Depending on what kind of animation you want to do there’s 2D, 3D, gaming animation, still frame, motion graphics.
Animation is very broad. The largest fields are film, television/advertising/marketing, gaming. Within "animation" there are many specialties. At larger studios you would likely be doing one task whereas at smaller studios you have to conduct more than one ability. For example, if you are a modeler with Disney Animation Studios, chances are you don't also do character design or rigging. In a small game studio you might do character design and modeling or expected to model and rig. To get yourself started, check out https://sciencebehindpixar.org/ which is (obviously) more focused on 3D animation for film.
Karen recommends the following next steps:
Computer Science is important, various software applications are important, and art/design are very important.
Hi, Frank. This is a broad question. You may be thinking in terms of art, but I'm an animation writer, so I think in terms of storytelling. So without knowing exactly what you mean, let's see what I can come up with.
Animation can be made for TV, film, the web, and many other applications. That can change what the "fields" might be because high-end CGI for movies or advertising isn't the same as the type of quicker, less expensive animation done for TV. Computer games is another area where they are many different types of animation used, from high-end CGI in console games to quicker, simpler animation for mobile games. Many games currently use the Unity engine, so you may want to look into learning that if you're interested in game animation.
Generally within animation, there are many, many areas of expertise: producing, writing, story editing, directing, storyboarding, art/animating, art directing, character design, sound, music and other production jobs.
If you're thinking more specifically of the art/animating part of it, in today's market of animation you will need to have two strong areas of expertise:
1) fundamental drawing, illustrating, painting - meaning good life figure drawing, good perspective drawing, and all basic art skills. You would need these skills especially for storyboarding, character design, and world/setting design.
2) strong computer animating skills - and this can be further divided into various aspects of creating scenes and characters in computer animation. You could design characters, build objects and settings and scenery, build the characters, do the rigging for characters, do the lighting, do the special effects, and so on. The bigger the project, the more specialties there will be.
Christy recommends the following next steps: