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Animation Classes Chicago

Unlock your creativity and bring your ideas to life with a wide range of animation classes. Learn the art of storytelling, character design, and digital animation techniques, and gain the skills to create captivating visuals and narratives.

6 classes in-person in Chicago have spots left, and 14 classes live online are available.

Motion Graphics Certificate

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Become a skilled Motion Graphics Designer and master the art of animating motion graphics, creating visual effects, and editing videos using industry-standard software like Adobe After Effects, Premiere Pro, and Cinema 4D Lite. Develop a strong portfolio showcasing your creative techniques and gain the skills needed to meet the growing demand for video professionals.

Monday, Mar 4th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (16 sessions)

$3,495

16 sessions

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After Effects Bootcamp

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Discover the secrets of creating captivating motion graphics and animations in this comprehensive course. Gain hands-on experience with real-world projects and learn from a leading instructor, as you delve into techniques like motion tracking and animating 3D layers. Prerequisite: Basic knowledge of Adobe Photoshop recommended.

Tuesday, Mar 12th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$975

3 sessions

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Adobe Premiere Part 1

Computer Training Source, Inc. @ 1821 Walden Office Sq, Schaumburg, IL

Discover how to master Adobe Premiere, one of the most versatile digital video editing tools on the market, in this comprehensive course. Learn essential video editing techniques, including transitions, filters, audio editing, and more. Take your video editing skills to the next level with this hands-on training.

Monday, Mar 11th, 6:30–9:30pm Central Time

 (2 sessions)

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After Effects Part 1

Computer Training Source, Inc. @ 1821 Walden Office Sq, Schaumburg, IL

Learn how to create stunning motion graphics and visual effects with After Effects. This course covers everything from setting up and pre-rolling to working with text, integrating Photoshop images, using advanced motion techniques, and more. Enhance your skills and bring your creative visions to life.

Monday, Apr 15th, 6:30–9:30pm Central Time

 (2 sessions)

Adobe Premiere Part 2

Computer Training Source, Inc. @ 420 N Wabash Ave, Chicago, IL

Master the art of video production with Adobe Premiere Part 2. Learn advanced editing techniques, color correction, transitions, and more in this comprehensive course at Computer Training Source, Inc. Develop a complete workflow from start to finish and create professional-quality videos.

Monday, Mar 18th, 6:30–9:30pm Central Time

 (2 sessions)

After Effects Part 2

Computer Training Source, Inc. @ 1821 Walden Office Sq, Schaumburg, IL

Take your After Effects skills to the next level with this advanced course. Learn compositing, rotoscoping, and green screen techniques for creating stunning animations and videos. Enhance your multimedia presentations, create 3D effects, and master the art of rendering and exporting. Sign up now to elevate your After Effects expertise!

Monday, Apr 22nd, 6:30–9:30pm Central Time

 (2 sessions)

Premiere Pro Bootcamp

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Master the art of professional video editing with Premiere Pro. Learn how to import, organize, and edit footage, enhance audio and video quality, add effects and titles, and much more. Take your video editing skills to the next level with this comprehensive course.

Wednesday, Apr 24th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$975

3 sessions

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Film Editing Techniques Masterclass

Pitch to Screen® Education

Enhance your editing skills with our instructor-led masterclass in Adobe Premiere Pro. Gain proficiency in essential tools, motion graphics, audio editing, color correction, and media exporting. Elevate your content creation and editing capabilities in just 3 hours.

Wednesday, Feb 21st, 6:30–9:30pm Eastern Time

After Effects Advanced

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Take your After Effects skills to the next level with this advanced course at Noble Desktop. Master text and shape animations, learn video compositing techniques, and discover how to speed up your workflow with expressions. Enhance your motion graphics and compositing skills with hands-on projects in this immersive course.

Tuesday, Mar 5th, 6–9pm Eastern Time

 (6 sessions)

$975

6 sessions

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After Effects in a Day

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Learn how to create stunning animations, add music and sounds, and import files from Illustrator and Photoshop in this hands-on workshop at Noble Desktop. Perfect for beginners looking to master After Effects in just one day.

