Whether you are a student, freelance animator/storyboard artist, studio professional upskilling on the job, or new to Toon Boom software, where there’s a skill, there’s a simple way to learn: the Toon Boom Learn Portal.
The platform is stocked with easy-to-follow, enjoyable courses and journeys at all levels, from beginner to expert, enabling animators and storyboard artists to acquire cutting-edge techniques and master the tools in Toon Boom’s industry-standard software, Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony.
An educational path for every type of user
Toon Boom artists of all levels can learn the specialized skills needed to be a creative leader in today’s competitive $254-billion global market — entirely for free and at their own pace. Organized into specific learning journeys, users complete a series of modules consisting of courses and topics. As they progress, they can earn points and badges to validate their achievements. Most materials are downloadable and lessons are delivered in well-paced, clear videos. The content is both useful and fun; of the nearly 2,000 topics on the Learn Portal, 86 percent are rated four stars or above.
The Learn Portal has journeys for every type of user. For example:
- New users: Storyboard Pro Kick-Start, Harmony Kick-start
- Professionals: Production Cut-out Animation, Production Rigging, Storyboarding Artist
- Educational: Educational Curriculum – Harmony Premium, Professional Certification Exam Preparation (Harmony Premium), Associate Certification Exam Preparation (Storyboard Pro)
Learn Portal content is developed by Toon Boom’s in-house expert animators and collaborators like Jesse Jones, a freelance animator who’s been working with the software since 2010. He’s a contributor to a number of journeys on the platform, his most recent being “Getting Started with Paperless Animation with Harmony Advanced and Premium” — aimed at artists who just acquired the software and want to get going immediately.
“A lot of people say they don’t have time to learn a new software, which is totally understandable. I’m hoping the ‘Getting Started’ journey I created moves fast enough for people to take 30 minutes out of their day to try out and learn Toon Boom,” says Jones.
Being mostly a frame-by-frame animator, Jones has also used the Learn Portal to upskill his own rigging abilities. When developing content for the platform, he tries to go through each step one-by-one as clearly and briefly as possible — he knows firsthand how busy animators are, after all.
“If animators are migrating to Toon Boom from another software, the Learn Portal is a great place to start. Every animation program is unique so it’s important to know the different vocabulary and also the various hotkeys so you can be as quick as possible when animating,” explains Jones.
Taking it one step further: Toon Boom certification
Learn Portal journeys are designed to not only help animators and storyboard artists future-proof their skills, but also pave the way for Toon Boom certification, which can improve employment opportunities and salaries. Certification among the best ways for an animator to authenticate their abilities in the world’s leading animation software. Sand McDowall (aka Sand McUnicorn) attended a Toon Boom Animation Career Camp and decided to continue her training to get certified.
Her Toon Boom certification ultimately helped her land a character animator position at Nelvana in Toronto. During the hiring process, the interviewer expressed interest and optimism in McDowall’s new credentials. To prepare for her certification and further her skills development, she followed the free tutorials on the Toon Boom Learn Portal.
Already employed as a Toon Boom Harmony rigger at Boulder Media, Niki Kehoe decided to pursue certification and improve her long-term career opportunities. She used the Learn Portal to prep for the exam — and added a whole new level of depth and dimensionality to her skills.
“I learned more in-depth how Toon Boom animation tools work and discovered some others I didn’t know about, like the lip-sync tools. The Learn Portal was essential in helping me pass the compositing portion of the exam as I had never used Harmony to composite before,” says Kehoe.
The skills Kehoe acquired through the Learn Portal and her subsequent certification have made her a more confident, comfortable and competent artist in her day-to-day work at Boulder. Equipped with new skills and tricks, she has sped up her workflow. In turn, she is now better suited to handle more responsibilities and roles wherever her career takes her.
“I was an animator before I was a rigger, but had never used Harmony to animate; by the time I had finished the animation journey on the Learn Portal, I was sharing little tips and tricks with the animation leads at work. I had also never composited, but having learned more about it through the Learn Portal, I feel confident that I would be able to work in that area,” says Kehoe.
She continues, “I certainly feel I am more hireable having used the Learn Portal; I have had multiple job offers since passing the exam a few months ago and I feel like having my certificate on LinkedIn makes potential employers more confident in my abilities.”
Learn Portal not only makes you more knowledgeable, but more hireable
For freelance animator David Ridges, the Learn Portal also helped him upskill for a gig quickly and easily. He recently moved back to his native United Kingdom after a year in Ireland, where he worked on series at Cartoon Saloon. Having animated in Flash and Moho for his entire career, his next show required him to use Harmony. With major innovations in the latest releases, Ridges could see the software is where television series work is headed.
“Toon Boom Harmony was the missing element in my skillset. I had tried to pick it up before the Learn Portal existed, but couldn’t find the time to learn it then. I was so impressed with the Learn Portal — it had all the learning resources I needed,” says Ridges.
After completing the rigging, animation, and compositing journeys, he discovered firsthand the power of Harmony’s deformers and node system. Wanting to become an expert in the software, he pursued Toon Boom certification. Despite his busy schedule, he fit in preparation based on his pace and schedule — which often meant doing a few tutorials before bed or on lunch breaks.
Since teaching himself Harmony on the Learn Portal and completing his certification, Ridges has become an advocate. He says, “Harmony has come leaps and bounds; what I really like about it is you can do your hand-drawn, frame-by-frame and puppet animation in one software.”
Ultimately, whether you are a student, educator, hobbyist or professional, the Toon Boom Learn Portal can not only make you more knowledgeable, but also hireable — easily, enjoyably, and entirely for free. Learn Harmony and Storyboard Pro at your own pace and for your own purposes today, and future-proof your career for tomorrow.