Get a clear breakdown of the steps involved in bringing an animated production to life.
2D Animation Program
Learn Ottawa’s most in-demand animation skills and software. Work on animation projects in a real studio environment and graduate with a professional demo reel. Start your career in just 12 months.
*This program is currently available online*
Herzing Ottawa Accelerated 2D Animation Program
Herzing College offers the most accelerated, hands-on 2D animation training in Ottawa. Our students are fully prepared for a professional studio environment, straight after graduation.
- 12-month accelerated 2D Animation program
- 20 hours of class per week
- Curriculum designed by professional animators with decades of experience
- 6-week internship for real-world experience
- Comprehensive training on Toon Boom Harmony, the most-wanted animation software in Ottawa
- Students do real 2D animation projects, right from day one
- Build a professional demo reel
- Learn in a real studio environment
- Financial aid available to those who qualify
Our Partnership with Big Jump Entertainment
Big Jump Entertainment is one of Ottawa’s most successful and well-known 2D animation studios. They work on projects for Netflix, Warner Bros, HBO, Teletoon, Universal, and many others.
Herzing has a very special partnership with Big Jump, which gives students in our 2D Animation program some major advantages:
- Get a 6-week internship at the Big Jump studio, working on real animation projects alongside industry experts
- Get access to the Big Jump studio, where you can work on your 2D projects and hang out in their amazing 10,000 sq ft, state-of-the-art facility
- Get mentored by professional Big Jump animators
- Big Jump will give offers of employment to talented Herzing 2D Animation Program graduates
- No other 2D animation college is offering students this level of access and real work experience with a top animation company.
Ottawa is one of the best cities in Canada to start a career in 2D animation. There is a serious shortage of animators trained in Toon Boom Harmony, the software of choice at leading animation studios. Choose from career paths in:
2D Animation Jobs Available to Herzing Grads
Graduates of our 2D Animation program are qualified to pursue the following jobs:
- 2D Animator at a professional animation or game studio
- Layout Artist
- Location or Character Designer
- Background Artist
- Posing Artist
- In-between Animator
- Digital Character Rigger
Herzing’s 2D Animation program is laser-focused on teaching puppet animation with Toon Boom Harmony.
You will do hands-on projects right from day one, learning how to use Toon Boom for:
- simple and complex character rigging
- character and prop interaction
- lip sync animation
- character animation
Click to see a detailed description of 2D animation courses:
This course provides an introduction the 2D industry leading Animation software. Students will be taught its significance within the animation industry and the role it will play in getting a job with this software skill. User interface and terminology will be taught.
This is 1 of “12 Principles of Animation”. This course provides introductory movement of an object using the Harmony software. The purpose of which is to give a sense of weight and flexibility to drawn objects. Students will learn through bouncing balls and facial expressions how to maintain an objects volume while getting the desired effect of objects bouncing or reacting. There will be various types of ‘weighted’ digital balls used to learn this principle as well as an ‘expression’ face.
This course provides an introduction into animation, its history, present and future through a series of lectures and films. Students will learn the expectations during this course and the job prospects once finished. They will be covering many subjects about the basis of animation and how the illusion is created. They will also be learning the history of the different methods of animation and the one that will be firmly focused on during this course, 2D digital puppet animation.
This is 2 of “12 Principles of Animation”. Anticipation is used to prepare the audience for an action, and to make the action appear more realistic. Students will learn how to create an anticipation (or ‘antic’) while using a digital puppet (ie; ball, face, full body). The student is beginning to learn how to act a character or object using the Harmony software.
This is 7th of the 12 Principles of Animation. Students will learn how most natural actions follow an arched trajectory. So while animating this should apply as well. Arcs are added for to create a greater realism. This technique can be applied to a moving limb by rotating a joint, or a thrown object moving along a parabolic trajectory. The exception is mechanical movement, which typically moves in straight lines. An object in motion that moves out of its natural arc for no apparent reason will appear erratic rather than fluid.
This is 5th of the 12 Principles of Animation. Students will begin to learn more complex animation techniques. Follow through and overlapping action is a general heading for two closely related techniques which help to render movement more realistically, and help to give the impression that characters follow the laws of physics, including the principle of inertia. “Follow through” means that loosely tied parts of a body should continue moving after the character has stopped and the parts should keep moving beyond the point where the character stopped to be “pulled back” only subsequently towards the center of mass and/or exhibiting various degrees of oscillation damping. “Overlapping action” is the tendency for parts of the body to move at different rates (an arm will move on different timing of the head and so on). A third, related technique is “drag”, where a character starts to move and parts of him take a few frames to catch up. These parts can be inanimate objects like clothing or the antenna on a car, or parts of the body, such as arms or hair. On the human body, the torso is the core, with arms, legs, head and hair appendices that normally follow the torso’s movement. Body parts with much tissue, such as large stomachs and breasts, or the loose skin on a dog, are more prone to independent movement than bonier body parts. Again, exaggerated use of the technique can produce a comical effect, while more realistic animation must time the actions exactly, to produce a convincing result. The “moving hold” animates between similar key frames, even characters sitting still can display some sort of movement, such as the torso moving in and out with breathing.