Cinema 4D in After Effects Bootcamp

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Unlock the power of 3D graphics in your After Effects projects with this immersive hands-on course. Learn to create and animate stunning 3D models, apply textures, and seamlessly integrate with After Effects using Cinema 4D Lite. Expand your skill set and take your motion projects to new heights.

Monday, Mar 25th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$975

3 sessions

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Video Editing Certificate

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Master the art of video editing, audio editing, and motion graphics at a leading institution. Learn the creative techniques and workflow required to transform concepts into fully edited videos. Elevate your skills and stand out to potential clients or employers with a compelling video editing demo reel.

Monday, Mar 4th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (13 sessions)

$2,995

13 sessions

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Premiere Pro Advanced

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Take your Premiere Pro skills to the next level with this advanced training. Discover hidden features, create custom transitions and effects, and master editing for social media and broadcast. Enhance your videos with sound fx and ambient audio, and tackle action sequences like a pro.

Thursday, Mar 7th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (2 sessions)

$695

2 sessions

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Premiere Pro in a Day

Noble Desktop - Virtually Online

Master the art of video editing in just one day with this intensive course from Noble Desktop. Unlock the full potential of Premiere Pro as you learn to create captivating videos for social media and other platforms. Say goodbye to complicated editing software and hello to professional-quality videos.

Monday, May 13th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

Adobe Premiere Pro 101 (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Learn the ins and outs of Adobe Premiere Pro software in this comprehensive online course. Gain essential skills to efficiently craft your story with high-performance video production tools, collaborate with ease, and deliver professional-quality content across various platforms. Get ready to take your video editing skills to the next level.

Friday, Mar 15th, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$1,295

3 sessions

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Adobe Premiere Pro 201 (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Master the art of video editing with Adobe Premiere Pro in this comprehensive online course. Learn the interface, tools, and production flow of this revolutionary software used in major motion pictures worldwide. Take your editing skills to the next level and gain precise control over every aspect of your production.

Thursday, Feb 29th, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (2 sessions)

$1,095

2 sessions

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Premiere Pro Bootcamp

NYC Career Centers - Virtually Online

Master the art of video editing with Premiere Pro, the industry-standard tool of choice. From novice to advanced user, this hands-on bootcamp at NYC Career Centers will take you on a journey through the world of filmmaking and video editing, giving you the skills to create stunning projects.

Wednesday, Apr 24th, 10am–5pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$975

3 sessions

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After Effects Fundamentals

Training Connection @ Online

Master the powerful program Adobe After Effects and learn all the tools and skills needed for creating special effects and motion graphics in this hands-on course at Training Connection. Suitable for graphic and video professionals looking to enhance their editing and compositing abilities, this course offers both beginners and experienced users the opportunity to learn and practice through various projects and tricks. No prior experience with After Effects is required.

Monday, Feb 26th, 9am–4pm Pacific Time

 (3 sessions)

$1,495

3 sessions

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Adobe After Effects Level I (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Learn the essentials of Adobe After Effects for motion graphics and visual effects with this introductory online course. Discover traditional After Effects workflow, basic animation techniques, keying, and 3D effects. Gain the skills needed to create compelling motion graphics and visual effects.

Monday, Mar 18th, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (3 sessions)

$1,295

3 sessions

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Basic Fundamentals of CINEMA 4D (Online)

Manhattan Edit Workshop @ Virtual Class room

Learn the essential skills to create stunning 3D animations and models with Cinema 4D. This online course from Manhattan Edit Workshop is designed for VFX artists and editors looking to incorporate 3D objects into their video work. Gain a solid foundation in navigating the program, manipulating objects, working with textures and lights, and compositing models into video scenes.

Friday, Mar 1st, 10am–6pm Eastern Time

 (2 sessions)

$1,095

2 sessions

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Animation Classes in Chicago are rated 4.6 stars based on 1,325 verified reviews from purchasers.

