the gimp. It does most of what photoshop can do. For illustrator you can substitute with the free Inkscape

I have used photoshop for animating frame by frame in the past but it’s not a good solution for this sort of thing and he will be at a severe disadvantage. Perhaps it’s worth reaching out to the college he wants to attend to ask if they have a list of recommended software and primer material?

I am aware of those free utilities but I will try to get him the best thing I can afford, essentially what I will need to know is what exactly will he need to create an animated video, that is what I am not clear on, would PS and illustrator suffice or what else will he be needing for this? If I can find that out then I can go looking for the best deals.

New York Film Academy recommend Pencil2D for animation among others. It seems to do what you want in terms of the fundamentals he will need to learn for the right price…

I’m a bit out of touch as have had the privilege of using expensive tools for years now. Does suck that the standard tools for digital art are sooo expensive but most big companies know that their futures lie with new artists and offer big student discounts or even free software for student card holders. Adobe for example discount the creative cloud (here in the UK) from £50 to £16 a month, here

No, you would want more than photoshop and illustrator, these are good for static images, to make them move you want something a bit more involved and to convert your moving images into video you’d likely use yet another package.

Great, that is narrowing down things, thanks. Would you happen to know what that other package may be please?

I would use a combination of Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Animate, Adobe After Effects, Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Encode (definitely a theme) but I have them to hand. Hopefully someone else will jump in with some alternatives…

Thanks for the info. I was just told that Mike will be able to get the full she-bang for $20 per month with a student discount when he starts college next year so i can work with that. Meantime I will get him a standalone version of PS and Illustrator so he can get started and be familiar with it.