This is 6th of the 12 Principles of Animation. Students will continue to learn some of the most important aspects of animation. Ease in and ease out is much about ‘timing’ in animation which gives you motion more real ‘Life’. Students will learn that movement of the human body, and most other objects, needs time to accelerate and slow down. For this reason, animation looks more realistic if it has more drawings near the beginning and end of an action, emphasizing the extreme poses, and fewer in the middle. This principle goes for characters moving between two extreme poses, such as sitting down and standing up, but also for inanimate, moving objects, like the bouncing ball.
This is 4th of the 12 Principles of Animation. Students will learn the difference between these two types of animation and how “Pose to Pose” is more relevant for 2D digital puppet animation. Students will use software and learn the basics of posing a character in the software and then the use of the “inbetween” tool.
This is 3rd of the “12 Principles of Animation”. Students will develop the ability to use animation to direct the audience’s attention and to make the animation unmistakably clear to the viewer. Using Harmony software to place objects, characters and backgrounds as well as use of light and shadow to the angle and position of the camera, students will learn how staging will affect audience’s perception.
This is 10th of the 12 Principles of Animation. Exaggeration gets more into the acting part of animation. It is less about technical skills and more about the creative skills. Animation relies on exaggeration to convey actions and tell a story. Use all the above techniques to convey weight and reality, but employ exaggeration to punctuate moments. Exaggeration is an effect especially useful for animation, as perfect imitation of reality can look static and dull in cartoons. The level of exaggeration depends on whether one seeks realism or a particular style, like a caricature or the style of a specific artist. The classical definition of exaggeration, employed by Disney, was to remain true to reality, just presenting it in a wilder, more extreme form. Other forms of exaggeration can involve the supernatural or surreal, alterations in the physical features of a character; or elements in the storyline itself. It is important to employ a certain level of restraint when using exaggeration. If a scene contains several elements, there should be a balance in how those elements are exaggerated in relation to each other, to avoid confusing or over-awing the viewer. Students will be learning exaggeration by using the puppets to convey a broad range of actions. They will be required to ‘Act Out’ their animation before posing the puppets within the software.
This is 11th of the 12 Principles of Animation. This principle encourages animators to be mindful of the fact that while forms may be presented in 2D, they should strive to look 3D. This means considering forms in three-dimensional space, or giving them volume and weight. The animator needs to be a skilled artist and must understand the basics of three-dimensional shapes, anatomy, weight, balance, light and shadow, etc. For the classical animator, this involved taking art classes and doing sketches from life. Modern-day computer animators draw less because of the facilities computers give them, yet their work benefits greatly from a basic understanding of animation principles, and their additions to basic computer animation. Students will use the puppets and animate faces turning so they achieve 3D looking animation by only using 2D puppets. This will be followed by turning a character from side to side.
This is 9th of the 12 Principles of Animation. Timing refers to the number of drawings or frames for a given action, which translates to the speed of the action on film. Timing helps create the illusion that an action is abiding by the laws of physics. By adjusting the timing of a scene, animators can make that scene look either slower and smoother (with more frames) or faster and crisper (with less frames).
This is 12th and last of the “12 Principles of Animation. Appeal in a cartoon character corresponds to what would be called charisma in an actor. A character who is appealing is not necessarily sympathetic – villains or monsters can also be appealing – the important thing is that the viewer feels the character is real and interesting. There are several tricks for making a character connect better with the audience; for likable characters a symmetrical or particularly baby-like face tends to be effective. A complicated or hard to read face will lack appeal, it may more accurately be described as ‘captivation’ in the composition of the pose, or the character design. This will be mostly be question and answer lectures using various films, cartoons, drawing, etc, to challenge the students’ knowledge thus far.
Drawing hands and feet are essential for puppet animators. There is not much drawing needed for this type of animation but hands and feet are always changing (more focus on hands). Animators will need understand structure of both and be able to adapt to the ever-changing cartoon style for every new production. Students will be introduced to the basics of structure and through a series of assignments be following a storyboard and drawing the corresponding hands.
This is 8th of the 12 Principles of Animation. A secondary action is an additional action that reinforces and adds more dimension to the main action. Adding secondary actions to the main action gives a scene more life, and can help to support the main action. A person walking can simultaneously swing his arms or keep them in his pockets, speak or whistle, or express emotions through facial expressions. The important thing about secondary actions is that they emphasize, rather than take attention away from the main action. If the latter is the case, those actions are better left out. For example, during a dramatic movement, facial expressions will often go unnoticed. In these cases, it is better to include them at the beginning and the end of the movement, rather than during.
We continue the character rigging process. We introduce more intricate rigging such as lineless characters with a line reveal. We will take a simple design and rig the entire character. This is done using the Harmony Software. Techniques are reinforced with two small assignments with one long one.