Discover the Best Animation Classes in Chicago

Anima is the Latin word for “soul”—thus, “to animate” an object is to imbue it with a soul. Animation in the motion-picture sense is (to borrow the title from Disney animators Frank Thomas and Ollie Johnston’s definitive work on the subject) creating the illusion of life out of a pile of drawings. Animated figures, obviously, aren’t alive, but such is the power of the medium that animated drawings can be received by the human mind as living beings. Think only of how the audience at the world premiere of Disney’s Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs was moved to tears when curmudgeon dwarf Grumpy breaks down by the side of the heroine’s bier. In a sense, it’s only a magic trick played on the limits of human eyesight (animated drawings only appear to move because they go faster than our eyes can), but animation can be so convincing that, for generations of audiences, Grumpy is far more “real” than a lot of movie characters portrayed by human actors.

Animation is a painstaking process whereby upwards of 12 drawings, each one slightly different from the one that goes before it, are prepared for every second of the time an animated film runs. In the days of hand-drawn animation, the process ran from key animators, who drew the main positions of the characters, to inbetweeners, who filled in the blanks between the key animator’s drawings, to the ink and paint department (whose roles were filled, interestingly, by women), which transferred the drawings to cels before the actual filming took place, one frame at a time. More than two million hand-drawn cels were required to create the one hour and 23 minute-long Disney Snow White.

The Little Mermaid (1989) was Disney’s last entirely hand-drawn movie. The computer has since wrought a revolution in animation, and while you still need people who can draw, the media have changed, and animators work on tablets rather than at back-lit drafting tables. Programs such as Adobe’s After Effects have almost completely taken over the inbetweener and ink-and-paint jobs, while the painstaking filming of each set-up of cels has been replaced by a computer process known as rendering.

Animation remains an exciting branch of filmmaking, and, in today’s world, extends from the world of the animated motion picture to much “live-action” filmmaking: CGI (computer-generated imagery) is everywhere, and animators’ contribution to the film industry has never been more significant. Software such as After Effects has also placed animation within the hands of ordinary mortals so that non-specialists can create anything from professional-looking non-professional efforts for social media to professional-looking professional efforts such as short commercial spots. Commercial animation can even entail such grand projects as the Virgin Atlantic Airways safety video, an entire fantasy of remarkable visual imagination that nearly makes you forget you’re watching instructions on how to buckle a seatbelt.

Best Animation Classes & Schools in Chicago

One of the most readily accessible ways to learn to animate using a computer is Adobe After Effects. Chicagoans interested in learning to use Adobe’s motion graphics and special effects program will find a class at Ascend Training, Adobe After Effects Level 1, that, in three full-day sessions, introduces students to the software and delves into its considerable capabilities. The class covers keyframes, layers, masks, modes, and mattes, and by the end of it, students should be able to create video projects for the web and broadcast. A Level 2 class is also available for those who want to deepen their After Effects knowledge. Ascend is an Adobe Authorized Training Center that has been serving Chicago since 1998. Located in the Loop, two blocks from the Tribune Tower (L: Grand), the school is easily accessible. The building it occupies even has a Thai restaurant (with 4.1 stars from Google) on the ground floor that should prove practical at lunchtime.

Also located in the Loop is Ledet Training, which offers an Adobe After Effects Training that encompasses basic animation theory, keyframes, layers, parenting, nesting, and paint and vector paint functions. The school recommends that students be reasonably proficient in Photoshop prior to tackling the After Effects class. Catering primarily to marketing professionals, Ledet Training will have students capable of creating marketing videos suitable for all purposes by the end of the course. The school’s location is two blocks from Millennium Park, with Washington/Wabash the closest stop on the L.

If negotiating the Loop during business hours doesn’t seem like a challenge you’re interested in circumventing, you may wish to consider one of the plentiful online courses that will bring the class to your home, office, or any space with a stable internet connection you may find congenial. Noble Desktop is one such school. Based in New York City, it offers animation classes, both long and short. The long program is a Motion Graphics Certificate that meets for no fewer than 17 days and covers, not just After Effects, but also Cinema 4D Lite and video editing with Premiere Pro. The course also includes portfolio (demo reel) development, and includes 1-to-1 mentoring sessions to help students in the program set off down the proper career path. Noble Desktop includes a free retake option, should you need a brush-up within a year’s time on anything you learned during what are 17 information-packed sessions.

