Introduction to animation

Animation can embrace all other art forms, from traditional mark making such as illustration and painting to digital art forms using state of the art hardware and software.  Creating the illusion of life through observation, design and understanding of movement underpin all great animated content.

NUA Animation staff and cohort

What do i need to know?

You won't need any animation experience to begin animation @NUA, we will guide you through all of the techniques. But if like many prospective students you are keen to explore animation below are suggested areas of research. 

The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas

The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas

Principles of animation 

There are essential rules which all animators refer to in order to develop or improve any animated sequence.  

The famous 12 principles of animation were devised during the golden era of 3D animation by Disney animators Ollie Johnston and Frank Thomas and can be found in the classic book The Illusion of Life: Disney Animation.

Still from film by graduate Catherine Buckley.

Still from film by graduate Catherine Buckley.

KEYFRAMES & posing 

The building blocks of any animation are keyframes. For character performances these are the key poses before adding in-between frames to flesh out a performance. Some key principles of posing include a strong silhouette, asymmetrical body parts and a strong line of action.  You can develop these skills through observation in life drawing or sketch booking real life. 

Animator Robin Fuller delivers a technical masterclass at NUA.


The three main animation techniques of 2D, CGI and stop motion can look completely different but all share the same key principles. Amazing things can also happen when you begin to combine the techniques. 


All of the animation techniques require development of technical skills. In your first year you will have the opportunity to explore Maya for CGI, Dragon Frame for stop motion and TVPaint for 2D. From year 2 onwards you can specialise in one medium or continue to experiment or combine techniques.