A walking character is one of the most important things to learn as an animator. Animation is all about creating the illusion of movement. One of the things that characters do the most to get around and move is walking. This lesson is how to animate a character walking in place, in other words creating a walk that loops infinitely. Next an introduction into an ‘attitude’ walk where we go beyond the basics and incorporate different timing methods and posing to simulate an emotion.
A run cycle has the same basic animation principles as a walk cycle – but with a lot more force. Instead of just propelling our mass forward, we need to push it entirely off the ground. Animation is all about creating the illusion of movement. This lesson is how to animate a character running in place, in other words creating a run that loops infinitely. Next is an introduction into an ‘attitude’ run where we go beyond the basics and incorporate different timing methods and posing to simulate an emotion.
This is the 1st introduction to creating a puppet (aka rigging). We introduce creating simple shapes and construct a basic character rig starting with one limb at a time. This is done using the Harmony Software. Techniques are reinforced through a series of short assignments.
Building on everything learned to this point, students will be introduced to an industry standard puppet. There will be a series of exercises where the students will animate various movement with the puppet. Exercises in motion principles will serve to build the animator’s vocabulary and understanding of animation.
Students are by now comfortable animating puppets, now they need to be able to interact with inanimate objects, aka props (ex: cell phone, cup, tools, etc). Students will be tasked with various assignments where the puppet interacts with a prop of some sort. Expanding on all previous assignments, posing, acting, and lip synch’s will be crucial here.
Animating speech can be one of the most difficult tasks in animation. The process of matching the mouth movements of your animation to the phonemes of your audio track is called lip-synching. Students will be guided through the basics of animation phonemes and how they are used with the puppets. Puppets come with pre-drawn mouth shapes and the students will use these puppets and audio tracks to create lip synch’s. They will also add in subtle facial movements to complement the lip synch.
As an animator, you’re essentially an actor with a computer and some software. The two most important elements you should be thinking about when animating performances is that the acting should be believable and appealing. Having better acting in your animations you yourself must become a better actor. Students will be given some basic posing and acting lessons, where their only tool is their body. They will use cell phones or tablets to record themselves to review their acting. There will be one acting assignment.
Posing a character is the core of a character animator’s work. While many basic rules about arcs, anticipation, timing and spacing can be learned and applied without much thought, posing characters with different character traits, abilities and body types in different situations and emotions is a new challenge every time. Students will be put through a series of assignments where they will be drawing and using puppets for posing.
This course builds on all the past learning of character animation. The emphasis is on character animation, particularly dialogue action involving body and facial expression. The class also concentrates on individual animation issues for each student’s final projects. Students will be involved in intensive animation training using real life studio situations. Students will be assigned actual scenes and character rigs/props used in production and will be given milestones and deadlines to reach as if they were in a real studio situation. (140)
The focus here is to expand on their knowledge of posing and animation by introducing the students how to read storyboards and incorporate them into Software. Using the software and puppets they will be following the storyboards in a way that mimics a studio environment.
Qualified, charismatic Instructors in every program.
Animator and illustrator, winner of the Ben Wicks award, Gabriel worked on Disney’s Lion Guard, Jake & the Neverland Pirates, Star and the Forces of Evil, Wander Over Yander, Mattel’s Hot Wheels the Movie, Maggie and the Ferocious Beast, Ripping Friends and more! Gabriel also has 10 years of experience in animation for E-learning and has been a 2D Animation instructor since 2018. His skills include Toon boom Harmony, 2D puppet animation, simple and complex rigging, character design, FX, compositing, Photoshop & Illustrator.
What you need to get started.
- Minimum of a Canadian high school grade 12 or equivalent (Ontario high school diploma or equivalent) or a mature student (19 years of age or older and has been removed from full-time high school for minimum 2 years)
*Students applying as mature students must demonstrate appropriate levels of math, English literacy, comprehension and/or written skills to warrant success and completion of program
- Pass an entrance test administered by Herzing College
- Be interviewed in detail regarding interest in the field
- Note: admission to some programs may include additional requirements
12 Months (20 hours/week)
Includes 6 week internship
2021 Overall Graduate Employment Rate
90% of available Herzing College Ottawa graduates were employed in a related field.
*statistics based on most recent available
Your Next Steps
Ready to learn more the 2D Animation diploma program? It’s easy to get started. It’s easy to get started. Choose from the following options:
- Fill out the form to ask questions via email
- Chat live with an Admissions Advisor to get your questions answered now
- Click Apply Now to get your application started today!
Why Choose this Program?
- Accelerated 12-month program that gets you to work faster
- 6-week internship for real-life experience
- Access to Big Jump studio to do projects and get advice from the pros
- Job opportunities at Big Jump after graduation
- Comprehensive training on Toon Boom Harmony
- Learn from professional, successful animators with decades of experience
- The only 2D Animation program of its kind in Ottawa
- Small class sizes where every student gets step-by-step support
- Get access to the Herzing Open Education Program (HOEP), which lets you take additional courses after you graduate, tuition-free!
- Take advantage of our amazing Career Development team, who helps create your resume, prepare for interviews, and apply for animation jobs
- Friendly, welcoming campus with students of all ages and backgrounds