This blog post is intended to help artists/creatives find resources to grow their skill sets around animation. If you’re still in need of consultation about your animation project, feel free to contact us at Fog Coast Productions.

As we enter 2020, it’s worth noting the technological advancements and innovative solutions that have been produced over the previous couple of decades. For the first time in human history, we can access over 1 million exabytes of information from a handheld device or home computer in a matter of seconds. It’s easy to understand the power of independent knowledge acquisition and to envision a future that’s filled with limitless access to self-curated education via the internet. However, with so much information out there, you now have to weed out the unnecessary or unreliable content that will inevitably waste time and send you down a rabbit hole of algorithmic upchuck. 

As a 3D generalist, I discovered a long time ago that tutorials are the key to survival. In other words, the LEGENDS that make free tutorials online are absolute godsends and have allowed myself and many others to continue making a living in the animation industry. In fact, I don’t know a single digital artist or editor that doesn’t use tutorials on a regular basis. Whether you need to grow your skill sets, solve a design/technical problem, or generate new ideas, artists need tutorial videos to survive. That is why I’ve created a list of guardian angels that have decided to support the animation, motion graphics and vfx industries by creating YouTube channels dedicated to free tutorials. They are in no particular order of quality, but the general categories include: motion graphics, 3D rendering, modeling, dynamic simulations, vfx, rigging, concept art and industry advice for junior artists.

There are hundreds, if not thousands of other great channels out there that exist on other platforms/streaming sites or have slightly different focuses. However, in this article we’ll be sticking to YouTubers, since there are so many of them to highlight. Also, I should note that these are my personal go-to’s for the areas that I need the most assistance with. My strongest skill is character animation, which is why there may not be that many channels that focus on that area of animation. I hope that you’ll take some time to check out their channels and continue to improve your skills in animation and motion graphics. 

1. Video Copilot 

You can’t have a list of tutorial channels for animation/vfx without mentioning the legendary Andrew Kramer. He’s been teaching tips and tricks, building tools, and providing libraries of content for After Effects for years. With over half-million subscribers on YouTube, he’s lead the charge in helping artists master practically every technical challenge you might face in After Effects.

2. Mt. Mogragh

Mt. Mograph is a great channel full of motion graphics and compositing tutorials for After Effects. Matt breaks down complex effects into easily digestible walk-throughs that will get you through a wide variety of everyday mograph challenges. 

3. Surfaced Studio

This channel is an all-encompassing vfx channel hosted by the quirky generalist, Tobias. He offers a treasure trove of vfx tutorials, focusing mainly in After Effects, that will have you impressing your friends in no time.

4. School of Motion

School of Motion is an actual motion design school that boasts 2000+ alumni and counting. However, they offer plenty of freebie tutorials on YouTube for After Effects, Photoshop, Nuke, Cinema 4d and more. They also have an informative podcast which dives into the industry in detail.

5. ECAbrams

Evan Abrams is a motion graphics veteran who shares tips and tricks that he wishes he knew about as a junior artist. An awesome resource for After Effects animation, expressions and industry vlogs.

6. Mike Hermes

Mike Hermes is an extremely knowledgeable Maya expert who has dedicated his life to providing exclusively free tutorials online. He clearly takes the time to understand the concepts and techniques that he teaches for a seamless learning experience. He also gives 3D artists a ton of valuable career advice. In addition to Maya, he teaches tutorials for other software like Substance Painter, Keyshot, Photoshop, etc.

7. CG Shortcuts

Dave, of the CG Shortcuts channel, produces a ton of Cinema 4D tutorials including abstract looping animation, technically advanced particle simulations, lighting techniques with Octane and more. He also provides project files to follow along and hosts competitions for his subscribers.

8. Arrimus 3D

Arrimus is a talented 3D generalist who’s built a large library of in-depth modeling, rigging and concept design tutorials for a multitude of software including: 3DS Max, Zbrush, Mudbox, Substance Painter, Unreal Engine, V-Ray and Blender.

9. Flipped Normals

A channel run by Henning Sanden and Morten Jaeger. They bring high quality CG tutorials with an extremely diverse software focus including: Maya, Zbrush, Substance Painter, Blender, Marvelous Designer, Mari and MODO. Along with important art fundamentals, a podcast and Q&A vids.

10. Greyscale Gorilla

This channel contains lots of tools for motion graphics artists and for Cinema 4D Some of the renderers that he dives into are: Arnold, Redshift and Octane. Plus the podcast dips into industry advice and training for artists looking to go pro. 

11. Eyedesyn

EJ is an expert in Cinema 4d, Octane Render and After Effects. He’s a generalist with almost 10 million views on YouTube, who creates super accessible learning videos for beginners and advanced animators. 

12. Digital Meat

Another great resource for clear and concise Cinema 4D tutorials. As well as some real time Unity material. 

13. Brograph Tuts

These guys focus on teaching practical methods for motion graphics in Cinema 4D, After Effects, and Maya. They dip into renderers like Corona, Redshift, and Octane. Plus thay do a podcast with walkthroughs, industry advice and workflow secrets.

14. Maya Guy

The Maya Guy makes learning and discovering VFX and dynamic animation in Maya super fun. If you’re ever stuck on a technical challenge with nCloth, nParticles, Bifrost or MASH networks in Maya, check out this channel.

15. Sonduck Film

Sonduck Film is a straight-to-the-point tutorial channel that focuses on motion graphics for After Effects, Premiere Pro and Illustrator. Along with their videos they provide project files for you to grab and follow along. They also dive into some cinematography and filmmaking tips that can help motion graphics artists understand important concepts and language in the industry.

16. MOBOX Graphics

MOBOX Graphics has a full range of 2D and 3D motion graphics tutorials for Cinema4D and After Effects. A must-follow for everyday tips that’ll make your workflow more efficient and creative.

17. Olof Storm

Olof is a super talented 2D animator with an eye for elegant design. His latest method for animation involves combining 3D environments with 2D animated characters. He does a wonderful job of breaking down his process so you can see how it’s done. He also does  Q&A videos for artists looking for design guidance and industry advice. 

18. Blender Guru

Perhaps the Mecca for Blender tutorials, hosted by Andrew Price, boasts a 1 million+ subscriber base on YouTube. Andrew has been creating free Blender tutorials since 2009 and is extremely good at it. Even if you don’t use Blender, Andrew teaches in a way that even a Maya user like myself can learn crucial cg concepts.  

19. CG Geek

Steve Lund is a talented Blender generalist with a knack for creating appealing tutorial videos across the CG spectrum. If you want to learn fun techniques for vfx and check out some tech reviews, Steve delivers. 

And there you have it! My top 19 tutorial channels for animation, vfx and motion graphics. As digital artists, we’re always growing in our specific areas of expertise, which is why having people who generously share their knowledge online is a priceless gift. I hope this is a solid list to get you started on your animation journey, but if you are still needing further consultation our would like to hire a professional animator for your project, contact us at Fog Coast Productions.

Written By: Steve Cook – Creative Director, Fog Coast Productions