How to learn Animation online free?
If your wish is to learn the concepts behind 3d modelling and animation, then any software will be a breeze to use. I personally recommend Maya, only because I feel that it's both powerful and easy to learn.
The process of animation is long and tedious. It involves modelling, texturing, rigging, positioning, and finally, setting these positions to certain frame numbers on a "timeframe."
Modelling can be learnt just by messing around with the software. Don't rely on the same youtube tutorials for everything, but instead, search for specific techniques. Under modelling, you should understand how to extrude faces, insert edge loops, split faces, and you should work on making simple 3d objects. A must is knowledge of EVERY single tool that helps in the creation of a mesh. If there is ever ANYTHING that you have a question about, feel free to post online in SEVERAL forums, and wait for a result.
Under texturing, you just need to understand what UVs are, how to make UV snapshots, how to cut UVs, and how to project images onto 3D surfaces with the help of these UVs.
Rigging and Positioning is fairly simple. You must learn how to use joints and IK handles in tandem, and then how to bind these joints to the mesh of the 3D object you're making. Painting skin weights is a useful skill in this domain, as you'll be able to adjust the extent up to which the joint movement affects the distortion of the mesh.
Once you've learnt a little bit of each of these techniques, you can move on to advanced techniques, like lighting, cinematography, and advanced modelling techniques.