“Wisdom is realizing that one resource was never meant to accomplish just one thing.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough, author
Utilizing online resources properly is the key to succeeding as a freelance animator. There is so much out there that can aid you in every aspect of freelancing.
We must construct additional pylons. And for that, we need resources.
In this blog post, we will cover some of the best animation resources for freelancers, covering work resources, animation software, forums, and more!
Different Types Of Animation Resources For Freelancers
Thanks to the internet, there are thousands of online resources for freelancers that cater to all your animation needs. We’re going to give you 21 of these and split them up into some different and important categories.
Let’s get started!
Animation Software Resources
Animation has advanced dramatically over the years, and a lot of the software that exists right now is incredibly sophisticated and powerful. Amongst other types of relevant equipment for animators, the right software is an integral part of a successful freelancer.
Here are some of the top animation software resources to use right now.
Image via Visme
Catering to all animators and designs, Visme is a fantastic cloud-based tool that allows you to design your own animated images, presentations, ads, banners, and more from thousands of templates and stock images.
There’s a huge degree of customization and interactivity available as well and is a fantastic tool for building and improving your digital brand as a freelancer.
Image via Adobe
Adobe Animate is considered one of the best entry-level pieces of animation software out there and caters to everyone because of how incredibly user-friendly it is.
One of the best features available is the integration that Adobe has with all its products, as well as the incorporation of social media applications which it allows.
Despite not being a heavy-duty piece of software, it’s a great animation resource for freelancers.
Gif via Gfycat
Blender is arguably the best piece of open-source 3D animation software on the market. It is an industry standard for animation studios and freelancers alike and has incredible community backing as well.
The capabilities of Blender for both 2D and 3D animations are amazing, and for such a heavy-duty piece of animation software, being free makes it so much more desirable as a resource for freelancers.
Image via Animation World Network
Autodesk Maya is a rotund piece of animation software with a price tag to match. Considered one of the best pieces of software and is used by video game companies all around the world because of its incredibly realistic and accurate capabilities.
It boasts a powerful real-time renderer allowing you to view lighting, camera angles, and scene changes as you make them.
Although used mostly by animation studios due to the price attached, there is no reason a serious freelancer can’t utilize this resource as well.
Image via Microsoft
The Unity Engine is easily one of the most sophisticated animation software resources out there, being used by video game animators and film and television companies to create incredible 3D and CGI products that rival the real world.
What makes the Unity Engine so fantastic (among many other things) is that both student and personal plans are free to use, making it a great tool for freelancers who want to embark on some seriously realistic projects.
There’s also a massive library available to assist those who work on creating multiple projects.
Animation Work Resources
Finding work as a freelancer is probably the most difficult part outright, and it can seem daunting not even knowing where to begin.
Thankfully, there are a large number of resources for freelance animators to find work, but here are some of the most important and reliable ones.
Image via Fiverr
Fiverr is one of the most popular resources for freelancers and has been around for over a decade. Fiverr allows freelancers from all walks of life to set up profiles and ‘gigs’ for themselves. Gigs are essentially your job offers, e.g. creating gifs or animated logos.
Sellers - those who create gigs - showcase their offerings to buyers who derive interest based on your profile and the description of your gigs.
Due to its incredible popularity amongst freelancers, however, Fiverr has a very competitive environment which creates a difficult and possibly frustrating start-up experience for freelancers.
The key to success with Fiverr is much the same as you’d find in any other environment: be unique and stand out from the crowd.
Image via Wikipedia
Behance is much more like a social media platform that allows freelance animators to showcase their work and receive feedback from other professionals.
There is a jobs section of the site that allows you to search for clients with various filters, but you will most likely find yourself using this resource as a connective hub, following other members of the site, and connecting with like-minded (or not) freelance animators.
Image via Upwork
Upwork, similar to an app like Fiverr, requires you to create a profile and showcase your abilities. The massive difference is that your Upwork proposals are usually much more intense and descriptive and require a great deal of research on your part beforehand on how to write an effective proposal.
It’s also an intensely competitive environment, despite the seemingly unending job offers that get posted on the site, but following the instructional and tip videos from Upwork, you can really make a fantastic name for yourself on the app.
Image via LinkedIn
Coming as no surprise, LinkedIn is an excellent resource for freelancers to find work in the animation industry. LinkedIn’s search capabilities allow you to adjust search queries by location, company, years of experience, price range, and more, letting you find the perfect job among hundreds of opportunities.
LinkedIn also allows you to link your website, portfolio, and other social media platforms creating a more attractive landing page for prospective clients.
Twine is a great resource for freelancers who are competitive in their industry. Twine picks out and showcases the very best freelancers on their site so as to make the selection process easy as pie for employers.
Much like some of the above resources, Twine allows freelance animators to search for the jobs that interest them the most, as companies will post their logo, explainer videos, and many other creative job opportunities, which freelance animators will then pitch themselves to as an application.
Animation Forum And Community Resources
It’s no good being a freelance animator if you’re not going to connect with, or at the very least follow, your colleagues in the animation world.
It can also be a great idea to make connections with your fellow freelancers when you feel stuck or confused to reach out for a helping hand from like-minded freelancers.
Here are some fantastic online forums and community resources for freelance animators to utilize.
Image via 1000 Logos
Probably the most popular place for the modern freelancer to acquire information and connect with like-minded animators is r/animation on Reddit. Boasting well over 350 thousand members, this subreddit talks about “News, Shorts, and Everything Else in the World of Animation.”
Not only is it a great place to learn everything you need to know about animation in general, but it’s also a wonderful place to share and receive critique on your work, so as to better yourself as a freelance animator, and better take criticism from your peers.
