SIGGRAPH is a venerable name in the world of computer graphics, the name itself being their usenet newsgroup identifier, Special Interest Group, Graphics, from the days before the Web. At last year’s ACM SIGGRAPH convention, for the first time they held a series of four classes they consolidated under the banner of SIGGRAPH University. They are approximately 3 hours each, and they are university level courses in some aspect of creating computer animation. After watching any of these, you will understand the basics of how to create, not just a picture, but an entire project with timelines and interactions between components.
The one I am embedding on this page is Introduction to 3D Computer Graphics, where you get a bit of the history of how the technology got to this point, but you mostly get a complete mental map of how to create your own animated movie from the ground up, in excellent detail, using whichever set of software you prefer. As you might have guessed by now, I prefer to use a boot-from-DVD Linux build that includes free versions of all the different kinds of multimedia production software you could ever need. If you would like to burn your own arsenal of amazing free multimedia creations tools, check out these other posts and select the one that looks best to you: Musix GNU+Linux 3.0 (mostly music recording, mastering, production, some graphics and video), Ubuntu Studio Live DVD (a complete multimedia suite that has everything you need for most projects, organized by workflow, one of the best builds), Open Artist Live DVD (They took the kitchen sink approach, throwing in every piece of free and open source software that might be useful, and compiled them into folders organized by the type of task you were trying to accomplish), and AV Linux 6.0.2, a personal favorite of mine when it comes to A/V Production that will go live tomorrow.
The other classes in this series are:
And there are more coming up later this year, at Vancouver SIGGRAPH 2014!