For those who lack the time, inclination, or means for the complete certificate program, or for those who wish to concentrate solely on After Effects, Noble Desktop also offers an After Effects Bootcamp. Running for three all-day weekday sessions, this course shows students through a series of hands-on exercises how to create animations, titles, and even 3D objects. An After Effects Advanced class is also available through the school. Both these classes include 1:1 bonus training, which allows students to meet privately with the instructor to iron out any wrinkles in what they’ve learned in class. Please note that, for these classes as well as for the certificate program described above, a working knowledge of both Photoshop and Illustrator is required.

Another New York-based school that offers live online classes in After Effects is Manhattan Edit Workshop. Their flagship course is a video editing program (Avid, Final Cut Pro), but it also offers instruction in the Adobe Creative Cloud, including Adobe After Effects Level 1, a three-day program that shows students the basics of motion graphics and the After Effects workflow, before moving on to layers, effects, keyframes, keyframe interpolation, masks, animating text and further functions of the software, including rendering and output. The school also makes available a Level 2 and a Level 3 class for those who wish to proceed to such topics as alphas, advanced formatting, and network rendering.

A further option in a different time zone (Mountain) that may be more convenient for students on the West Coast is Adobe After Effects for Beginners (Level 1). The course is offered by Digital Workshop Center, based in Fort Collins, Colorado, which is particularly interested in bringing tech education to non-traditional students, such as those who have been out of school for a while. The class runs for four non-consecutive weekday mornings and teaches how to create visual content for motion picture and commercial video use, as well as graphics that can be used in presentations. Knowledge of Photoshop is recommended for those taking the class. Students are welcome to continue along to Adobe After Effects Advanced (Level 2), in which they will learn to utilize the Puppet Tool, the Roto Brush Tool, and the 3D Camera Tracker. The advanced class also runs for four mornings. Although the L doesn’t reach all the way to Colorado, the course is also available live in-person.

Chicago Industries That Use Animation

Although Chicago doesn’t loom large on the list of hotbeds of motion picture production, the realities of the digital world are such that there is an ever-growing need for smaller video operations that can create video content for the web. Some of these are small entities that work on the ground with Windy City Clients, and others are large, international concerns with offices in major world cities, including Chicago. The output of these production companies is usually marketing material, and they generally work hand-in-hand with advertising agencies or can be hired by firms seeking to strengthen their visual presence on the internet. If making narrative animated films is your goal, Chicago is probably not the place, but if you want to be a working animator, Chicago does have its fair share of employment opportunities.

Animation Jobs & Salaries in Chicago

The United States Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) categorizes animators together with special effects artists, reflecting the role that CGI has started playing beyond what would traditionally be considered animated movies. In the Chicago area (the Chicago-Naperville-Elgin area for BLS purposes), animators wear such professional hats as 3D animator, 2D animator, animator, digital artist, and motion effects artist. A small total of 410 people are employed as animators in the Chicago area, the size of the number reflected in the rather discouraging location quotient of 0.38. (That means that animators are employed in Chicago at 0.38 times the national average. If you’re considering moving to a particular place to pursue a specific career, you want that number to be larger than 1.) The annual mean wage for animators in the area is close to $80,000, which is substantially less than the mean annual wage for animators in the entire country, which is $111,000, although it is more than the mean annual range for the Chicago area of approximately $66,000. You can balance that against the fact that the cost of living in Chicago is a comparatively mere 7% above that of the country as a whole, with the cost of groceries below the national average and that of housing lining out at just about the national average. And a Chicago-style hot dog at a White Sox game will cost you $5.49. If you choose to take your baseball loyalties across town, you’ll be paying a buck more for a hot dog with mustard, relish, onion, tomato, pickle, peppers, and celery salt at Wrigley Field.

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