Image via Shakuro
CG Society is considered the largest resource for freelancers interested in CGI and has a massive forum available to both animators and artists.
It also works as a fantastic inspiration resource for freelancers who can look to both professionals and amateurs alike.
There are also contests held by the site that allow you to win fantastic prizes to assist in manifesting your animation dreams.
Image via Disboard
Disboard acts as a repository for Discord channels. Using the site you can search for thousands of Discord channels that cater to your needs, and works brilliantly in connecting animators and general freelancers alike.
There are frankly an insane amount of Discord channels out there and there’s something for everyone, whether you’re looking for a small group to join to talk about various animation ideas or a massive Discord forum to share and check out animated works.
Discord has been embraced as one of the most used Instant Message and Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) social platforms out there, and it’s time freelancers follow the trend as well!
Another fantastic way to hear about all the latest news and connect with other animators, both studio-based and freelance, is to listen to podcasts.
Podcasts can be great tools for those who need noise in the background while they work and are also fantastic if you’re driving or taking a break and want to learn more about the world of freelance animation.
Image via Overly Animated
The Overly Animated Podcast claims to take animation seriously. Don’t we all?
Based out of Texas, they talk about everything animation and cover as many different topics as you can think of. They also talk specifically about different animated shows ranging from Bojack Horseman and Adventure Time to Castlevania and Steven Universe.
Their website also provides a number of regular articles and news stories that relate to the animation industry.
Image via Skwigly
Although technically a single podcast in particular, Skwigly is a UK-based animation magazine that acts as an online resource for freelancers and animators in general to discover podcasts, reviews and interviews, tutorials, and more!
They also host both online and in-person events for animators to attend, such as the Animation Dingle Festival, and the London International Animation Festival.
Image via Podplay
Both Tom and Tony Bancroft are former Disney Animators who can boast a decent career in the animation industry. Tony is responsible for works dating back to 1988 and is most recently credited as having worked on Daffy Duck in the 2021 movie Space Jam: A New Legacy.
Tom only worked with Disney for 13 years but has a catalog including Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, and Mulan.
Tony has also published a book titled Directing for Animation: Everything You Didn't Learn in Art School that was published in 2012. Two years later, the twin brothers started their podcast sharing stories of their past, the business of the present, and their thoughts on the future of animation.
Image via Scott Wiser
Scott Wiser, an animation director who has coincidentally appeared on the aforementioned Bancroft podcast, is well known for having animated the 2011 movie Alvin and the Chipmunks: Chipwrecked. He also has a wide range of feature film pitches that can provide wonderful inspiration for all budding animators.
His podcast, The Directing Animation Livecast, has regular releases where he interviews some of the top directors and producers in the animation industry. The podcast is essentially a journey toward him directing his very own feature-length animated film.
For freelancers, it can be a wonderful opportunity to learn alongside another about the world of directing, and discover what exactly goes into large-scale animated works.
Animation Inspiration Resources
Inspiration can come from anywhere, this is true, but sometimes you can find yourself stuck staring at a wall and thinking about nothing.
It can be quite infuriating sometimes when you well and truly cannot find the direction you want to go in, but thankfully there are an uncountable number of online resources for freelancers to use for exactly this purpose.
Here are some fantastic resources for freelancers to derive that much-needed inspiration.
Image via YouTube
YouTube goes without saying as one of the best resources for freelancers to receive some sort of inspiration for animations.
There is, and will always be, an endless supply of tutorials, animation showcases, and trailer channels available for free for animators to derive inspiration and learn as much as they can about their craft.
It also works as a fantastic place for freelancers to showcase their own work, such as their animatics, to receive critique, or even simply keep private for prospective employers with the links to view.
Following the latest and greatest in content creators is exactly what most freelancers do to derive inspiration for their work.
Image via New Designers
It’s Nice That is a brilliant site that acts as a repository for articles and featured works and is recognized as one of the leading creative communities on the web. There is content hosted on their pages that caters to animators, designers, musicians, technophiles, and just about anyone else you can think of.
There are over a thousand articles on animation alone that showcase up-and-coming and established animators and studios, collections from freelancers’ works on Vimeo, and so much more.
You can even check out the It’s Nice That podcast that’s hosted by their editors in which various professionals from various disciplines are interviewed on the truth behind their success with creativity.
Image via Vimeo
Vimeo is a resource that has been around for many years, allowing creatives to share their work on a platform similar to YouTube. For animators, however, it’s become a brilliant way to both discover and share short films and cinematic content made by independent filmmakers and freelance animators.
The site is one of the best inspiration dumps out there and it really doesn’t take long to filter through their categories and find some wonderful works by incredible minds.
Image via Business of Animation
Naturally, we at the Business of Animation consider this blog a great resource for freelancers looking for inspiration not just for your animations, but for your business strategies as well.
We host both mini- and regular-sized blogs for your convenience, as well as our Animation Accelerator Program aimed at assisting you, the freelancer, with your freelance animation career.
There Are So Many Animation Resources For Freelancers
Being a freelance animator in the modern era doesn’t have to be difficult as there are so many different types of resources for freelancers available all across the interwebs.
From podcasts and forums to video and image sharing, and everything in-between, succeeding in the world of animation is that much easier.
From so many resources for freelancers available, make sure you choose the ones that work best for you, and you’ll succeed as a freelance animator in no time.
For more info about the animation industry and being a freelance animator, as well as answers to any other questions you might have, be sure to follow our blogs, check out our free masterclass and our Animation Business Accelerator Program, download a copy of our free marketing handbook, and check out our blog on “How to Start an Animation Studio”!