Your browser does not support JavaScript!
Skip to main content

Getting Started

There are many variations for setting up and purchasing technology for having students create animation. Budget plays a big part in determining the setup of your classroom animation studio. For those willing to creatively put together their own systems using digital still or video cameras and basic software, getting a basic setup can be done fairly cheaply. Ready made systems like the LunchBox make it much easier to capture each drawn frame and output to an animation, but cost more. For 3-D animation, computers are needed, as is software that will allow students to create and render animation.

2D Animation

Animation Pencil Test System (for capturing sequenced, still frames and converting them to animation)

The LunchBox Sync and LunchBox DV are frame-grabbers capable of recording individual frames or full motion video and playing them back, full screen, at a user selectable 24 or 30 frames per second. They can also display frames sequentially, record sound and plays it back with the video. Both products can do audio "scrubbing" as you step through frames sequentially. The LunchBox DV accepts input from analog video or DV cameras and can transfer animation to and from a computer as DV over firewire. The hallmarks of the LunchBox Sync and LunchBox DV are their ease-of-use and instantaneous viewing capability. Includes  Color Kit, with Copy Stand and Pinnacle Studio Movie Box DV.

Toon Boom provides digital animation software used by many studios for producing 2-D animation. Many Orange County schools use Toon Boom Studio in their animation classes.

Macromedia Flash is also used by some high schools.

Budget Solution

For a less expensive solution that will take a little more setup work and training for the students, there is basic software that will take a series of frames and create an animation. With these you can use existing technology, like digital still and video cameras, as well as scanners to capture each frame of the animation. Purchasing a copy stand with lights will greatly enhance the quality of the animations.

Monkey Jams (PC)

Frame Thief (Mac)

Animator DV (PC)

2D Supplies

Plastic Peg Bars

Used to hold your animation paper in the same place while drawing, flipping and filming.

Animation Cell and Paper Punch

Used to punch your animation paper so that it can be used with the plastic peg bar.

Plexi Light Box-Single Bar

Used to place animation paper so that the artist can see through to the next piece of paper. Used for drawing, flipping and animation. These light boxes are portable.

Clay animation and paper cut-out animation supplies can be purchased at many art or craft supply stores. Tech4Learning sells a Clay Animation kit (

3D Computer Animation

There are various 3D computer animation software packages available.

3d Studio Max
Cinema 4-D
Animation Master

Blender 3d is a free, open source digital program for creating animation that is similar to 3D Studio Max.

Digitizing and Compressing Software

Sorenson Video 3 or Cleaner 6 are both high-quality video compression software packages. Compressing video on your computer allows you to convert it to Quicktime (free download). Quicktime Pro is also useful for compressing in different formats.


The Orange County Animation Project partnered with ACME Animation for the animation curriculum. ACME provides students with a series of challenges that teach students the principles of animation. ACME has also developed a system in which students can share their animations in an online environment that allows for feedback from peers and professionals. They also make connections directly to professional animators through two-way videoconferencing. More information and examples of the challenges can be found at Contact about adding ACME to your curriculum.

Teacher Resources

Are you new to teaching animation? Are you at a loss as to where to begin? The Orange County Animation Project (OCAP) has made your initiation somewhat less painful, partnering with ACME Animation. ACME has developed curriculum that is comprehensive, easy to follow, and allows your students to work independently, with you as the facilitator. Here's a short overview from one of our animation classes at Capistrano Valley High School in Mission Viejo. You’ll need some basic equipment and software to get you started.

We created a “Starter Kit Tutorial” that demonstrates a “Ball Drop” Challenge using the equipment provided to participating teachers through the Orange County Animation Project.  In addition, there is an "Introduction to Toon Boom."  The Toon Boom tutorial is divided into 16 video clips, approximately 15 minutes each.  The clips are labeled with the main topics included in the clip for easy viewing.

For more information or to participate in OCAP, contact Vivian Goldschmidt

Recommended Books:

Exploring Drawing for Animation by Stephen Missal

The Animator’s Workbook by Tony White

The Animator's Survival Kit by Richard Williams

The Fundamentals of Animation by Paul Wells

Other Resources:

[This section was partially funded by the Chancellor’s Office, California Community Colleges Governor’s Career Technical Education Initiative (SB70/SB1133) Career Technical Education Community Collaborative Grant #07-170-039, awarded to the Coast Community College District.]

Emerging Trends in Game Development – focusing on non-entertainment game industry and industries that support game development
Horizon Report – 2009 Economic Development Edition – Key trends, critical challenges and technologies to watch
Career Guide to the Motion Picture & Video Industries
Game Design Portfolio
Design Careers



  • Careers in Animation
  • Animation Careers at Disney
  • 3D Animation at Pixar

Commercial & Industrial Designers
Desktop Publishing

Graphic Design

  • Graphic Designers – A Closer Look
  • Graphic Designers in California
  • Occupational Outlook Handbook for Graphic Designers

Video Game Design – Entry Level
Web Design
3D Modeling/Rapid Prototype

ocde   edtech   vc ​