If you are contemplating a career in animation then you have a few decisions to make. First, you need to determine if your interest lies in 2D, 3D or stop action. Then you will need to do some research and determine what are the skill requirements for these three distinct yet related entities. They all have one common denominator though and this they will all require you to have some basic artistic skills by way or drawing capabilities. In the case of 3D, it will be a necessity to have some talent in model building and sculpting.
It is most likely most of your knowledge will be in relation to 2D animation although something may have sparked your interest in 3D. The 2D is most common because it has been around the longest. It is the creator of the traditional animation found in the old time cartoons.
To begin with, if you have done any type of animation it has most likely been in the 2D format. The computer can still have its place in this dimension. In fact, many web pages are comprised of 2D design. Using your 2D skills and your computer, you can produce a frame-by-frame presentation of a scene or even a character. You need create the image manually for each individual frame. If it is a cartoon, you are interested in creating, draw the image first in pen. These images would finally have to go through a video or film process.
As a 2D animator, you have most likely become quite comfortable manually drawing your images. You can continue to do so and then once complete you can scan them into your computer with a scanner. If you are computer comfortable then you can create your images by using the various software packages that are available on the market. To become adept at the 2D processes you would do well to utilize both methods and become comfortable with them. You will then need to become familiar with Flash for example. This software will allow you to compose all of your images and animate them as you intend them to be. Once you have done this then they are in the proper format to be released on the internet.
If you feel that you would like to go further in your animation endeavors then you are ready to move onto 3D. This is computer animation. You will need to be quite adept with your computer skills to begin with. You will most certainly need your basic art skills and be able to apply the fundamentals that pertain to them.
In the case of 3D, you are going to have to create your character by using specifically designed software for this purpose. If you are self teaching yourself as a hobby then you may want to start with basic software. As you master it, move onto something more advanced. If you are studying to become a 3D professional then you will be introduced to software that your training program utilizes.